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Solid

Like most people who make use of the web, you probably use some free services like Facebook, Twitter, Google Chrome, Outlook, Gmail (the list goes on... basically we're talking about a product or service provided by an oversized tech power that demands your personal data in exchange for whatever they're peddling). Free services appear great on the surface but you are essentially selling your soul to these data tyrants so they can sell on your personal details to the lowest bidder. As the inventor of the web Tim Berners-Lee (TBL) states:

the web has evolved into an engine of inequity and division; swayed by powerful forces who use it for their own agendas

It's 2018 and we find ourselves in this dire situation, largely due to greed. It's toxic. Thankfully TBL has been working on a solution, called Solid, that aims to give web users more control over how their data is used and abused:

Solid changes the current model where users have to hand over personal data to digital giants in exchange for perceived value. As we’ve all discovered, this hasn’t been in our best interests. Solid is how we evolve the web in order to restore balance — by giving every one of us complete control over data, personal or not, in a revolutionary way

The main idea behind Solid is:

It gives every user a choice about where data is stored, which specific people and groups can access select elements, and which apps you use. It allows you, your family and colleagues, to link and share data with anyone. It allows people to look at the same data with different apps at the same time.

So while you may still need to disclose a certain level of personal information to use the services of Facebook for example, at least you will be in control of your own data, not Facebook. You set up a profile (known as a POD) on the Solid platform and then choose what info you want to share. I like it! And like TBL I'm looking forward to welcoming in the next era of the web.

Gerry McGovern nails it in his new post Technology is neither magical nor neutral. He describes how buying technology, like a new Content Management System, isn't the answer to your business problems. Sticking your new content into a new system won't magically make it better or easier to understand by your customers; it takes careful management to get the most out of it. Well worth a read.

Use Google+ Hangouts to boost your business

Google+ Hangouts let you do cheap teleconferencing for up to ten people; this includes using live video as part of a demonstration. Hosting a Hangout on a subject relevant to your business is a great way to:

  • Demonstrate a new service or product
  • Get feedback from your customers
  • Increase brand recognition
  • Build a stronger following
  • Enhance your position as a leader in your field

All Hangout conversations are saved for future reference, letting you revisit shared ideas and images.

For more information read How to Build Your Brand with Google+ Hangouts On Air.

Although primarily aimed at businesses who provide a web application or online product, Email Patterns for Web Apps is a useful list of subjects / circumstances where you could proactively provide a better customer experience through sending them emails. For instance, after they sign up or purchase your service / product, do you follow up with an appropriate welcome message? Do you share news about updates or bug fixes? What about including / thanking them when your business succeeds?

Every company needs a 'big data' strategy to avoid falling behind rivals.

'Big data' refers to the use of technology to assess massive amounts of data, often to learn more about people or groups of people and their behaviour.

Even for small to medium sized businesses I wholeheartedly agree that understanding your customers is vital. Whether the data you collect is via Google Analytics or you're recording specific actions and outcomes in another way, having the data, even if it's only "medium data", is a must.

Future of Web Design

In his article Future of Web Design, Tarun Mitra points to all the latest developments web design has witnessed in recent years, from responsive design and web applications to retina display and web fonts. At Doepud I appreciate that staying abreast of these developments can be challenging at times, especially as most webby things are constantly evolving.

Continue reading "Future of Web Design"

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