Saturday, May 21, 2011

Tips for Designing Interaction Templates

Interaction models are ready-made program modules that content creators can custom-configure quickly and easily with new content. Interaction models are also known as interaction templates.

A simple interaction template for a web site could be a visitor poll. In a presentation, a drill-down pie-chart could be a useful interaction. In e-learning, a learning quiz show game can be a good interaction template, with customizable questions.

Planning your template library
Good templates result in meaningful, rather than superficial interactions. Here are some tips on designing a good interaction template library.
  1. Think of  templates that add value (not just jazz) to the content
  2. Consider where the interactions would play - a browser, a presentation or otherwise.
  3. Consider the end-use and its impact on the selection of templates
  4. Organize templates in logical categories
  5. Tag templates with meaningful keywords to enable easy search
  6. Considerations implications for systems integration - will the templates have to import / export data to other applications?

Designing individual templates
Each individual template needs careful design considerations. Here are a few.
  1. Determine customizable parameters: What will change from one interactivity to next?
  2. Clearly identify the stages of customization: Are there parameters that can be customized in a wizard pretty much using form-filling? Are there other parameters that require a graphic input while customizing?
  3. Set sensible defaults
  4. Allow import and export of content: An interactive graph can be built by importing Excel. An interactive discussion can be summarized in a PDF export.
  5. Address multiple rendering options at run time: Depending on what device the interaction will be played on.

When are templates appropriate?
When you have a repetitive use of an interaction with changing content, templates are essential. If you are building a unique interaction that you will hardly need to modify ever, there is no point bothering with templates.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Small Enhancements to Websites for a Small Fee Make a Big Difference

Value innovation is about finding new ways to create and deliver customer value. Value innovation rarely limits itself to the product alone - often it has to do with the pricing and the revenue model that goes with the product.

Enhancing websites is one of those exercises we put off once too often, until the site starts looking like a dinosaur, several pending design changes accumulate, and before we realize what is happening, it is time to look for budget to fund another big web project. To avoid this fate, every webmaster would love to have a site-enhancement tool that enables micro-enhancements - a new widget here, a cool animation there - on an on-going basis.

Last year in fall, SiteJazzer was introduced in the market as a web site enhancement tool. SiteJazzer, presented as a SaaS subscription, generated a considerable interest among website owners who wanted to bring their sites alive with interactive elements. Soon enough, a SiteJazzer desktop license was introduced, this time allowing a one-time license fee. Further along, a pay-per-use option was also introduced, allowing micro-payments as low as $10 per enhancement to your site.

With micro-payments, webmasters have a very convenient option in their quest for site enhancement. They can try out a small enhancement to their site for free: simply sign up and customize any interactive element a.k.a. jazzer. Once they know it is useful and want to keep it, they purchase only that jazzer for a small payment. This keeps the web site up to date with enhancements, avoiding big expenses later.  Small change at a time for a small fee, making a big difference.Take a look at SiteJazzer, if you haven't already.