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Take your daily dose of (only) relevant news, useful tips and tricks and valuable how to's on using the latest web technologies shaping the digital landscape. We're here to do all the necessary information sifting for you, so you don't have to, to provide you with content that will help you anticipate the emerging trends about to influence the web.

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
Acquia Cloud Site Factory: Why Would You Even Consider It for Your Multisite Network?
Just imagine: a world where you upload a piece of content on one dashboard and it goes live on all your... 300 websites instantly! A world where you can create a new website with just one click... That's the Acquia Cloud Site Factory-governed reality. And now, back to your day-to-day-reality where:   you lose huge amounts of money with every minute that just one of your... thousands of websites is down you struggle with the challenge of delivering a unified user experience across multiple websites, legacy systems, geographic regions, languages you need to have brand new websites/different digital experiences added to the network on the fly, yet you're dealing with huge delays your development team is... tangled up in mundane editing tasks your marketing team is fully dependent on the IT department for every single new campaign or website that they might need to spin up your developers deal with spotty access to your multisite network, so if one of them needs to tackle an emergency issue on one of the websites, another one could be unavailable   And remember: Dries Buytaert's made this prediction back in... 2005.   1. Your Current Situation Let us guess:   you're a franchise you're a university managing an entire infrastructure of microsites, in a variety of different designs, content, structures, and features you're a multinational company about to enter new markets, thus planning to build different new websites for each one of those markets you're a real estate company planning to create a new website for every property in your portfolio   Or, let's try a more generic profile:   You're an... organization that delivers digital experiences across hundreds or even thousands of different websites.   2. The Main Challenge(s) You're Facing Now, let us "guess" some of the struggles that you're dealing with while trying to efficiently "joggle" with your multitude of websites:   2.1. Delivering a Personalized Experience on Each and Every Website We can empathize with that:   Managing multilingual regional websites does translate into major challenges from a personalization and customization standpoint.   For instance: what if you need to integrate a specific payment gateway to just one of your hundreds of websites? Or you need to incorporate any other functionality specific to an individual market that you're targeting? With Acquia Cloud Site Factory you can have your regional microsites up and running in no time. Moreover, you can address various issues, like new market-specific features to be implemented, without fearing that you leave other websites in your "cluster" exposed. With a simple central dashboard at your disposal, adding, creating and delivering a new fully personalized digital experience gets dramatically streamlined. With zero risks of duplication... 2.2. Granting Your Development Team a Unified Access to All Your Websites Here's a real-life situation:   Your website visitors signal an issue, so one of your developers tries to address the problem. This means that another one would be unable, due to spotty access to the system.   But what if all your developers could get simultaneous access? Wouldn't unified access for your entire development team streamline the whole "issues tackling" process? 2.3. Providing a Unified Experience to Your Content Authors   And you can't possibly provide a unified experience across your multi-site network neither to your editors or to your visitors when you have:   n different branding styles n different levels of responsiveness n different codebases with to be maintained individually n different themes   2.4. Updating The Entire Infrastructure in Real-Time Let's say that you need to implement a set of regulations at the network level (GDPR, for instance). And we're talking about... thousands of websites. A "mission impossible" for your current situation, when you have hundreds of databases to update individually, right? Luckily, the Acquia Cloud Site Factory provides you with a unique database for all your websites. A single source for your entire infrastructure. Update once and roll out that change across your entire multi-site network.   2.5. Empowering the Marketing Team to Create New Brand Experiences on the Run Your digital marketers are currently pretty dependent on their colleagues from the IT department for every:   new banner that they'd want to revamp microsite that they might need to create and align with your marketing strategy landing page that they might want to put together and distribute    But what if you give them so much freedom that they could spin up new highly branded, media-rich websites based on pre-configured templates? With Aquia's Site Factory you empower the marketing team to create and deploy new digital experiences... on the fly. Agility at its best.   2.6. Maintaining Brand Consistency Across Your Network And this must be one of the biggest challenges you're facing: how do you keep and boost brand consistency over an entire network of websites? Especially if we're talking about a global presence. With your brand experiences delivered in different languages, with the help of multiple distributed teams, across different legacy platforms, with multiple stakeholders involved... The Acquia Cloud Site Factory platform helps you ensure brand consistency through:   templates that content managers can use to create/duplicate websites a single source of update (a unique database)   3. Entering: Acquia Cloud Site Factory It's a multi-site management platform that provides you with:   one central, simple dashboard a centralized database a feature-packed site-building environment powerful workflow tools that give your developers more control over the enterprise digital experience ... and your marketing team more freedom and flexibility   In short: a digital platform where you can build, deploy, update, centralize and manage a huge number of different websites fast and at scale.   And we're talking here about highly branded, content-rich, dynamic websites...   4. But How Would It Benefit Your Own Multi-Site Network? Why would you move to a single platform? What are the benefits that you'd "reap" from running your complex infrastructure on the Acquia Cloud Site Factory? Image source: Acquia.com   4.1. You'd Minimize Site Development and Maintenance Costs With:   a single database for pushing all your updates to a whole team of digital marketers free to spin up new websites by simply filling in pre-built templates   ... you cut down costs significantly. 4.2. You'd boost brand consistency across all your websites Fast and consistent updates...That's the "beauty" of having just one database as a single source for pushing changes distributed throughout your entire network. 4.3. You'd Accelerate Time to Market Launching landing pages and spinning up brand new microsites with just one click reduces time to market dramatically.   4.7. You'd Orchestrate Thousands of Websites Centrally One dashboard for an entire network of websites... Now, just think of the resources you'd save and the security threats you'd prevent by centralizing all your multi-site management tasks carried out across multiple:   regions marketing and design systems legacy CMSs products...   4.2. You'd Simplify and Automate All Multi-Site Management Operations The Acquia Cloud Site Factory platform streamlines all your multi-site management efforts. No more manual work, no more duplicates...  The platform provides developers with a robust set of workflow tools that enable them to grant role-based permissions to the content team.  4.4. You'd Update Faster And it goes without saying: with one central database you get to easily mass-update your entire network.   4.5. You'd Deliver a Coherent Experience to Your Content Authors and Users  A centralized way of managing your large "cluster" of websites removes the risk of delivering a... disjointed experience to your content managers and website visitors.   4.6. You'd Scale Your Brand... Globally Acquia Cloud Site Factory is built with above-the-average scalability needs in mind, that's for sure.  Image by Megan Rexazin from Pixabay   4.8. You'd Free Your Developers for More Complex Projects By taking the marketing team "off their back" you'd lift some of the burden hanging on your developers' shoulders. And allow them to focus on more strategic tasks instead... Also, the workflow tools that the platform ships with grant them more control over the enterprise digital experiences delivered across your network...   4.9. You'd Grant Your Marketing Team More Flexibility to Innovate Power to the (marketing) people... By enabling them to set up new websites and other brand experiences on the fly, you allow them to seize every great opportunity that they might be currently missing. Since updating content and launching new digital experiences is now so discouragingly cumbersome.   The END! Is it a bit clearer to you now how moving your multi-site infrastructure to Acquia Cloud Site Factory would benefit you? Main image by Bethany Drouin from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Sep 27'2019
React.js vs Node.js: What Are the Main Differences? Which One to Choose for Building Your Next Web App?
They're both widely used, subsets of JavaScripts, high performing and yet... they're technically different. But different in what way, more precisely? In a “React.js vs Node.js” comparison, which framework would turn out to be the best choice for building your web application with? And why? Some might say that comparing the 2 JavaScript frameworks would be like outlining the differences between a high-speed train and a... sports car. They're completely different things. And yet, since both Node.js and ReacJS are temptingly advanced and equally popular among web developers, you can't help asking yourself: “Which one should I use for my next JavaScript project?” And the answer must be hiding in precisely those key differences that set apart the 2 equally efficient and equally tempting frameworks. So, let's dig in for these differences so that you can set them against your own project's:   various parameters size dependency ecosystem maturity   … and against your specific business needs, as well, so you can identify for yourself which one's the best choice for your custom web app:   1. React.js: What Is It Used For? But let's start with what React.js is before we dig into its use cases: It's an open-source JavaScript library (rather than a “conventional” web framework) that one can use with the web browser. One used mainly for:   building web browser apps (and not for executing them, like it's the case with Node.js) building high-performing, dynamic libraries building great user interfaces perfectly equipped to render large datasets   2. Why Would YOU Use React.js? Why Choose It Over Node.js? Let's fast forward to that moment where you will have already made your “React.js vs Node.js” comparison. Now, after seeing each JavaScript framework's pros and cons, why would you opt for React? The benefits of React boil down to... 3 essential ones:   2.1. It's SEO-Friendly And it's pretty predictable that ReactJS is SEO-effective if you come to think of it: Compared to other JavaScript frameworks, ReactJS renders code from the server right to the browser, as a regular web page. So, we can no longer be talking about Google (or other browsers) struggling to read your JavaScript-heavy web app.    2.2. It Performs Better No wonder: it creates its own virtual DOM, after all. How does this impact your React web app's performance?   DOM loads only a part of the web page (compared to the traditional full-refresh model) React handles all the regular updates in the DOM   2.3. It Embraces a Component-Based Architecture  Another one of React's biggest “selling points” is its fully component-based architecture:  You get to create your own components and display, combine, reuse, import and integrate them into your core content as needed. And there's more. More key reasons why you'd want to choose React.js over Node.js:   with React you can reuse code  it ships with smooth interface designs it updates faster it is view oriented  it provides support both for the client-side and the server-side it's easier for you to write UI test cases it allows you to write less code    3. And Why Would You Be Skeptical of Using React.js? For React.js must have its own limitations and shortcomings that might discourage you from using it in your project. And determine you to go with one of its “rivaling” JS frameworks instead... Here are some of its off-putting disadvantages:   a steep learning curve Flux architecture a discouragingly sophisticated view layer it uses JSX,  a mix of JavaScript and HTML it's a JavaScript library, not a framework you might still be required to perform some configurations if you need to incorporate it into an MVC framework   4. What Is Node.js? “Is React the same as Node?” you might ask yourself. But to answer that you first need to define Node.js, right? It's a lightweight and efficient JavaScript runtime environment on the server side, powered by the Chrome V8 JavaScript engine, that uses a non-blocking I/O  model. Its event-driven model enables you to create fast and scalable network applications. In this respect, the callback concept that it uses enables Node.js to tap into an event-driven single-threaded server and to execute JS on the server-side.   5. React.js vs Node.js: Main Reasons Why You Would Want to Use Node.js What are the key benefits of using Node.js for developing your web application? Again, as in the case of React.js, I'll boil them down to 3 major reasons why you'd be tempted to choose Node.js:   3.1. It Ships with Its Own Package Manager And this benefit becomes even more significant if you think of Node.js's ecosystem of thousands of package modules. Having a dedicated CLI at your disposal, to access and install all the packages that you might need during your app's development process, is a true time-saving tool.   3.2. It Can Be Used as a Server-Side Proxy Try to imagine these 2 common scenarios: You need to retreive data from various multiple sources or to proxy multiple services with different response times. How do you do that? You simply use Node.js as a server-side proxy.  This way, your web application's equipped to handle multiple, simultaneous connections efficiently.   3.3. It Manages Large Streams of Data Being designed to read really large datasets is one of Node's major advantages over React.js. And of particular importance to you if that networking application that you're building is expected to handle wmassive loads of data and files in real-time. In this respect, Node.js “joggles with” streams of data: It treats HTTP requests and responses as data streams (instead of isolated events, like in the buffering model). This way, it calls multiple data sources simultaneously. A great feature for real-time video streaming, for instance, where your app would be challenged to stream really large files. And these are not all the reasons why you might consider it to be the right choice for your JavaScript project:   it shares the same code on the client and on the server-side it's highly extensible it enables you to write real-time, server-side applications in JavaScript   6. Node.js: Limitations and Drawbacks And it would be only fair to outline some of Node.js's shortcomings, as well, right? So, what could be the main reasons why you might not find it suitable for your next web application project?   its nested callbacks it's doesn't handle CPU-intensive tasks efficiently enough new and new APIs get released, so you need to be on a constant alert for backward-incompatible changes  it's suited for web servers only it challenges you to troubleshoot relational database issues   The END! Now, what's the verdict? In a React.js vs Node.js confrontation, which JavaScript “framework” checks off most of the goals on your project's list? Image by Andrew Becks from Pixabay ... Read more
RADU SIMILEANU / Aug 01'2019
What Are the Best Google Site Search Alternatives? Top Reasons to Consider Cludo
What are some powerful Google Site Search alternatives? On-site search solutions that should be:   flexible effective versatile (easy to use on any CMS) quick to set up easy to configure  cloud-based AI-powered   … and to provide you with actionable insights on your visitors' search behavior. How about... Cludo, an internal search engine, and insights generator? Now, you might want to keep your “feature wishlist” at hand as you evaluate this competitor to Google's custom search solution.    1. But What Is Cludo? It's a robust on-site search tool that you can easily set up on your website, no matter what CMS you're using. This way, you add a search interface where you can pull relevant data on your visitor's search behavior. Its greatest strength? Its ease of use: It empowers you, irrespective of your technical level, to set it up and to further optimize the content it delivers, quick and easy. Unlike other Google site search alternatives, with Cludo you get easy access to actionable analytics. With a simple to use dashboard, you can pull powerful data and use it to constantly improve users' site search experience without having to be a... data analyst expert.   2. What Makes Cludo One of the Best Google Site Search Alternatives? And still: “Which are those unique features that Cludo provides?” For there must be other key reasons why it's now rivaling Google's own custom site search solution... Well, let me highlight just some of its most powerful features:   customizable index: you get to customize the criteria so that certain pages get pushed forward; you even get to specify what type of content should and shouldn't be searchable   machine learning-based autocomplete: it provides users with robust suggestions and corrects their misspellings in real-time   actionable search insights: it provides you with key data on who your website visitors are and what precisely they're searching for; you can tap into this information to deliver engaging and relevant content, to further optimize users' site search experience   an easy-to-use interface: Cludo's UI is designed so that even if you're not a technical user you should still be able to configure your on-site search solution quick and easy   semantic search: it delivers accurate and relevant results even if your website visitors type in words that are totally different from your anticipated search terms; Cludo taps into intelligent semantics, uses bigrams and synonyms to deliver the most comprehensive search results   3. Cludo vs Google Custom Site Search Engine    What if we confronted the two powerful site search solutions? Which would be the Google limitations that we would see exploited and counterbalanced by robust Cludo features?   3.1. Google Custom Search Engine  Its functionality is pretty straightforward: thanks to the search bar added to your website, your visitors can look for specific content quickly. Now, when it comes to its limitations, there are a few:   fewer customization options it doesn't provide you with the tools (e.g. actionable analytics) needed to constantly improve and customize the site search experience delivered on your website   3.2. Cludo Now, when it comes to Cludo, it does ship with some unique features that come to “exploit” Google Site Search's lack of them:   first of all, it's equipped with all the features you need for customizing the site experience: you get an easy to use dashboard where you can pull relevant analytics on your users' behavior and specific needs … this way, you can tailor the delivered content accordingly and provide them a fully customized site experience it ships with a banner analytics feature: you can add banners to your results page for... upcoming events, key search terms, etc. The END! Summing up now: If, when evaluating some of the Google Site Search alternatives, you value particularly those features that enable you to customize the user experience, then Cludo might just be the solution you're looking for. Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay   ... Read more
Adriana Cacoveanu / Jul 29'2019