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Buyer's Guide to Web Projects

Independent advice in planning and buying web projects.

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Concept design

End of life of old Magento versions is here soon!

We made a review of eCommerce platforms used by companies selling their products and services for Finnish people. Magento was the most popular. We decided to take a deeper look at the Magento versions in our data. It appeared that about 67 percent of Open Source and about 47 percent of Commerce based Magento web shops are losing the official support next year. If you are a shopkeeper with a soon to be outdated Magento version, you are not alone. But that is not a reason to be comfortable. End of support is a serious thing. How serious? This article tells everything a web shop shopkeeper needs to know about it. Continue reading “End of life of old Magento versions is here soon!”

CASE: Tax.fi user-friendliness fine-tuned through testing

10.10.2017

The content management system for the Finnish Tax Administration web service, Vero.fi, has been renewed. User experience, search functions, and maintainability were significantly improved in the process. Continue reading “CASE: Tax.fi user-friendliness fine-tuned through testing”

Good news: web sites ARE getting better

Sep 19, 2016

The last big thing in web design has been responsive (or, adaptive) design. This demand for scalable, fluid and flexible layouts has captured web designers’ attention so intensively that they no longer have a need to prove their creativity with excessive gizmos, gadgets, games and animations. This has turned into an astonishing win-win situation for customers and end users!

Of course, responsive web sites are more accessible and they offer better support for versatile end devices. But as a consequence, focus on responsive design also has side effects that have led to improvements in the overall quality of web contents, user experience and usability. Continue reading “Good news: web sites ARE getting better”

Different conceptual approaches to self-service channels

Aug 23, 2016

Many organizations are now paying attention to the development of their customer-facing self-service channels, with some of them already developing the second or third generation. Many customers are already accustomed to good self-service channels; online banks are good examples of services with a long lifespan. Continue reading “Different conceptual approaches to self-service channels”

National flag is not a language symbol

17.5.2016

The language menu of a web service CANNOT be represented as a row of flags. I am returning to this age-old issue because I am passionate about it. Finland is a bilingual country, and there is no way that the mother tongue of grandma Siv, born and raised in our Swedish-speaking coastal area and never planted a foot outside her homeland, should ever be represented by the flag of our neighboring monarchy, Sweden. If you cannot catch my drift, you might have an idea on how Owen from Down Under feels about the language selection “Great Britain”.

Continue reading “National flag is not a language symbol”

When do mobile apps make sense?

Feb 29, 2016

In recent times, many Finnish corporations have entered the world of mobile apps. For example, the retail chain Kesko published its K-ruoka (K Food) mobile app that makes it easy to create and share shopping lists within a household. The department store Stockmann published its loyal customer app in fall. The national airline Finnair has actively developed its loyal customer apps during the year. In summer, even The Finnish Taxi Owners’ Federation published its Valopilkku app that makes it easier to order a cab. All of these are genuine mobile apps published at least for iPhones and Android phones. Continue reading “When do mobile apps make sense?”

CASE: Lumo Kotinyt.fi service was tailor made

8.12.2015

When VVO corporation started to plan a unique self-service platform for renting directly privately financed apartments, it was clear from the beginning that out-of-the-box software solutions could not be used. Continue reading “CASE: Lumo Kotinyt.fi service was tailor made”

Digital Customer Experience Marketing Cloud Platform

Sep 16, 2015

– “Excuse me? What does your blog title mean?”

– “I have no idea.”

But by combining two or three words from the title you get many of the latest product or service brand names of big IT vendors. These brand names are astonishingly identical.
Continue reading “Digital Customer Experience Marketing Cloud Platform”

Multilanguage management: US style vs. European style

Jun 6, 2015

Managing content in multiple languages is usually very difficult, and the more languages you have, the more difficult it usually gets. That said, there are two clearly different ‘schools of thought’ in managing multiple languages. From my experience, there are the ‘US style’ and the ‘European style’. The difference is not always very clear, and many big corporations actually apply both styles – sometimes at the same time.

Typically, most clients tend to fall in either of these categories. As consultants this is something we at times have to be hard to the client. Clients have to choose which style is closer to their requirements – at least on a regional level.

So what are we talking about?
Continue reading “Multilanguage management: US style vs. European style”

To personalize or not to personalize?

May 18, 2015

The whole world is talking about how the power in digital channels has switched over from organizations to consumers. It’s The Age of the Customer as they call it. Humble and patient “Hopefully they’ll provide me what I need if I only search long enough” attitude has been turned upside-down. Now consumers are demanding “Give me everything I want! Right now!” and “only for me and exactly to my specific need”. People want better digital experiences and more relevancy. Suddenly everybody’s time is money.
Continue reading “To personalize or not to personalize?”

Two models for buying a web project

Nov 24, 2014

What is the focus in your web (renewal) project? Are you looking for something completely different and brand new? Or are you hoping to find a stable and modern CMS on which you could build the features of your web site in a cost-efficient manner?
Continue reading “Two models for buying a web project”

Facing an extranet challenge? Identity and access management as a solution

Jun 16, 2014

Today we see a lot of extranets that have originally been built for some quite simple and specific need, such as making detailed product information available to partners and resellers. Later, other services that have often been built with different technologies, have been attached to it one by one. Continue reading “Facing an extranet challenge? Identity and access management as a solution”

Renewing an existing digital service – From chaos to an organized roadmap

Apr 27, 2014

Renewing an existing digital service is seldom an easy task. No matter whether it is an intranet, extranet or public web site that needs renovation or what the reasoning behind it is, the puzzle often has so many moving elements that it is hard to decide what really should be done, what the correct steps are and who should do them. Should you build everything from scratch or consider only a partial renewal? And where to start the renovation? Continue reading “Renewing an existing digital service – From chaos to an organized roadmap”

How to buy concept design—10 tips for cost-effectiveness

Feb 3, 2014

Given that design quality correlates highly with results, companies pay surprisingly little attention to selecting great designers and buying service design projects.

Buying a concept design project is not a simple task. Agencies have vastly varying approaches and experience backgrounds, which makes it hard to evaluate whether a certain agency is fit for your job or not. But there are ways to make the selection process smoother and more successful.

This article gives you 10 tips that help you be a better buyer. Follow the advice and I can guarantee that your next concept design project will bring you more results—most likely at a lower cost.
Continue reading “How to buy concept design—10 tips for cost-effectiveness”

Project story: Responsive web design propels former front runner back to the lead

Oct 2, 2013

Tampere University of Technology (TUT) registered one of Finland’s first two web domains in 1986 and was among the first universities to introduce intranets for both students and staff and launch an electronic magazine. TUT’s redesigned website caters to the web browsing tastes of various user groups across a wide range of browsing devices:
Continue reading “Project story: Responsive web design propels former front runner back to the lead”

Concept design done right

October 1, 2013

Ida Aalen gave an excellent presentation about concept design process at the CS Forum 2013 few weeks ago that should really be mandatory reading for every concept designer and content strategist.

Since everyone couldn’t be at the CS forum, we’ve attached the slides of the presentation and some key highlights from the case study for you to see for yourself. Of course there are thousands of somewhat similar presentations around the internet, but this presentation works nicely as a stand-alone learning material with great visuals and real-life images from the workshops. Continue reading “Concept design done right”

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