Web Experience Management: Labor Day Luddite

Happy end of Labor Day Weekend! Like many of you, I would have appreciated a few more days to the long weekend. However I was looking forward to starting this week's topic of Web Experience Management here on the WebCenter blog; there has been so much going on in this area both here at Oracle as well as externally across the digital ecosystem.

To start out our week, I thought I'd like to add a bit to the interesting conversation that my former colleague, Tom Wentworth started last week on Forbes.com in his post entitled, “Context Will Drive The Future Of Web Content Management.” I’d like to take Tom’s direction even a step further to continue the conversation about Web experience management that I started here last week (Mayberry R.F.D. Meets the WWW (Oracle WebCenter Blog)). I advocated bringing a lot more courtesy to our online interactions with content that is not only contextual but intelligently delivered, with all the available knowledge of the visitor taken into consideration.

To begin some of my research for this, I started an informal discussion at our annual Labor Day afternoon neighborhood block party  focused on people’s pet peeves with the experience they have on websites they frequent on a regular basis. While there was at least one Luddite in the crowd who was shocked about the amount of information that is collected in his online travels, a very interesting conversation took place about the interactions, expectations and frustrations people have for the Web sites they visit. With grill’s ablaze and cold beverages aplenty, I spent some time explaining the major types of targeted content delivery (explicit and implicit targeting, segmentation, and personalization), and as usual, discovered that John and Jane Q Public really have no idea what happens when they put a search term into a search engine.

Local Pet Peeves (based on informal, unscientific neighborhood poll):

  1. All of the people questioned HATE it when they follow a search-provided link to a website that has nothing to do with their search topic. The reality of paid search determining some of the placement location in the search result hierarchy was a foreign concept. I was surprised to hear that my Luddite neighbor would actually go 3-4 pages deep before he ditched and modified his search entry.This was not typical.
  2. My neighbors don’t like it when websites share information about them, such that their searches on different sites reflect cross-site knowledge of their experience. BUT, they do like the Amazon recommendation model while they are on the site. They also reacted negatively to the email generated and sent based on recent search activity. My Luddite neighbor was amazed that websites somehow knew where he was located and that some of the banner and sidebar ads presented were localized based on his GeoIP identification combined with recent search history. He’s a bit more paranoid about the tracking of his search history now.
  3. Bad navigation & search implementations. People want quick access (1-3 clicks maximum) to the content/product/action they are looking for in the first place. My Luddite neighbor clearly stated that he had no patience and was admittedly fickle enough to jump to another site if he can’t find what he’s looking for within a minute or so at maximum.
  4. People HATE “Pop-Ups” and “Pop-Unders” and will avoid any site with pervasive X-Ups. My Luddite friend didn’t know about pop-up blockers.

    As the conversation expanded to our interactions with organizations/companies via multiple channels of online, mobile, brick and mortar, call centers and mail, the inconsistencies of interaction based on assumed knowledge became apparent. This is a challenge for all of us involved with marketing today. How do marketers connect with consumers via their preferred channels of communication when those channels are constantly in flux? This is perhaps best captured by a wonderful OP Ed piece last week By Frank Bruni in the New York Times.

    Give it a think and stay tuned as we’ll discuss some more on this topic this week.


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