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When to Use GatsbyJS? What Are Its Strongest Use Cases? Top 10
It's fast, it's secure, it boosts SEO and it provides a great developer experience, but does it fit your use case? For it all comes down to one key question: “When to use GatsbyJS?” Is it suitable for both a portfolio or documentation site and an app with a large content base? Or a large-scale enterprise website, for instance? Should you use GatsbyJS irrespective of your/your team's JavaScript experience?  What are the obvious and some of the... less expected use cases for GatsbyJS? Key benefits that would make you want to choose it over a framework like... NextJS, for instance? Now, let me break down the strongest use cases of Gatsby for you. See for yourself whether your own use case has made it to the list or not:   1. When to Use GatsbyJS? When You Need a Static Site... Obviously GatsbyJS's is optimized for this particular use case, after all: generating static websites. Say you have a static web page (a landing page), that serves plain HTML, some JS, and CSS. As for your more specific types of content, you plan to use Youtube and a platform like Medium to host it on. Gatsby would make the perfect choice for your use case since:   it provides server-side-rendering out of the box it ships with a heavy load of plugins to delve into (extract data from your CRM of choice: Contentful, Drupal...) it has a robust data layer built-in   Use it to create pages dynamically from almost any data source.   2. Use It for Your Documentation/Personal Portfolio Website or Blog Use GatsbyJS for your blog, eCommerce website or any other general static site that's under 500 pages, where you don't expect to serve any kind of dynamic content.  Note: there are the obvious use cases of GatsbyJS and the more... project-specific ones.  The volume of content served on your website and the amount of traffic aren't always clear indicators of whether you should or should not use Gatsby.  It's all a matter of infrastructure and of whether:   you do afford a build process for your React-based web app your team's experienced enough to get the most of a micro-service architecture and of serverless functions  you depend on a database that should reflect, instantly, any changes made   GatsbyJS's built to go beyond small/medium scale static sites if used to its full potential.   3. Use It When You “Crave” High Performance Not only that it's fast by nature, but GatsbyJS even stands out from the crowd of static site generators... If page load time is your main concern, you might want to consider Gatsby as your first choice.   4. Use It When Your Project Demands a High Level of Security    “When to use GatsbyJS?” you ask yourself. When you need to add an extra layer of security to your website. Since it serves plain HTLM files and there's no database or sensitive customer data stored on the server... there's not much to hack there, is it? The only thing left to “contaminate” if they do manage to get in is... your HTML files.   5. Use It to Build Your Progressive Web App For GatsbyJS is far more than just another static site generator: It's designed, from the ground up, to be a PWA website framework. Quote source: The New Stack In this respect, it:   ships with robust progressive web app features is built to be fast and highly accessible across all devices and in all hardware and network contexts   6. Use It If Developer Experience Is One of Your Top Priorities Luckily enough for your development team, GatsbyJS provides a modern development environment: simple, robust tooling and powerful built-in features. To give you just a few specific examples:   it automatically generates static assets like CSS and images from the “static” directory it builds routes between pages automatically it minifies everything “behind closed doors” before it serves it up to the client   7. Use It If You Have Enough JS/React Experience One of the few constraints when it comes to using GatsbyJS is the above-the-average JS/React experience required. There's no two ways about it... Also, another answer to your “When to use GatsbyJS?” question is: When you already have some React components or codebase available to reuse on your static web pages.   8. Use It if You Fancy a Huge Ecosystem of Plugins  Why use GatsbyJS? Source: Reddit.com   Because it ships with an impressive collection of plugins. Basically, it enables you to enhance your otherwise simple, static website with all kinds of powerful plugins:   you could just plug in Google Analytics into your site you could “inject” a gatsby-source-medium plugin and have previews of your articles automatically served up on your website   9. Use It if SEO Is Crucial for You When to use GatbsyJS?  When the SEO factor is of critical importance to you.  The web performance boost that you'll get from powering your website with Gatsby — since it'll render static HTML only — won't go unnoticed by your users and... by Google itself. Just make sure:   a static architecture is, indeed, the right fit for your project you've configured your SEO settings properly   10. Use It with a Headless CMS It's another one of those primary use cases for GatsbyJS: Pair your Gatsby site with a CMS data source of choice (a “headless” CMS):  Contentful, Drupal, Netfly, WordPress. This way, you pass all the “worries” regarding hosting and serving your data over to your CMS. GatsybyJS integrates seamlessly with any data repository, so you can focus on implementing your front-end instead. The END! These are the top 10 use cases for GatsbyJS, ranging from the most common to specific ones.  Which of its benefits — security, high performance, plugin system, developer experience, CMS integration — is more important for your own use case? Image by nugroho dwi hartawan from Pixabay  ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Oct 25'2019
The Chatbot Testing Checklist: Tools, Techniques, and Metrics to Include in Your Testing Strategy
With no standardized chatbot testing method at hand, how can you ensure your bot is error-free and user-engaging? What performance testing tools should you use? What are the most effective mechanisms for testing its functionality? What metrics should you include in your scenarios? In other words: what goes into a solid bot testing strategy? In this respect, here's a chatbot testing checklist — tools, ground-rules, best practices, techniques, key considerations — aimed at helping you set your own standardized testing plan.   1. Test Your Bot's Conversational Flow Engage your chatbot in a conversation.  Take it as a form of UI/UX testing, where the interface's given by the questions and replies that your bot serves up. Start with the broad, user-greeting questions and critical use cases (or chatbot testing scenarios), then gradually tackle the edge cases, as well. Your list of questions, as this stage of your chatbot testing process, should include:   Does my chatbot understand the user's questions? Does it respond promptly to them? Are its responses accurate enough and relevant? Are there enough conversation steps or... too many? Does it keep the user engaged?    2. Run a Custom, Domain-Specific Test Now, you can imagine that including every single expression specific to your field and every possible question related to your services/product is... mission impossible. And yet, you can still provide broad classes when setting your context-specific questions for the bot to answer to. Do pay great attention to how you formulate them and to what niche terms you include there: This is that stage of the conversation where your chatbot provides credible information on your products/services. Where it should influence the user into making a decision...   3. Include Developer Testing It goes without saying that your team of developers working on your chatbot project will test it anyway while building it. Developer Testing Photo by Studio Republic on Unsplash For them, it'll be more of a verification and validation test. They will have predefined the bot's replies and set the users' inquiries, so at this stage they'll just: Check whether the chatbot serves up accurate and relevant answers to a hypothetical user's questions.   4. Run a Chatbot-Error Handling Test Or what you might call a “limit test”. Image by Tumisu from Pixabay While putting together your chatbot testing strategy, just ask yourself: What if a user enters a meaningless sentence or a not so commonly used expression? How would my chabot respond to that? Of course, you cannot possibly anticipate all the irrelevant information that users might enter. All the exceptions that your chatbot will be challenged to handle... elegantly. And still, your developers should come up with “emergency replies” for those exceptions that you do anticipate. This is that phase of your testing process where you check whether your bot provides understandable answers in such “exceptional” scenarios.   5. 3 Chatbot Testing Tools to Consider “What tools can I use for chatbot testing?” you might ask yourself. Here's a shortlist of 3 tools to consider streamlining your testing efforts with:   5.1. Chatbottest An open-source guide packed with 120 questions for assessing the user experience that your chatbot delivers. It operates at three levels:   possible chatbot testing scenarios expected scenarios almost impossible scenarios   And it provides you with 7 different metrics to use for evaluating your bot's performance:   Understanding: does your chatbot understand any kind of user input — curse words, small talk, idioms, emojis...? Answering: are its answers context-relevant and accurate enough? Navigation: is it intuitive enough for you to go through the conversation you're having with your bot? Personality: does its tone suit your audience and the nature of the ongoing conversation? Onboarding: is it clear enough to the user what your chatbot's functionality is, from the very start? Is it intuitive enough how he should interact with the bot? Intelligence: does your chatbot “remember” certain details, key information that the user has provided throughout the conversation? Error management: how does your chatbot handle errors and exceptions?   5.2. Botanalytics From usability to conversational flow, to the delivered user experience, this custom service enables you to test every key aspect of your chatbot.   5.3. Dimon The great thing about this chatbot testing tool is that it integrates seamlessly with major platforms like Telegram, Slack, WeChat, Facebook Messenger. Use it to detect any issues in your bot's conversational flow, in the user experience that it provides.   6. Automate Your Chatbot Testing “How can I automate my bot testing process?” is another valid question that might be “haunting” you. You use a chatbot that'll interact with your own bot. No intervention from your side. This way, you can run your conversation transcripts... automatically. Your job boils down to 1 key task: evaluating your chatbot's replies.   7. Final Word: It's an Ongoing Testing Process Whether it's you, your development team or you opt for automated testing, any chatbot testing prior to its release is... beta testing, after all. Real-life feedback, provided by its users, is the real test. In other words: be ready to constantly adjust your chatbot to the feedback you get after its release. Keeping it relevant, future-proofing its current performance calls for an ongoing testing process. Image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay   ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Oct 23'2019
Website Personalization: 6 Clever Ways to Create Personalized Website Experiences
Everybody agrees: website personalization is... power.  But how do you harness it? And, most of all: How do you get the most of it? How do you benefit from incorporating personalization into the customer experience delivered on your own website? Where do you start? What precisely should you personalize? What are the most effective ways to deliver relevant, contextual, conveniently tailored visitor experiences? To lend you a hand, we've narrowed down all the best practices that you could possibly implement to the most effective ones:   1. But First: What Is Website Personalization? It's the process where you use all the customer data at hand to deliver each visitor on your website an experience perfeclty tailored to his preferences, context, intent, and history, at precisely the right time. I hope my definition has managed to “squeeze” in all the key aspects of this process. Personalizing your website is no more than customizing the experiences that you provide there. It's “baking” all the customer data at hand — browser patterns, 3rd party data, web analytics, sales funnel data — into different experiences for... different users. 2. How Would It Enhance the Visitor Experience on Your Website? In other words: how would your website visitors benefit from your personalization efforts? Here are the most powerful benefits:   easy content discovery an intuitive search experience relevant recommendations only fewer decisions for them to make (think “the paradox of choice”) contextual, perfectly tailored information What visitors returning to your website expect is a relevant, valuable, and convenient interaction.  Why forcing anyone who's already introduced himself to you to keep telling you his name over and over again? And website personalization is the way to deliver your customers precisely that type of frictionless, relevant experience.   3. 6 Effective Ways to Create Personalized Website Experiences For there are, indeed, web personalization best practices to keep in mind.  Too many organizations consider it to be some sort of... magic. An extremely powerful one, that will turn your recurring customers into your brand's advocates.... just like that. Instead, it's a long series of experiments where you keep adjusting your content and metadata to the user data and user segments that you've set. Where you keep creating various scenarios until you've created those experiences that fit your customers just like... perfectly tailored suits. Now, let me help you streamline this tedious process with a simple checklist of steps to take:   3.1. Treat Returning Visitors with a Little Extra Care Rely on cookies to identify your returning customers, then make sure you deliver them relevant content. Content, that would guide them further along the sales funnel.   3.2. Create Different Experiences for First-Time and Existing Customers Attracting new customers is but one side of your key objective.  Engaging your existing customers is the other one... And these returning customers expect to be treated differently. They expect to get:   personalized customer service for using your products/services (remember to tailor your landing page for both new and existing visitors) special offers, a signal that you do recognize and value them for being your customers   … and that you want to nourish their loyalty.   3.3. Prioritize Content Differently for... Different Visitors Take it as a “shortcut” to website personalization: You do serve the same content to all your visitors, yet you prioritize certain services, products, messages differently. You deliver each segment of users a different content hierarchy.   3.4. Serve Them Content/Product Recommendations “You may also like...” type of lists weight heavily on the personalized web experiences that you create. Quote source: Ryte.com For this, you need to:   collect and then filter through your valuable customer data fill in a deep “pool” of content and metadata use a robust recommendation engine to serve up perfectly tailored recommendations to your returning visitors   In short: engage them with product/content suggestions based on the user behavior data available to explore and to exploit.   3.5. Deliver Experiences Targeted to Different Audience Segments But first, use all the customer data at hand to define those user segments.  You could segment your audience by:   number of visits on your website within a time-frame location user-behavior reflected in their past visits referrals: have they landed on your website from a partner website or from a Google ad?   Put together all the customer data that you dispose of and extract “gold” information about your audience, like:   content preferences where they're located on the globe even custom user information   Then, use the resulting info to set up your audience segments and create website experiences personalized for each segment. Set what user segment will see which part of your web content — unique offers, personalized messages, special products — and how precisely they'll interact with it.   3.6. Adapt Your Content to the Customer Journey's Phases  And I'm talking here about the phases where you:   raise awareness educate and engage with your visitors help them make their decision    So, make sure you don't greet a first-time visitor with a helpful tutorial on how to use the product he's just bought nor a returning visitor with a form he's... already filled in. See my point?   The END! Website personalization is a multi-layered process, with your customer data, collected from an ecosystem of different sources, right at its center.  Which of these best practices do you find most effective for your website's specific context and your own business goals? Image by 3D Animation Production Company from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Oct 21'2019
How to Hire Drupal Developers: 5 Ways to Find the Right Drupal Talent for Your Project
Say you already have your product specifications clearly written and you start "hunting" for the right Drupal talent for your project. Where should you start your searches? And, once you've found a pool of talent, how to hire Drupal developers who are the perfect match for your skillset requirements and who fit your organization's needs? What recruitment strategies should you apply to... speed up things a bit? What criteria should you use for filtering through your candidates? What questions should you prepare for the selected Drupal developers and... what questions should you be asking yourself, too? About your project needs, scope, budget constraints... Let's get you some answers. Here's a handy checklist including 5 tips that'll streamline your searches and optimize your selection process:   1. First: What Is a Drupal Developer? What does a Drupal developer do? Generically speaking, a "Drupal developer" does a lot of things:   conducts researches, selects and installs those Drupal modules that fit your project's feature needs develops new modules, from scratch, tailored to your project's needs tweaks and extends existing modules so that they provide the precise functionality that you require handles the look and feel of your Drupal website/app by creating a custom theme that meets CSS/HTML code standards handles different PHP implementations architects your Drupal solution incorporating data, display, and information infrastructure migrates your existing websites to Drupal puts together and runs performance-boosting strategies on your existing Drupal website   And this leads us to the 3 main Drupal roles that you might "bump into" while running your investigations. Each one with a specific skill set to evaluate and to set against your own project's size and scope. For instance, no need to look for a Drupal themer when it's a new functionality that you want to get developed and integrated into your website...   1.1. Drupal Site Builder If your Drupal project doesn't require highly complex feature implementation or a PHP "guru", but rather someone who:   is familiar working with the latest versions of Drupal and, overall, with site frameworks  has basic Drupal project management skills has a decent understanding of the essential concepts of JS and PHP code   ... then a Drupal site builder experienced enough to put together core and the right contributed modules and create a fully functional website is what you need.   1.2. Drupal Front-End Developer Looking for someone to "revamp" your Drupal site's presentation layer? Or we're talking about a new project, that you want to make sure it'll deliver the best user experience? Then a Drupal front-end developer (or themer) is what you should be looking for. One that:   is experienced enough to develop new themes and to customize existing Drupal themes has extensive knowledge in basic PHP, JS/JQuery, HTML, CSS sticks to the best testing practices to ensure that the delivered theme is fully responsive and light enough not to impact your website's performance   1.3. Drupal Back-End Developer Or maybe you need someone with proven expertise to set up a robust "bone structure" for your Drupal project? One who can:   develop a whole new module, if needed, to fit specific functionality needs tune an existing module till it meets your feature needs to the slightest detail prove his/her expertise in CSS, Object-Oriented PHP, HTML, JS/Query   Note: a Drupal back-end developer's knowledge is not limited to code; a great one knows what goes into building a Drupal site, knows general design concepts and deployment best practices, as well. Of course, the list of Drupal role doesn't end here. From Drupal Design/UX to Drupal Architecture, to Drupal Product Owner to Drupal DevOps Engineering... you could populate it with pretty much any level of specificity that you aim for. Which brings us to the next question:    2. What's Your Project?  In order to find the answer to your "How to hire Drupal developers for my project?" question you should first try to answer:   What's my project scope? What about its size? Which are the general and (more) specific feature needs?   For, as you've already seen, there's a whole bunch of Drupal roles out there and selecting the right one(s) for your project can get challenging. To say the least... So, to narrow down your options, identify and examine your needs:   is it Drupal maintenance that you need for your current website? Then you should get reasonable and not expect a lead Drupal developer to "jump" right in is it a whole new enterprise-grade Drupal solution that you need? Then you might want to adjust your budget and time resources to the level of Drupal experience required and the complexity of your project is it just back-end Drupal talent that you need, maybe just someone to integrate a new feature to your website? Or a... full-stack developer?   Do you just have a rough idea of what you'd like him/them to develop or clear wireframes and project specifications already laid down? Such as:   Drupal security updates enhancing your website's overall performance various eCommerce integrations custom-built content tools   ... etc. Do you need a freelancer Drupal developer or a contract-to-hire? Or you'd like to go with a staff augmentation solution? As you take the time to ask yourself all the right questions you gradually start to identify:   what level of experience you need what skill set your project requires whether you need a Drupal developer to pay specialized attention to a specific area of your project or a generalist  what technology stack your project depends on   While you have your "Aha!" moments, simply turn your answers into... job responsibilities.    3. How to Hire Drupal Developers: Where to Look? OK, now that you've identified your skillset needs and included them in your job description, it's time to "go hunting". "But where can I find developers that have experience working with Drupal?" You can run passive or active searches or... both.   Top channels to consider for passive searches:      job portals like LinkedIn, Monster, Glassdoor, Indeed ... online Drupal (or PHP) communities freelance platforms like Upwork, Toptal, Scalable Path   Top channels for your active searches:   social media Drupal groups local IT communities LinkedIn (when you start analyzing particular profiles on LinkedIn your passive search becomes... active) Drupal.org (select the top Drupal profiles there and start evaluating them against your own requirements) developer communities like GitHub, Stack Overflow   Note: an effective way to identify the perfect match is to delve deep into those profiles and evaluate those developers':   portfolios; are there any projects in there similar to yours?  Drupal roles that they "played" in different projects that they worked on type of questions they posted proof of them volunteering in different Drupal projects documentation skills   Also, keep in mind to run a deep scan of the candidates' own social media profiles, as well. They're often packed with valuable information like:   number of connections within the Drupal community number of projects that they've worked on, time spent on each of them and... number of clients, as well (is he prone to working with the same client on multiple projects?) developer groups that he's joined client feedbacks   4. 4 Questions to Ask Your Candidates So, you've shortlisted your candidates and your "How to hire Drupal developers?" dilemma has turned into: "How do I... know which is the best Drupal talent for my project?" Here are 4 questions to ask them (among other things), which will speed up your "identification" process:   What techniques would you apply to enhance a Drupal website's performance? What modules do you find essential, irrespective of the projet's scope? Do you have a Drupal project portfolio that I can have a look at? Have you contributed to developing or improving any Drupal modules?   5. What to Look for in a Drupal Developer: 8 Things to Evaluate Level of experience, community involvement, proven expertise reflected in the projects that he's worked on, certifications... what precisely should you analyze first when you're evaluating your candidates? Since the number of aspects that you could be checking can get... overwhelming, here's a shortlist of things to look into to identify your best match from a group of potential candidates:   5.1. GitHub Profile It's a never-ending source of priceless information about your candidates:    how much time they spent on different projects samples of their written code details on their contributions   5.2. Experience Level And here, what you should pay attention to is the no. of Drupal versions that they've worked with. The more... the merrier. The more experienced that particular candidate is, the more familiar he is with Drupal's specific "roadblocks" and how to address them.   5.6. Technical Expertise How do you assess their level of technical expertise? There are 2 straightforward methods to apply:   ask your candidates to review some of their own code  challenge them with a specific scenario: a challenge that they should find a custom solution to (e.g. "What module would you use to...?")   5.7. Community Involvement An experienced Drupal developer is (most of the time) an active member of the Drupal community, as well. Look for profs of his/her active involvement: discussions where's he used his expertise to help out other developers, contributions to different projects...   5.8. Client References Are there any client references online to have a look at? If not, can he/she give you any references that you could talk to? And this is particularly important if it's Drupal agencies that you're evaluating.   The END! These are the 5 aspects to look into for finding your personalized answer to the "How to hire Drupal developers" question. Happy "hunting"! Photo by Kaleidico on Unsplash  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Oct 18'2019
Acquia Cohesion: Empower your Non-Developers to Build Drupal Websites Four Times Faster
What is Acquia Cohesion? What challenges that you're facing nowadays does it help you solve? Or, if you want to put it this way: How does this Acquia & Cohesion DX8 solution enable your organization to align with the "do more with less" agile trend? In this respect, in today's blog post we'll:   define this Acquia product focusing on what sets it apart from other website builders out there identify your organization's specific needs, that Acquia Cohesion's designed to addresses highlight some of its most powerful and...  empowering features  1. What Is Acquia Cohesion?   It's a low-code Drupal add-on that empowers less technical people in your team — content authors, marketers, designers — to build websites faster and cheaper via a simple drag-and-drop user interface. In short: it simplifies the whole Drupal site-building process. It gives power to non-dev teams to:   come up with new designs set up new layouts create web pages use components site-wide, while selecting different styles to boost the user experience assemble new Drupal websites from scratch   No CSS, PHP, HTML or Drupal theming knowledge required... Now, just imagine:   how much time your developers would gain, time that they could then invest in more innovative work instead how much easier it'll be for your non-developers to be 100% brand compliant how much faster it'll get to launch new websites whenever needed how much simpler it'll get for your non-technical team to manage hundreds, even thousands of Drupal websites   2. Why Did Acquia Acquired Cohesion? Well, for 3 obvious reasons. Acquia wanted to enable organizations to:   launch their Drupal websites faster (up to four times faster) achieve brand consistency across their ecosystems of websites grant their non-dev teams more freedom and more control over the website infrastructures that they manage   In a few words: Cohesion DX8 makes Drupal (even) more accessible to companies worldwide.   3. 4 Signs that Your Company Needs this Low-Code Site Builder   Quote's source: Dries Buytaert's blog. Let's take these 4 scenarios and see if you can relate:   your team's striving to "juggle with" 100s of Drupal websites, each one carrying its own network of e-commerce and social media tools and integrations your short-term strategy includes launching... a few more scalable 100s websites your marketers and content creators always need to wait in line for the development team to do its own work before they get to add any content to your new websites your non-technical team depends on the development team for every content update they need to make (swapping a text box with an image, updating the layout...)   Are these challenges all too familiar to you? Then you're definitely one of Acquia Cohesion's target users: An organization looking to reduce their build times dramatically and to streamline the management of hundreds or even thousands of Drupal websites.   4. Real-Life Example of Acquia Cohesion "In Action"   Quote's source: Information Age. Bayer is such an organization that recognized this site builder's potential and used it to overcome the challenges that it was then facing:   building thousands of standardized websites fast(er) granting their non-dev team "independence" from developers to create Drupal websites at scale   5. Features You'll Want to Try First Now that we've tackled your "Why" questions, let's address your "How" question, as well: How do you make the most of Acquia Cohesion?  Therefore, we've hand-picked the 3 of its most powerful (and empowering) features that you'll be tempted to explore and exploit first:   5.1. In-Context Editing In-browser, on-page editing couldn't get any more convenient than this: Your content editor would just need to click anywhere on the web page where they need to make the update, hit the "Quick Edit" button and... edit it. From making changes to the content itself to updating the layout of the page and settings, your editorial team can make changes on the fly. Where do you add that the permissions control system helps them keep track of who has access to what. 5.2. Style Builder The style builder that Acquia Cohesion ships with provides your design team with minimal coding experience components that they can easily:   drag and drop arrange assembly   ... to their liking to create unique page layouts. Thus, they get to put together their own templates right in the browser. Note: feel free to go beyond the built-in styles and to get the most of the CSS properties and selectors.   5.3. Design Replication Just imagine: what if you could reuse one of your current Drupal site's design and style configuration across your other hundreds of websites? What if you could sync templates, components, brand styles across your global network of sites... faster and easier than ever before? Well, Acquia Cohesion stores that kind of power. You just need to... unlock it and use it to your advantage.   The END! These are the key benefits that you can reap from using Acquia Cohesion within your organization. Do you find them strong enough to choose this particular website builder? Image by Chris Wolf from Pixabay  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Oct 14'2019
What Will Be the Chatbot Trends in 2020? From Enterprise Chatbots to... Emotionally Intelligent Bots
How will the chatbot and conversational agents market look like next year? Which are those high-impact chatbot trends in 2020 to expect and to prepare for? Trends to adjust your customer experience strategy to... And one thing is for sure: there's no way back...   You either standardize and invest in AI-powered chatbot development and implementation or you're... left behind.    Because experts anticipate that by 2020 approx. 85% of the interactions that customers engage in with businesses will be chatbot-intermediated. And because the now improved AI-based language capabilities are already paving the way to more sophisticated chatbot solutions for:   user support customer service information management   In short: there's no other way but... the “bot way”. So, what will be the hottest trends of 2020 for chatbot (and associated technologies) development? Keep on reading...   1. Voice-Based Bots Quote source: Big Data Made Simple Are you prepared for the... rise of voice?   For a great customer experience will be a great voice experience in 2020...   Get ready to start using voice as the key medium for helping your customers:   find their way on your website/mobile app find the product/identify the services they need place an order check their... bank balance   Voice will become a too important medium to explore and to “exploit” in order to attract new customers and retain your current ones. To send out your updates, deals, and offers... In other words: you should grant talking bots a central place in your customer experience strategy by 2020. Note: do not take talking bots or conversational interfaces for merely assisting chatbots, though. With:   voice language processing, speech recognition and AI technologies getting more and more advanced skyrocketing consumer adoption of voice-enabled devices   … voice-activated chatbots will be one of the rising trends next year. Your customers will be uttering their queries instead of typing them on your site/app:   Will they be getting a helpful reply or... just the echo of their voices?   2. Enterprise Chatbots: One of the Biggest Chatbot Trends in 2020 Expect to witness conversational platforms take over... the workplaces. This is going to be another huge trend in chatbot development in 2020. And it's pretty... predictable if you come to think of it:   Agile teams are on a constant quest for ways that could make their collaboration in the workplace more efficient.   Using just a verbal request for accessing a file or triggering a software tool — that would otherwise call for an X-step process — is, indeed, efficiency at its best. And convenience... Is your team ready to rival these future teams who'll be taking full advantage of business chatbots next year?    Keep in mind: faster and better will be the best 2 words to describe the workflows of the future. So, you might want to consider welcoming enterprise chatbots into your workplace.    3. AI-Powered Chatbots The future of chatbots is... AI-driven. Chatbots will generate better customer insights by analyzing past and current data. And so, they'll feature more robust capabilities for identifying customers' preferences and behavioral patterns and for anticipating their future needs. Now, what organizations wouldn't want to leverage that kind of capabilities to power their own customer experiences with, right?   4. Emotionally Intelligent Bots IMAGE Image by Lola Kno from Pixabay     Another one of those high-impact chatbot trends in 2020 that you should prepare for. For we're about to witness some major developments in the field of emotional AI (or emotion-detecting AI, if you wish):   Chatbots will become... artificially empathetic. Meaning that they will be able to properly respond to human emotions, even if they can't replicate the processes behind those emotions.   They will still be able to... mimic the result of those processes. Hard to imagine it? Well, you'd better imagine and embrace this vision, for in 2020 chatbots will do more than (just) recognize speech: they will detect tone and emotion, as well.   Now, just think about leveraging the power of emotion detection AI in your own customer service department...   The future of chatbots will be dominated by emotional/emotion-recognition/emotionally intelligent/empathetic chatbots — however you prefer to call them.   5. NLP-Based Chatbots  Quote source: Tech Funnel   Lift the language barrier and you'll be rewarded unlimited power to perfect the customer experience that you provide...   Luckily, in 2020 chatbots will be turbocharged with highly improved natural language processing capabilities.  The “usual” obstacles, such as properly identifying a dialect, will be overcome. So, get ready to welcome chatbots capable to interpret your customers' messages with greater accuracy...   6. Automated Call Centers Put together AI and NLO technology and you get the ideal setting for an automated call center. Expect visual assistants to become a... “real” presence in the call centers' field in 2020. Sophisticated chatbot solutions will be empowered to assist customers in a human-like manner.   7. “Universal” Chatbots Multitasking or multifunctional bots will be another one of the hottest chatbot trends in 2020.  Just take this too common use case scenario:   You have a mobile app incorporating multiple services: schedule, alarm, finance manager, bank account. The user will get to interact with one chatbot (or bot persona or “universal” bot) that will trigger the “service-specialized bot(s) that he/she'll want to use.   Imagine a chatbot acting as an interface for multiple departmentalized agent bots...   The END! These are the 7 chatbot design trends to expect and to prepare for if you want to deliver the best customer experiences in 2020.  Which of them best fits your business needs? Let us know and we're ready to turn it into a chatbot that fits perfectly into your company's customer experience strategy. Main image by mohamed Hassan from Pixabay ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Oct 10'2019
It’s Fast, It’s Lean... But Is Your Site Engaging Enough? 7 Interactive Website Features to Implement
How do you get from a large audience to an... actively engaged large audience? How do you turn that massive volume of traffic that you've striven to attract into... actual sales? It's simple: you incorporate interactive website features into your site. For it's elements like built-in feedback system, chatbots, or interactive photos that would get that large audience of yours involved on your website.  A fast, visually stunning, and mobile-friendly website won't grant you more leads. Instead, a website that retains and connects with its visitors will... But let's dive right into these (not so) “mysterious” website design interactive features that will help you boost user engagement on your site:   1. What Is an “Interactive” Website? But first, let's see what an interactive website is NOT:   It's not a site that simply displays... content.   Instead, an interactive website IS, in fact:   A site that gets visitors to interact with its displayed content. Instead of merely “consuming” it...   A website that drives users to communicate with its interface by filling in popping-up forms, typing in comments, or clicking on the on-screen image of a product...   2. Why Does Your Website Need to Be Interactive? In other words: why would you care about adding this level, as well, to the user experience delivered on your website? I mean, your website's already super fast, visually striking, and conveniently responsive. It should be more than enough to... engage visitors, right? Well, not really. Here are the strongest reasons why you should consider making your website strategically interactive, as well:   it cuts down your bounce rate: users tend to spend more time on a website that interacts with them than on a static one that reduces them to... mere content consumers it builds long-term relationships: engaged visitors are much more likely to turn into... returning visitors it boosts your brand awareness: interactive user experience is always a high impact one, that clings to visitors' memories, making your brand... memorable it boosts user engagement (duh!): strategically placed interactive website features trigger more action than a mere display of content   3. What Are the Best Interactive Website Features to Consider? Top 7 Disclaimer: there's no such thing as “universally best” interactive website elements. There are, though, the “most suitable” interactive features for your own industry sector and business goals.  For instance: is it financial services that you provide? Then an interest calculator is the “best” interactive feature to incorporate into your company website. Relevance is key here... Now, let's dig out the interactive website features with the biggest impact on user engagement metrics.   3.1. Simple Interactive Tools Simple yet... highly effective, these tools range from short games to quizzes, to ad ROI calculators, to budgeting tools, to... math tools.  Needless to add that their selection depends entirely on your business goals.   3.2. User-Generated Content And this must be one of the most powerful interactive website features that you could integrate into your site. Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay   Empower users to create and upload content on your website:   product/services reviews pictures of them wearing/using your products guest posts comments   It's a highly effective means to connect with your website users. … to make them feel that they have the power to influence the user experience delivered on your website, to make them spend more time there, and even attract other potential customers with their reviews.   3.3. Wisely Used Interface Animations Animations should be on anyone's list of interactive features on a website. Word of caution: mind you use animations sparingly and with the sole purpose of enhancing your website's usability. If instead you use them to visually “wow” your visitors, you'll only risk making your website look amateurish and untrustworthy. Not to mention that a site crammed with animations would make your content difficult to read, as well. Still, when used wisely, scrolls-triggered animations and dynamic hover states on images or links, for instance, will engage users.   3.4. Social Media Apps Image by ijmaki from Pixabay   The handiest way to “inject” interactivity into your website: social media apps. And this “too” common functionality of enabling users to share your content and to follow your brand on social media is, still, one of the most effective ways to boost user engagement. So, mind you don't underestimate the power of these buttons...   3.5. Live Chats or Chatbots Assisting users throughout their visit on your website, being ready to anticipate and to promptly answer their questions... There's hardly a better way of connecting with and retaining website visitors. Take live chats and chatbots as a too powerful mix of stellar customer service and “excuse” for users to stay on your website for a longer period of time.   3.6. An Interactive Feedback System A built-in online survey tool or a contact form are other great ways of injecting a high level of interactivity into your website. Take, for instance, the contact form: you get to reach 2 major goals with one shot.   you enrich your database of leads you convey a “We Care” message to your online customers   3.7. Interactive Images and Videos Let's try a little empathy exercise: get into the shoes of your eCommerce website user! Now, answer this question:   “How convinced are you that you're making the right choice when you buy a product displayed in an on-site picture?”   Don't you struggle with the doubt that you might not make the best decision? An interactive photo or video revealing certain features of that product in detail or showing it in action, in the real world, would have a dramatic impact on your customer journey, don't you think? The END! These are the 7 high impact interactive website features to put on your shortlist when you plan to make your site more engaging. Which of these elements are you already making the most of on your website? Main image by Caroline Attwood on Unsplash ... Read more
Silviu Serdaru / Oct 04'2019
From Mobile Apps to... Multiexperience Apps: 4 Reasons to Consider a Multiexperience Development Platform
Chatbots, wearable apps, immersive apps, progressive web apps, conversational apps... It's a fact: applications as we know them are growing into... multiexperience apps. So you should consider powering your own app infrastructure with a multiexperience development platform. But first, you may want to reflect on the limitations of your current app development platform: it supports web and mobile applications only...   By comparison, a MXDP would adjust the digital user experiences that you create to a multitude of interaction modalities — touch, gesture, voice — and devices: web browsers, smartwatches, smartphones, voice-driven devices...   And it's complete experiences that users expect these days...   1. But First: What Is a “Multiexperience” in the Digital Realm? The term “multiexperience” incorporates:   all the different ways users interact with a brand (touch, audio, gesture) the multitude of physical devices delivering the user experiences resulting from those interactions   Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash    “And what is multiexperience development” you might further ask yourself.   Take it as the process where, using a plethora of different technologies, you create multiple fit-for-purpose applications. Apps perfectly tailored to suit different touchpoint-specific modalities (voice, audio, gesture...).   2. Multiexperience Development: Future-Proof Your App Development  According to Gartner Inc's research, organizations face an increasing challenge to create digital user experiences that go beyond those delivered through web and mobile apps. For data is becoming extremely accessible and being “consumed” in an overwhelming no. of ways: hands-free, mobile, voice, etc. While convenience and personalization are now the key elements of great user experience...   So, you should consider switching from mobile-focused app development to a multiexperience (app) development strategy.   You should consider future-proofing your applications by “injecting” them with multi experiences. From wearable apps to conversational apps (chatbots and voice assistants), to progressive web apps, and immersive apps... there's a wide range of apps of the future that incorporate and deliver multiple experiences. But how could you possibly develop apps perfectly adjusted to each channel, each user interaction modality? Apps adapted to the given customer contexts...   You opt for an all-technologies-in-one multiexperience development platform...   "What are they more precisely?" Keep on reading...   3. MXDPs: What Are They? How Are They Different from MAPDs? A multiexperience development platform is... the mobile app development platform of the future. It enables you to develop one app and then deploy it across a whole variety of devices and platforms.   From AR to wearable, to chat and voices, an MXDP speeds up the development of a plethora of targeted, seamless and highly scalable digital user experiences...   4. Why Shift to a Multiexperience Development Platform? 4 Reasons Now, let's talk... clear benefits. Are they strong enough so you take the leap from your already familiar mobile app development platform? Well, judge for yourself. Here are the 4 strongest reasons to move to an MXDP:   4.1. It Speeds Up the Deployment Process How long does it take you now to deploy an app to Amazon Web Services or to any other cloud services provider? Now, imagine sending your data straight to your AWS account... Moreover, when using a multiexperience development platorm you get a full-distributed environment. And that can only translate into better control over your own deployment. Add this convenience, as well, to the whole cloud-based deployment process and... try to anticipate how much time you'd save.   4.2. It Increases Operational Efficiency Within Your Organization Faster day-to-day operations... How does an MXDP help you achieve this goal? It's quite obvious:   A central, interconnected system incorporates and thus streamlines all your internal processes.    As opposed to struggling to orchestrate a heavy network of various different programs, one for each type of day-to-day internal task.   4.3. It Cuts Down Time to Market for Your App And there are 2 main “culprits” behind this benefit of using a multiexperience development platform:   reusable code accelerated design processes   Furthermore, if you release faster, you get user feedback faster so... you can apply the needed improvements... faster.    4.4. It Removes the Security Risk of Shadow IT Have you ever tried to count the apps, IT systems, devices, services, and infrastructure that are being used across your organization? Is it even possible to keep track of them all? Well, that's one of the strongest benefits of using an MXDP: you get a bird's eye view over your software asset. This way, you can remove the risk that shadow IT poses.   The END! Quite curious now: are all these predictions regarding the multi-experiences apps and reasons for switching to an MXDP strong enough for you to... take the leap? Main Image by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash  ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Oct 03'2019
Drupal Migrate API: An Overview of the Migration System in Drupal 8
About to migrate your website from... Drupal 7 to Drupal 8? Or maybe from an external data source to Drupal 8? The good news is that Drupal Migrate API, the migration system in Drupal 8, is extremely powerful and conveniently flexible. The "trick" is that you should be familiar with all its robust features, hidden gotchas and planning steps to take. But, fear not: we've got you covered. Here's a quick-start guide to migrating in Drupal 8, which covers both Drupal-to-Drupal and external data store-to Drupal migration scenarios.   1. But First: What Is Drupal Migrate API? It's Drupal's robust migration system that enables you to pull data from various sources and to "inject" them into... Drupal (duh).   And the entire framework is made mostly of... migration plugins:   source plugins process  plugins destination plugins   It's these migration plugins that are responsible for extracting, transforming and fitting data into the Drupal 8 destination website. 2. A System Designed to Pull Content to Drupal from... Any Source One of the Drupal Migrate API's most powerful features is extracting content from... pretty much anywhere:   XML previous versions of Drupal MariaDB, MySQL JSON CSV other platforms (e.g. WordPress)   The overly simplified Drupal 8 migration process would look something like this:   connect the Drupal Migration API system to your external datastore write your custom migration paths transform the source data into a suitable format to fit perfectly into the content types and fields in your destination Drupal website   3. Consider Creating Your Own Custom Source Plugin Is there no way to pull content from your source? Then you'll need to write your custom source plugin to map the extracted data to its destination fields. A plugin that suits your own migration scenario to the slightest detail. For instance, mapping the titles and subtitles of the... blog posts on your current WordPress website to the article node type's titles and subtitle fields in your Drupal 8 destination website. IMAGE Image by Ulrike Mai from Pixabay   You'll need to define the specific fields in your source data to the Drupal 8 Migrate API so that it should perform a proper mapping. 4. Process Plugins: The Key Elements in the Drupal 8 Migration Process They play a critical role in any Drupal 8 migration, being responsible for converting the source data into the appropriate format.  Here are just a few examples of process plugins "in action" during the migration process:   they import data behind HTTP authentication they parse images from text   Image source: Drupal.org  5. The Migration System Handles Everything... "The Drupal Way"  The unparalleled flexibility of the Drupal Migrate API resides in its way of handling each operation... the Drupal way. It's "smart" enough to automatically import and validate the source data into the right fields of the destination site. It's designed to "understand" how to adjust the imported data to the various fields, entities, and configurations specific to your Drupal 8 destination website. In short: the Drupal 8 migrate system makes it easy for you to handle all migration operations the... "Drupal way".   6. Drupal 8 Migration Modules that Extend the System's Functionality Now, let's say that, although extremely powerful, the Drupal Migrate API framework doesn't meet all your functionality requirements. You can always enhance its flexibility with migration modules that serve your particular migration needs. Here are just 3 examples:   Migrate Plus It adds extra features to the framework such as an URL source plugin that makes it possible for you to pull data from XML, Soap, and JSON file formats.   Migrate Tools The module provides tools for various running and managing migration operations. Here are just some of the Drush commands triggering such operations:   migrate-import – it will run a migration. migrate-status – it will display all migrations and their status migrate-rollback – it will roll back a migration Migrate Source CSV It enables you to import CSV files to your Drupal 8 destination website.   Migrate Spreadsheet It makes it possible to extract data from spreadsheet files...   7. External Data Source to-Drupal Migration: A 4-Step Guide Now, let's talk facts. Or, better said: the essential steps to take for migrating your content from an external source to Drupal 8.   first, enable the Drupal 8 Migrate module next, install both Migrate Tools and Migrate Plus for the Drush migration commands and a whole variety of much-needed extensions and plugins set up a custom module for your specific migration case use YAML configuration files for field mapping from the right data source; trigger your process plugins to convert data to the right format   Note: your config files should get stored in “my_migration_module/config/install/“. 8. Drupal-to-Drupal 8 Migration: A 2-Step Guide If it's a Drupal-to-Drupal migration challenge that you're facing, here's the whole process brought down to its key steps:   run the "migrate-upgrade" command in Drush using the "-configure-only" flag to trigger stub YAML configurations    Upgrade Using Drush copy the resulting YAML files into the config/install directory of your custom module (remember to give them proper names and to edit them)   9. Final Word The Drupal Migrate API is highly flexible and, therefore, very powerful.    It's designed for a whole variety of migration scenarios, of different levels of complexity: from importing a collection of blog posts to... pulling hundreds of thousands of nodes.   And yet, with great flexibility comes great complexity: Since every website's user-generated content architecture is different, every Drupal 8 migration is highly website-specific. With no "one-size-fits-all" type of standards at hand, you're at the same time free and "constrained" to... customize your migration to your specific needs. Better said: with great flexibility comes... great(er) responsibility. Main image by wandaquinn from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Sep 30'2019