Attended a ‘Content Management for Web 2.0’ today hosted by Content Management software vendors Percussion Marketing. Didn’t expect it to be quite as thought provoking but it was. There were three very different speakers followed by a product demo of Rhythmyx Percussion Marketing. Very light on the sales push so it was a good balance of learning vs sales.
First up was Alex Miller from Digital Consultants Pixl8, who I thought demonstrated an excellent grasp of what businesses should be looking for from suppliers when selecting tools and products to manage a Web 2.0 site. He raised several good points one that sticks out was the accessibility implications of deploying AJAX interfaces on consumer websites. Whilst the dynamic nature of the interface is likely to exclude visually impaired users of screen readers, the interface could improve the usability & accessibility for the majority of users with traditional browsers. The graceful transition and reduction of clicks and effort on behalf of the browser could results in a better experience overall. If done right. Interesting flipside to the accessibility debate.
A good example a company who have got it right, according to Alex were VISOKIO with their Camerafinder tool, an excellent interactive product selection tool, try it it reaally works and makes sense from a comsumer point of view.
There was less debate today about blogging tools and wiki’s replacing traditional CMS’s than I was expecting. When mentioned to Alex, the response was that the tools aren’t the same and shouldn’t be considered as such. I guess I can forgive that given that the day was provided by a CMS vendor! But I felt it missed the point somewhat. Necessity is the mother of all invention. Smaller businesses can and do use Web 2.0 tools to create and maintain websites for the following reasons;
- They don’t need any real training. If they use Word they can manage a blog
- Sidebar widgets and add-ins extend functionality without needing extensive programming skills
- They can make changes whenever and wherever they want. An ‘email in’ facility gives you the ability to update your site on the move or from a data enabled mobile phone
- Search engines show them more love
Also there is just no comparison in price. If I can build and update a website with Typepad for $15 a month, why would I buy Interwoven for a squillion pounds? I know Typepad has no where near the functionality as an off the shelf CMS’s, but I've never seen a CMS implementation where all the ‘features’ have been utilised anyway!
Next up was Brian Harte previously of 118 118, talking about the transition they went through when implementing Web 2.0 aspects to their local search offering. Whilst a little long, Brian’s presentation was interesting to me due to it client-side focus. He flagged up a number pitfalls & issues that anyone would face i.e. alienating advertisers and partners when customer service ratings could be detrimental to their products. The impact on internal IS teams when they are required to deliver web applications with agility rather than a waterfall approach, and the challenge of making your shiny new Web 2.0 content ‘defensible’, i.e. hard to replicate.
One term that he coined (or I’m assuming he did…need to do some research!) which really resonated was ‘plasticity’. He used this to describe how today's content needs to be re-usable and portable in order for it to flow into different uses & applications. Apparently the word was taken from stem-cell research where stem cells mutate into different types of cell tissue as required. Now say it again....plasticity. Sounds good.
Lastly was Catherine Toole from Sticky Content a web copywriting agency. Her presentation was solid with sound advice if your were new to new media. She had some good examples of online community building from Lego, and how your customers will do it without you anyway from Ikea Hacker!
Catherine also did a straw poll around the room and I seemed to be the only person who actually blogs...rather surprising given the audience. Where are those 70 Million bloggers?
Anyway, good to get out of the office for a morning and think about stuff.