To anyone who has ever struggled to maintain their site using a Content Management System (CMS): you’re not alone, we feel your pain.
Chris and Paul in DesignByFront.com are doing some research into the user experience of content management systems, so if you’ve ever been involved in managing a website, they’d love to get your insight.
Why are they doing this?
Front believe that every website should get better and better and better over time. Unfortunately, many people find it difficult enough to look after the site they have, rather than getting to focus on continuous improvement.
Almost every site delivered at Front uses a content management system so that non-technical users can take ownership of the site once its live.
Key to this is the regular addition of high-quality content. However, too often the design of Content Management Systems don’t reflect the way that those involved in authoring, editing or reviewing content actually work; despite claims to the contrary, almost all CMS tools are designed around how a site works for its users, rather than focusing on the needs of those who’ll be responsible for it once live.
This creates a barrier to publishing good content, and restricts the growth and quality of the site. A better CMS experience should result in better content being created for a site, which in turn results in a better experience for the site’s users.
Front are not the first to think about this. Jeff Veen wrote about the problems inherent in Content Management Systems way back in 2004, but things haven’t changed much since then, and now it’s time to get the discussion started again.
So, if you’ve ever been involved in managing a website with a CMS, they’d love to hear your thoughts.
According to Front:
To make sure we really understand what the key issues are, we’re carrying out a small piece of design research on content management. We want to know how the experience of using a CMS could be improved, and so along with performing user interviews and usability testing, we’ve put together a quick survey to gather input from the broader web community.
We’re doing this research because we realise that while we put a lot of time and attention into creating beautiful online experiences for our client’s users, we perhaps don’t give enough thought to the experience of our clients themselves.
To take part, fill in our quick survey
The 2009 ECTA* Regulatory Scorecard, which benchmarks the telecoms regulatory framework in 18 European countries, shows Ireland performing well when it comes to its legislative environment and policy but is generally weaker on the resulting regulatory and market outcomes .
Ireland, together with the UK and Norway, scored highest for the efficiency of its regulatory authority. However, the price Ireland’s dominant player eircom charges for a competitor to access the ‘local loop’ is the highest in Europe at €431 per annum compared to €206 in the Netherlands.
Overall Ireland scored 6th position on the scorecard out of 18 EU member states, jumping from 12th position last year with the UK top of the table. The improvement is attributed to improved regulatory processes and relatively progressive policy proposals concerning next generation networks.
Commenting on the findings Ronan Lupton, Chairman of ALTO, which represents the alternative telecommunications sector in Ireland said: "While ComReg should be commended for scoring so highly it is clear that major obstacles still exist for effective competition in Ireland. Access charges to the incumbent’s network is still the highest in the EU and stifles profitable investment. We would call on the Minister to issue tighter policy directions to ComReg and ensure competitive services are available to Irish consumers."
Additional findings of the report as they relate to Ireland include:
- ComReg achieved strong performance for being able to conduct market analyses decisions in an efficient and transparent manner and have also been able to act effectively as dispute settlement bodies.
- For economic market conditions, Ireland scored the worst alongside Turkey and the Czech Republic. For voice, business services and mobile services Ireland was very weak on competition with competitive weaknesses identified in the broadband environment in particular.
- Time to port a telephone number ranges from 1 day in Ireland and Germany to more than 45 days in Poland.
General findings include:
- Countries with lowest prices tend to have higher penetration rates.
- Overall where LLU and cable providers have a higher penetration rate access speeds are higher. Where the incumbent has a higher level of penetration (and typically a higher share of the market), broadband access speeds do not increase significantly.
- Overall LLU helps to expand the broadband market and where LLU has a significant level of penetration the incumbent does not lose sales. In other words LLU is good for consumers (more people subscribe), good for competitors and is not negative for incumbents.
In launching the report ECTA urged the European Parliament and Council to use the opportunity of the Review of the Telecoms Framework to send a clear signal supporting the need for consistent and effective regulation to address dominance in the telecoms sector and to fully empower national regulators.
Innocenzo Genna, Chairman of ECTA said: "Now more than ever, politicians need to help consumers and businesses through the economic crisis by stimulating investment and innovation by all players, lowering costs and boosting business productivity. The results of the Regulatory Scorecard have repeatedly shown that relaxing rules on dominant telecoms firms is not the way to deliver any of these objectives."
ALTO, the association for Alternative Operators in the Communications Market, was established in 1998 to represent the interests of new operators entering Ireland’s telecoms market.
ALTO represents its members with regulatory authorities and policy makers such as the government, the EU, ComReg and the Competition Authority to ensure a competitive and fair business environment in which members can operate successfully. Members also benefit from effective intelligence gathering on current and future legislative and regulatory developments.
Members include: BT Ireland, Budget Telecom, Cable & Wireless, Chorus, Colt Telecom, Complete Networks, Digitweb, ESB Telecoms, Magnet Networks, NTL, Smart Telecom, TalkTalk, Verizon and 3 Play Plus.
For more information visit www.alto.ie
About the 2008 ECTA Regulatory Scorecard
The Scorecard is a comparative quantitative analysis of 18 EU Member States, and Norway and Turkey, resulting in an overall score for the effectiveness of the regulatory environment in each country.
A questionnaire was compiled following consultation with NRAs and ECTA members, and taking account of the requirements and recommendations contained in the EU Communications Framework, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) reference paper on telecommunications and European Commission and European Regulators Group (ERG) Guidelines. It covers (a) the institutional framework; (b) general market access conditions; and (c) the specific competitive and regulatory conditions relating to the markets for fixed and mobile telephony, high speed business connections and broadband.
The European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA) looks after the regulatory and commercial interests of new entrant telecoms operators, ISPs and suppliers of products and services to the communications industry.
ECTA works for a fair regulatory environment which allows all electronic communications providers to compete on level terms in order to multiply investment and innovation throughout an effective European internal market. The association represents the telecommunications industry to key government and regulatory bodies and maintains a forum for networking and business development.
ECTA member companies include operators, service providers and suppliers as well as National Associations of such who all contribute towards regulatory policy development and participate in our comprehensive range of networking events, conferences, seminars, briefings and executive meetings.
- a survey of Irish sites;
- online shopping trends;
- broadband statistics;
- information about online advertising format trends;
- statistics about eGovermenet Europe-wide;
- information about cross-channel purchasing;
- online advertising statistics
- Irish use of Social Networks
- Top Irish searches on Google
Download your copy now. Download PDF, 883k
Another company who joined the IIA in August are Results International who tell us that they are the leading global Mergers & Acquisitions firm specialising in the marketing, media and digital space. They are no slackers when it comes to making the most of their IIA membership. They have already invited IIA members to participate in a survey about digital advertising. The aim of their survey is to assess the current attitudes of Irish companies to digital advertising across time and between sectors, and to elicit the attitudes of key executives in Ireland towards the growth of the digital marketing. The survey runs until 10th September so there is still time to contribute. And if you need an incentive to take part all participants will get a free, advance copy of the survery findings. As a self-confessed research junkie I think that is incentive enough! Take the survey now.
For those of you who need more incentive it’s very easy to meet Results International Group for coffee with their “Meet for Coffee” navigation menu item on their site. A nice touch!
Friday the 13th June has been a great day for the IIA. I go home happy (keep your eyes peeled around the Digital Hub for a smiley-faced cyclist) on a day when one new member joins the IIA. I’ll be cartwheeling home today because the Institute of International and European Affairs have become our third new member today and it’s not even lunch time! Every new member means that we can improve our services, benefits and discounts for all members so keep on joining.
I first became aware of the IIEA when Fergal O’Byrne, our CEO, passed on an invitation to their recent event Perspectives on Privacy in the Information Age at which Peter Fleisher, Google’s Privacy Counsel and Billy Hawkes, Data Privacy Commissioner spoke. I blogged about it at the time.
The IIEA is in their own words “is a policy research think-tank and forum based in Dublin. It provides members with early warning of EU policy developments and in-depth analysis of their implications for Ireland and Europe and flag key policy issues that shape the business environment.” One of their current research projects which would interest some IIA members is their Digital Future Project. They are seeking contributions in relation to a number of strategic questions for Ireland’s Digital Future.
*Paraskavedekatriaphobic? I had to say that on radio once. Multitalented me.
Net Behaviour were on their best behaviour last week when they joined the IIA. They attended the recent IIA Congress and I subsequently made contact with them as I did with many of the non-member delegates. To quote their own website:
Net Behaviour are online experts fusing established planning methods, bespoke research and extensive experience to create key insights into the digital consumer which enables us to provide clients with great digital marketing campaigns.
When I read this I immediately thought of all our members who contact me looking for facts and figures about the nebulous net and who attend our events aimed at increasing sector skills in the area of developing, managing, and measuring online campaigns and I knew Net Behaviour would be a good fit.
Normally I include a new member company’s logo but I hope you will forgive me for using a different element of their site which caught my magpie eye. Instead of profile pictures they each have a personalised robot image. The image above is Managing Director Justin Cullen’s profile image. We will all be assimilated 🙂
As the Irish internet tipping point of one million Irish broadband users hoves into sight, Amas in conjunction with us here in the IIA, release State of the Net Issue 9. This is available to all via our Resources section of the IIA site. We will also be distributing print editions to delegates at Congress 2008.
This quarter’s edition of State of the Net covers:
- Key statistics from the first Joint National Internet Research presented by Tim Griffiths, JNIR Chair
- A distillation of the latest key figures from the CSO in relation to internet use, examining usage by age and region in particular
- A review of Comreg’s latest business information and communications technology survey results
- Figures about broadband uptake and coverage
- Business use of eGovernment for full electronic case handling
- The rise and rise of mobile
- What are Irish internet users searching for?
- The majority of online shoppers have no complaints
AMAS, who are members of the IIA, are a consultancy specialising in online channels and they help businesses and government bodies to plan, manage, evaluate and market their online channels.
I mentioned that I am in total research mode while finishing up my M.Sc. in Social Research Skills. So here goes my first attempt at picking your brains! Please tell us how does your business use social networking and new media technologies?
In advance of the IIA Congress 2008 “Beyond Websites: Business uses of Social Networking and New Media” (which I may have mentioned here once or twice 😀 ) we and our newest member, Ciall.com, would like to get some idea of how you use these technologies in your company or organisation.
We have developed a survey which will take no more than 3 minutes to complete. This survey asks 10 key questions about your experience and use of these technologies.
Take part in the survey and be in with a chance to win a 16GB Apple IPod Touch with thanks to the IIA’s newest member, Ciall.com. Ciall.com provide professional expertise to their clients in information systems, business process and strategic planning.
Take the survey now!
The information gathered in this survey will be anonymised. The resulting anonymised data will be shared with Ciall.com and key findings will be reported on the IIA website and in the press. If you have any queries please contact Roseanne Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org
I think the only positive thing one can say about the weather today is that it spawned some onomatopoeic gold. With the best will in the world, the weather in Dublin today is the kind of weather that makes you want to scurry back to bed. As I cycled down the hill from Crumlin to the Digital Hub I thought to myself, “Technology is great and all but it can do nothing about this!” But, of course, that’s exactly where technology and specifically the internet does come into it’s own. I could be writing this from my bed for all you know: all hail the Internet for giving us back our lives. (FYI CEO I’m in the office!)
Of course, the right livelihood is needed to make the best use of this flexibility. One of our newest members, Flexitimers.com, is hoping to help people achieve this flexibility by attracting employers who need flexible professionals and professionals who want flexible employers. Having recently researched the issue of employee motivation it is well documented that trust and autonomy are two of the greatest motivators. We all know that feeling: nothing makes you cease up faster than the feeling that somebody is looking over your shoulder.
Flexitimers.com is one of our many new members this month. If you would like to know who all the others are sign up for our free monthly digest today and get connected.
When I was introducing myself yesterday I failed to mention that I am currently completing a M.Sc in Social Research Skills in the University of Ulster. This course takes place entirely online and that has been a learning experience in itself for all involved.
So you can imagine with the end of my very last module in sight I am in TSR Mode (Total Social Research Mode and no, this doesn’t mean I spend a lot of time in the pub asking people questions. Chance would be a fine thing…) where everything is questioned and nothing is assumed.
While I have no current plans to undertake research about the IIA it is certainly something that could be of interest to all of us and many others besides. In the meantime I have a question for you all and contrary to what is normally considered constructive behaviour I expect you to answer with a question.
If you could ask all the members of the Irish Internet Association one question, what would that question be?
This is also a cunning way for me to get an idea of the issues most on your minds. I think I would ask questions about whether the members use social networking tools like blogs and RSS and how they use them. However I am, of course, totally obsessed with business applications of Social Networking at the moment as it is the focus of this year’s IIA Congress. (Plug plug!)
Sure while I’m at it I might as well keep plugging away! I mentioned in yesterday’s post that our early bird offer of EUR195.00 has been extended until April 25th and that this offer is available exclusively to members. However did you know that you can apply online for membership in four easy steps? Membership is instant so if you do this today you will be able to avail of the early bird offer straight away.