Blog en How media is influencing content <span>How media is influencing content</span> <span><span>Mark Macalesher</span></span> <span>Mon, 03/02/2020 - 11:25</span> <div><p>Content has a new lease of life. By definition it is the information and experiences directed towards an audience and delivered by various forms of media.</p> <p>It is both long and short-form, could be a 1,000 page book, a 2 second gif and pretty much everything else in between.&nbsp;</p> <p>Content is changing. We now produce more content than at any time previously and this is because there are more media platforms available to consume content and more people to reach.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="9aca049f-1aac-4492-a357-b189dfc4d254" style="text-align: center;"><span><img alt="&quot;image of polaroid camera depicting traditional media&quot;" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="401" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/taylor-grote-4_znxV4C46U-unsplash_0.jpg" width="602" /><span title="Click and drag to resize">​</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>Traditional v’s New</h2> <p>Content needs media to share and distribute. The emergence of <a href="">new</a> media has seen the evolution of different types of content and a fast growing audience for consumption.&nbsp;</p> <p>Short-form content is “snackable”, usually fewer than 200 words, is mobile friendly and consistent. From a marketing perspective it can build your brand quickly, however it also has high turnover.&nbsp;</p> <p>Long-form content is considered more authoritative and trustworthy. Readers who invest their time consuming this are generally highly invested in your brand or media. When published on digital platforms it also improves search engine rankings and brand credibility.</p> <p><a href="">Traditional</a> media are mass institutions that dominated the landscape before the digital age. Both do the same job but in very different ways.</p> <h2>Time Poor</h2> <p>Social media has made content easily accessible and shareable. It can scale up quickly increasing its marketability and authority. It also means that despite the personalisation of digital content, it can be accepted by the masses.</p> <p>As the media landscape continues to evolve so does the effect on society. Traditional media is considered time consuming compared to digital. We can access pretty much anything in a matter of seconds which is a contributing factor in creating <a href="">time poor societies</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>But that doesn’t mean traditional media is finished. Far from it.</p> <h2>Old School</h2> <p>Newspaper and magazine circulations have dropped over the past 20 years. The once profitable industry has endured upheaval due to changing technologies. This has seen a huge disparity between the cost of producing news in print and online.<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height:1.38; text-align:center"><span style="font-size:11pt; font-variant:normal; white-space:pre-wrap"><span style="font-family:Arial"><span style="color:#000000"><span style="font-weight:400"><span style="font-style:normal"><span style="text-decoration:none"><span style="border:none"><span style="display:inline-block"><span style="overflow:hidden"><span style="width:420px"><span style="height:451px"><img alt="&quot;image of a stack of newspapers depicting traditional media&quot;" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="03008375-bfdb-4d5a-b66a-a6c149d1be91" height="451" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screenshot%202020-03-02%20at%2011.19.32_1.png" width="420" /></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p>However there are some success stories. Particularly where traditional media has learned from new media.</p> <p>In the UK, Metro is now Britain’s <a href="">most read daily newspaper</a>. There are two main reasons for this.</p> <p>Firstly, it is free. With content readily available online at no cost, reader habits are changing. Secondly, the news content shares characteristics with digital content. It is bite sized, aggregated and designed to be read in 20 minutes - a relatively short time for a newspaper.&nbsp;</p> <p>It also just happens to be the average commute time for it’s prime London audience. Urbanites.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="af7d3f0d-5236-4887-a692-af8171d9a9f0" style="text-align: center;"><span><img alt="&quot;image of text describing the definition of the word urbanite&quot;" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="180" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screenshot%202020-03-02%20at%2011.11.43_1.png" width="483" /><span title="Click and drag to resize">​</span></span></p> <h2>Trends</h2> <p>The Internet is having a huge impact on media and content. Digital penetration is increasing and there were <a href="">1 million people</a> coming online for the first time every day last year.&nbsp;</p> <p>Digital is more interactive. Better analytical tools mean that more information can be sought from users, creating the personalisation of content. It is also more immediate.&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height:1.38; text-align:center"><span style="font-size:11pt; font-variant:normal; white-space:pre-wrap"><span style="font-family:Arial"><span style="color:#000000"><span style="font-weight:400"><span style="font-style:normal"><span style="text-decoration:none"><span style="border:none"><span style="display:inline-block"><span style="overflow:hidden"><span style="width:499px"><span style="height:248px"><img alt="&quot;infographic to describe new media trends and penetration and global reach of the internet&quot;" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="dba16359-cd45-4e6f-9e50-d847b836841a" height="248" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screenshot%202020-03-02%20at%2011.09.29_1.png" width="499" /></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p>Social media allows people to remain connected and share content more readily. There are <a href="">3,000 tweets sent every second</a>, that’s 500 million every single day!&nbsp;</p> <h2>Innovation</h2> <p>Technology has also allowed for some great content innovation. One of the most innovative examples is that of <a href="">A S Roma</a> football club in Italy.</p> <p>Every club announces new signings and they are generally run of the mill affairs. A few keepie-uppies from the player and kissing the club crest tend to be as creative as they get.</p> <p>Roma wanted to use audience engagement of their new signing content to make a social difference. With every new player that was announced, they also highlighted the <a href="">plight of missing children</a> across the globe.&nbsp;</p> <p>The aim was to find these children and reunite families. To date <a href="">6 missing children have been found</a> safely. A truly remarkable achievement.&nbsp;</p> <p>Also, would the <a href="">#MeToo</a> movement have gained so much momentum without the ability to share content so quickly?&nbsp;</p> <p>The phrase was tweeted by Alysso Milano at lunchtime on October 15th, 2017. Within 24 hours it had been tweeted 500,000 times. On Facebook the hashtag was used in 12 million posts during the first 24 hours.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height:1.38; text-align:center"><span style="font-size:11pt; font-variant:normal; white-space:pre-wrap"><span style="font-family:Arial"><span style="color:#000000"><span style="background-color:#ffffff"><span style="font-weight:400"><span style="font-style:normal"><span style="text-decoration:none"><span style="border:none"><span style="display:inline-block"><span style="overflow:hidden"><span style="width:587px"><span style="height:349px"><img alt="&quot;image of tweet sent by alyssa milano on social media to highlight me too campaign&quot;" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="0e04407c-f57d-4807-923f-bf8cf8a405b2" height="349" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screenshot%202020-03-02%20at%2011.04.38_1.png" width="587" /></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p>The recent <a href="">Harvey Weinstein verdict</a> has been credited as a <a href="">huge win</a> for the #MeToo movement.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Marketing</h2> <p>Content marketing has also innovated during the past decade. This isn’t a new concept though and&nbsp; its roots are embedded in traditional content and media.&nbsp;</p> <p>One of the most successful examples was devised by two brothers who sold tyres in the early 1900’s.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="08adb989-07d1-457a-9c21-de931dc513fa" style="text-align: center;"><span><img alt="&quot;image of michelin man logo on motor vehicle to highlight example of traditional media format&quot;" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="401" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screenshot%202020-03-02%20at%2010.59.18_1.png" width="602" /><span title="Click and drag to resize">​</span></span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Andre and Edourd Michelin were looking for innovative ways to make drivers use their vehicles more, make longer journey’s and by extension buy more of their tyres.&nbsp;</p> <p>To encourage people to use their cars for longer periods they created the Michelin guides. They included information useful to motorists such as where they could find the best meals whilst touring in their cars.</p> <p>As the business grew, so did the guide. A charge was introduced and a team of inspectors were created to rate restaurants on a 3 star basis.&nbsp;</p> <p>That rating still exists today and is coveted, by chefs and restaurants across the globe. If you don’t have a star, you want one. If you have one, you want two. Three stars and the restaurant is likely to be booked out in advance for months on end.</p> <h2>The Future</h2> <p>It will be fascinating to see what the future holds. Media platforms will continue to evolve and this will have an impact on what is published on them. We will probably see more <a href="">automated content</a>.</p> <p><a href="">Fake news</a> is already a serious issue, particularly online and its impact on the last US presidential election was well documented. This isn’t <a href="">new and exclusive</a> to digital media though.</p> <p>What is for certain though, is that technology is having a <a href="">bigger impact on society</a> than anything else. Everything that we learn comes directly or indirectly via media. This includes how we live our lives and shape our values.&nbsp;</p> <p>As we embrace these changes we would do well to remember that what is new today will be old tomorrow. But that doesn’t mean that we still can't learn from yesterday.</p> </div> <div> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-03/taylor-grote-4_znxV4C46U-unsplash_1.jpg" width="5760" height="3840" alt="Image of Polaroid camera" /> </div> <div> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-03/taylor-grote-4_znxV4C46U-unsplash_2.jpg" width="5760" height="3840" alt="Image of Polaroid camera" /> </div> <div> <div><a href="/blog/tags/marketing" hreflang="en">Marketing</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_26 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="" data-a2a-title="How media is influencing content"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_linkedin"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share" href=";title=How%20media%20is%20influencing%20content"></a></span><section id="node-blog-post-field-comments" class="col-md-12 comments-container"> <div class="comments-reply-container"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=177&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=blog_comments" token="FEfIm81USb8DmEefOZffH3IwD6DprgrQ18AKlw-hCC8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> </section> Mon, 02 Mar 2020 11:25:59 +0000 mark.macalesher 177 at The Impact of Technology on Advertising <span>The Impact of Technology on Advertising</span> <span><span>Mark Macalesher</span></span> <span>Mon, 02/24/2020 - 10:14</span> <div><p>Advertising can be traced back to Roman times where commercial messages were found on the walls of the <a href="">ruins of Pompeii</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>Fast forward to 2020 and Google, one of the most valuable companies in the world makes three quarters of its revenue from advertising, nearly <a href="">$134 billion last year</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="b65024c7-e829-47dd-ad70-e03e10d16f22" style="text-align: center;"><span><img alt="&quot;neon change sign depicting changes in advertising&quot;" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="b65024c7-e829-47dd-ad70-e03e10d16f22" height="339" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/ross-findon-mG28olYFgHI-unsplash.jpg" width="602" /><span title="Click and drag to resize">​</span></span></p> <p>It’s fair to say that advertising has changed a fair bit since ancient Rome with most of that change has come during the last couple of decades.&nbsp;</p> <p>What hasn’t changed so much though, are the fundamental principles of advertising. To inform and to convince. In reality these haven’t actually changed at all since ancient Rome.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Size of the advertising prize?</h2> <p>Last year the global advertising industry was worth <a href="">£563 billion</a>. Compare these numbers to the previous 3 decades and you can see a seismic increase in money spent on advertising.</p> <p>In 1990, the industry was “only” worth £125 billion, this year it is predicted to top £600 billion. There is no question that technology has shaped these boom years.</p> <p>The digital age has seen the <a href="">evolution of AdTech</a> and the creation of new media platforms. Brands have more places to advertise compared to 20 years ago and this will increase in the future. It is fascinating to consider the effect that AI, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality will have on the industry <a href="">over the next decade</a>.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Traditional v’s New Media</h2> <p>Pre the 90’s, TV, print and OOH were the biggest platforms for advertisers. In 1836 Paris newspaper <a href="">La Presse</a> was the first to rely on paid advertising to lower its price.</p> <p>The Sun newspaper was regularly bought by nearly 5m people in the UK every day in the 1990’s and read by considerably more. These figures allowed advertisers a great opportunity to connect with a large daily audience.</p> <p>I remember joining the Evening Standard advertising team in 1999 and being astounded at how much money was made from print advertising. Over £100m per year on the back of a circulation of around 800,000 per day.&nbsp;</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="7b891727-39f0-4828-a1cd-a41d81bbebc6" style="text-align: center;"><span><img alt="&quot;television set depicting how advertising platforms have changed&quot;" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="7b891727-39f0-4828-a1cd-a41d81bbebc6" height="403" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/aleks-dorohovich-wNBC_kuhFMQ-unsplash.jpg" width="602" /><span title="Click and drag to resize">​</span></span></p> <p>Around the same time, if you wanted to launch a new product, a prime time tv ad slot on Coronation Street was as good as it got. That gave you the opportunity to reach up to 20m viewers during the shows heyday. This was assuming they didn’t nip out to <a href="">put the kettle on during the ad break</a>.</p> <p>In 2020 there are now so many more platforms available for advertisers to share their messages. These include online mobile &amp; desktop, social media, native, PPC, video channels, on-demand tv, digital billboards etc. The list is endless and will keep on increasing.&nbsp;</p> <p>Now it is possible to reach the combined audiences that The Sun and Coronation Street could offer at a fraction of the cost. They can be reached online regularly and you don’t have to think about buying a specific media. In fact you are now buying a specific audience and you can do this across many different platforms.</p> <h2>Technology Platforms</h2> <p>As technology has developed so have opportunities for advertisers to communicate with audiences.&nbsp;</p> <p>There are more outlets for consumers to absorb content. Websites, social media, video platforms, on demand television and <a href="">audio</a> have all seen steep growth curves during the past decade.</p> <p>Daily media consumption has also changed during this period as different platforms have been created. The average time people spend engaging with media is also fast changing in line with the media landscape.&nbsp;</p> <p>For example print titles with declining readership have seen their daily consumption drop by an average of 34%. And traditional television viewers have dropped by 10%. While <a href="">OOH</a> (Out of Home Advertising) and cinema have remained at similar levels.&nbsp;</p> <p>By far the biggest rise has been online - 140% in the past decade. The average person now spends nearly <a href="">2 ½ hours per day on social media</a> and up to <a href="">one day per week online</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="311009af-dde4-4157-a619-a975c0049600" style="text-align: center;"><span><img alt="&quot;smartphone and social media sign depicting different advertising platforms&quot;" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="311009af-dde4-4157-a619-a975c0049600" height="382" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/william-iven-DfMMzzi3rmg-unsplash.jpg" width="573" /><span title="Click and drag to resize">​</span></span></p> <p>This has been aided by smart phone technology and over half the world’s population <a href="">now own a smartphone.</a> It is well documented how the rise of mobile devices has <a href="">changed digital marketing </a>&nbsp;and this has certainly been a major development within the advertising industry.</p> <h2>Audience Impact</h2> <p>It is not just the increased number of platforms available but also the clarity of audience data that has aided growth in the industry. There is more in depth knowledge of who is consuming content. <a href="">1st Party, 2nd Party &amp; 3rd Party data</a> can be used to personalise your marketing messages.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="c01aafac-4e57-4978-b6af-c759802c61c8" style="text-align: center;"><span><img alt="&quot;image of audience depicting an advertising audience&quot;" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="c01aafac-4e57-4978-b6af-c759802c61c8" height="389" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/davide-ragusa-gcDwzUGuUoI-unsplash.jpg" width="577" /><span title="Click and drag to resize">​</span></span></p> <p>The personalisation of advertising has been a big breakthrough over the past decade. Never before has there been such a strong focus on our consumer behaviours, lifestyles and preferences. Algorithms work anonymously in the background drawing information on how we like to spend our time, with the intent of making our user experience smoother.&nbsp;</p> <p>Globally the number of internet users <a href="">increased</a> from 413 million in 2000 to over 3.4 billion in 2016 and continues to rise. In order to successfully connect with these audiences it is important to have as much understanding as possible so that advertisers can apply <a href="">context</a> to their campaigns.</p> <p>Audiences are happy to consume advertising but increasingly want this to be personalised.&nbsp;</p> <p>The brands that understand personalisation of their target audience will be the ones that succeed. Digital disruption is empowering consumers to get what they want, when they want it. And that means that they don’t want to be interrupted by an ad that isn’t relevant.</p> <h2>Principles</h2> <p>The digital age has certainly propelled the advertising industry, increasing the size of the audience brands can reach and created more opportunities to connect with these consumers.&nbsp;</p> <p>Advertising campaigns need to resonate with their audiences across different media. With more people to reach and more ways to reach these people, it is essential that advertising sticks to its main principles if it is to achieve its objective. Failure to do this could have <a href="">disastrous consequences.&nbsp;</a></p> <p>So despite all of this change there is something quite reassuring in knowing that the principles of marketing and advertising remain fairly constant. To inform and to convince.</p> </div> <div> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-02/ross-findon-mG28olYFgHI-unsplash.jpg" width="5312" height="2988" alt="image of neon change sign depicting changes in advertising" /> </div> <div> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-02/ross-findon-mG28olYFgHI-unsplash_0.jpg" width="5312" height="2988" alt="image of neon change sign depicting changes in advertising" /> </div> <div> <div><a href="/blog/tags/marketing" hreflang="en">Marketing</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_26 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="" data-a2a-title="The Impact of Technology on Advertising"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_linkedin"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share" href=";title=The%20Impact%20of%20Technology%20on%20Advertising"></a></span><section id="node-blog-post-field-comments" class="col-md-12 comments-container"> <div class="comments-reply-container"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=176&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=blog_comments" token="TbQlKo5cB_SUNox0NWG6aQ6z1J04E31gKhhWQewjSb0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> </section> Mon, 24 Feb 2020 10:14:03 +0000 mark.macalesher 176 at Should Advertising be Ethical? <span>Should Advertising be Ethical?</span> <span><span>Mark Macalesher</span></span> <span>Mon, 02/17/2020 - 10:32</span> <div><p>There was recent furore surrounding news that local councils benefits pages <a href="">had been targeted</a> by advertising from high interest credit card companies, specifically targeting those most likely to look at a short-term fix for financial problems.&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-size:11pt; font-variant:normal; white-space:pre-wrap"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="color:#000000"><span style="font-weight:400"><span style="font-style:normal"><span style="text-decoration:underline"><span style="-webkit-text-decoration-skip:none"><span style="text-decoration-skip-ink:none"><span style="border:none"><span style="display:inline-block"><span style="overflow:hidden"><span style="width:602px"><span style="height:147px"><img alt="&quot;ethical behaviour sign&quot;" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="b7a15938-b9c6-48b4-82b8-9c915f26bdd9" height="147" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screenshot%202020-02-17%20at%2010.14.27.png" width="602" /></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p>The immediate reaction concerned a perceived lack of ethics shown by the councils, seemingly allowing large financial corporations to target their most vulnerable customers in order to make a financial gain for themselves.</p> <p>The way that these credit card companies were able to specifically hit their desired target market was through programmatic advertising and more specifically retargeting.</p> <h2>Automation</h2> <p>Programmatic advertising is the automated buying and selling of online adverts and the use of third party advertising cookies to track user browser habits. This allows companies to target specific demographics based on their browser history by using tracking cookies.</p> <p>And this is exactly how the credit card companies were able to target council customers who visited benefits pages.&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height:1.38"><span style="font-size:18pt; font-variant:normal; white-space:pre-wrap"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="color:#000000"><span style="font-weight:400"><span style="font-style:normal"><span style="text-decoration:none"><span style="border:none"><span style="display:inline-block"><span style="overflow:hidden"><span style="width:361px"><span style="height:242px"><img alt="&quot;image of robot for automation&quot;" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="ef92fa91-3653-4a88-82ea-a87c41af6ea0" height="253" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/alex-knight-2EJCSULRwC8-unsplash.jpg" width="377" /></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p>The credit card companies were very clever using targeting techniques within the automation process. This allowed them to apply <a href="">context</a> to their campaign giving it a greater opportunity to achieve its goals.&nbsp;</p> <h2>There’s money to be made</h2> <p>It is estimated that <a href="">£14,237m will be spent</a> on digital advertising this year in the UK. This is an increase of 8% year on year and the total number is expected to grow to a whopping £16,045m by 2023.</p> <p style="line-height:1.38"><span style="font-size:11pt; font-variant:normal; white-space:pre-wrap"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="color:#000000"><span style="font-weight:400"><span style="font-style:normal"><span style="text-decoration:none"><span style="border:none"><span style="display:inline-block"><span style="overflow:hidden"><span style="width:335px"><span style="height:221px"><img alt="&quot;digital advertising revenue image&quot;" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="f1ebbbc7-12e9-4a4b-80ca-1df35bac3caa" height="160" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screenshot%202020-02-17%20at%2011.39.08.png" width="242" /></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p>With numbers like these and local councils already overstretched, surely they should be applauded for looking at alternative revenue generating ideas. Especially ones that require little extra resource.</p> <p>This makes sound business sense for so many industries <a href="">and there are many examples where companies have nailed their programmatic campaigns</a>, particularly within the private sector. We live in an era where so much data is available which allows for marketers to study and analyse how best to communicate with potential customers.&nbsp;</p> <p><img alt="&quot;programmatic advertising quote&quot;" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="b248241c-df43-4b56-80bf-86430450de4c" height="94" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screenshot%202020-02-17%20at%2011.38.52.png" width="287" /></p> <p>&nbsp; &nbsp; Audi Q2 launch Campaign</p> <h2>Ethics&nbsp;</h2> <p>However, what is not so good are examples like credit card companies tracking vulnerable people on a council benefits page. If that advertising space was bought by charities helping the financially vulnerable, such as <a href="">Turn2us</a> or <a href="">Money Advice Service</a>, the headlines would have been very different.</p> <p>In reality these types of charities do not have advertising budgets to compete with large financial organisations and will invariably lose out in <a href="">real time bidding</a>.&nbsp;</p> <p>I doubt the councils had knowledge beforehand&nbsp;who was buying their inventory. Therefore, it is a fair assumption to say there was a degree of naivety from the councils who are not used to selling ad slots on their websites.&nbsp;</p> <p>The benefit of this extra financial gain could take some of the burden off their customers by reducing council tax bills. Advertising revenue could feed back into the community with improved services. I am sure this is something we could all get on board with, especially as&nbsp; <a href="">council tax bills are increasing by an average of 4.5%</a> across the UK.</p> <h2>The wider issue</h2> <p>One of the problems with this specific example is that <a href="">poverty is also increasing in the UK</a> and this is linked to (amongst other things) <a href="">problems with the benefits system</a>. When you look at these types of issues you can see exactly why credit card companies are targeting benefits pages.&nbsp;</p> <p>A couple of years ago the cost of poverty was put at <a href="">£78 billion per year</a>, putting enormous strains on services that are already struggling to cope with increased costs elsewhere and a rising population.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>Surely the costs to local councils of increasing poverty levels have to be assessed before taking the credit cards advertising budget. Are they really making more money from advertising than the increased costs to them of rising poverty?&nbsp;</p> <p>I would suggest that this is highly unlikely as a large proportion of digital advertising is bought <a href="">cost per thousand</a>. For councils to benefit they would need tens of millions of visitors per month - which they do not get.</p> <p>Even for <a href="">some of the countries biggest councils by population </a>such as Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield, traffic levels are small when compared to other <a href="">websites which turn large traffic into significant ad revenue</a>.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Opportunity?</h2> <p>However, there is still a huge opportunity for councils to use their customers as an ethical revenue source. Combining traffic with other councils and packaging advertising deals would appeal to advertisers.&nbsp; The combined traffic will offer a greater opportunity for councils to increase revenues.&nbsp;</p> <p style="line-height:1.38"><span style="font-size:11pt; font-variant:normal; white-space:pre-wrap"><span style="font-family:Calibri,sans-serif"><span style="color:#000000"><span style="font-weight:400"><span style="font-style:normal"><span style="text-decoration:none"><span style="border:none"><span style="display:inline-block"><span style="overflow:hidden"><span style="width:295px"><span style="height:198px"><img alt="&quot;image depicting online purchase&quot;" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="d55c7d53-e75c-4fe7-a822-9192f503e672" height="272" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/working-macbook-computer-keyboard-34577.jpg" width="405" /></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></p> <p>The demographic are generally considered socially responsible and a safe environment for advertisers. Plus they do not have to worry about fake news or unsavoury content.</p> <p>In order to allow “appropriate” advertisers the chance of purchasing inventory, councils can sell their “sensitive” ad slots through <a href="">private marketplace</a> (PMP) where only selected advertisers are invited to bid.&nbsp;</p> <p>The extra revenue generated can potentially improve services, cut council tax bills, reduce poverty and not create a media storm around who is buying their inventory.</p> <p>Councils have a hard enough job as it is and we should all get onboard with any initiatives to increase revenues. The power is in the collective and none more so than when looking at public services which all society has a vested interest in and the potential to benefit from.</p> </div> <div> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-02/alex-knight-2EJCSULRwC8-unsplash.jpg" width="4896" height="3264" alt="Robot depicting automation" /> </div> <div> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-02/Ethics%20screenshot_0.png" width="927" height="214" alt="Ethical Behaviour sign" /> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_26 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="" data-a2a-title="Should Advertising be Ethical?"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_linkedin"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share" href=";title=Should%20Advertising%20be%20Ethical%3F"></a></span><section id="node-blog-post-field-comments--3" class="col-md-12 comments-container"> <div class="comments-reply-container"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=175&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=blog_comments" token="Z9QIVKi_wFvXE0k5uZfM_XKuIZ8_Y7WH5BHdH5Ug0UE"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> </section> Mon, 17 Feb 2020 10:32:02 +0000 mark.macalesher 175 at How to meet the new accessibility regulations <span>How to meet the new accessibility regulations</span> <span><span>Anett Imai</span></span> <span>Mon, 02/10/2020 - 10:05</span> <div><p>By 23 September 2020 all public sector websites in the UK, including the public-facing sites, intranets and extranets, will have to meet the <a href="">new accessibility regulations</a>, which means all of these websites will have to be <a href="">WCAG 2.1</a> AA compliant.</p> <p>The government will be monitoring these websites and failing to meet the requirements or provide a satisfactory answer on why this couldn’t be achieved will most likely result in legal actions.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="13523d40-163e-4109-bca7-5f0ff94dabfa" style="text-align: center;"><span><img alt="Designers should always keep their users in mind." data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/designer_0.jpg" /><span title="Click and drag to resize">​</span></span></p> <h2>Why is accessibility important?</h2> <blockquote> <p>‘Accessibility is about making sure your service can be used by as many people as possible.’</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="">13.9 million disabled people</a> are living in the country today. By failing to meet the new accessibility&nbsp; rules, many people will be excluded and won’t be able to use the websites or applications as intended.</p> <p>There are also other benefits if implementing accessibility correctly as it often means the site will be more <a href="">SEO friendly</a> as well, as the requirements often overlap.</p> <h2>Accessibility tools</h2> <p>To be able to address the accessibility issues, it has to be decided first how the website will be checked. There are a few different ways <a href=";utm_campaign=access_regs#decide-how-to-check-your-website-or-app-for-accessibility-problems">proposed by the government</a>.</p> <p>One of the options is to test the pages manually using a <a href="">set of predefined rules</a>; this can, however, be time-consuming if there are a lot of pages to check.</p> <p>There are multiple different accessibility audit tools to use for automated testing, which can make the process easier, especially when there are several or large websites that need to be tested.&nbsp;</p> <p>One of the most popular automated accessibility audit providers is <a href="">SiteImprove</a>, but depending on the requirements and size of the website, their subscription prices can potentially be high.</p> <p>We started to research and look into different tools as well and found <a href="">Pa11y</a>, an open-source accessibility tool, to be a good alternative solution.</p> <h2>Pa11y and how it works</h2> <blockquote> <p>‘Here at Pa11y, we think making the web more accessible improves it for everyone.’</p> </blockquote> <p>Pa11y provides a range of free testing tools. The <a href="">dashboard</a> is a web interface that helps to fix issues by listing the tracked pages and their results, and also provides options to add new items and manually run tests.</p> <p>The dashboard displays every task on the front page and offers a simple filter on the top. While testing the service, we quickly realised this would not be sufficient for large websites or for clients that require testing multiple sites.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="38d4743b-12a4-4f90-8887-5754aee4c10f" style="text-align: center;"><span><img alt="Pa11y Dashboard" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/pa11y_dashboard.jpg" /><span title="Click and drag to resize">​</span></span></p> <p class="text-align-center">source:&nbsp;<a href=""></a></p> <p>We decided to implement a different approach and introduced the concept of ‘sites’. This way, we can easily categorise the tasks into multiple sites. We also extended the functionality of running tests to whole sites. Out of the box, the dashboard only allows running tasks on a single page.&nbsp;</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="0247141e-9ed6-47fb-8a99-815110e47bd9" style="text-align: center;"><span><img alt="Pa11y Dashboard - Sites" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/pa11y_sites_0.png" /><span title="Click and drag to resize">​</span></span></p> <p>Following this improvement, it is now possible to add pages manually or import them automatically using the sitemap or by uploading a CSV file that contains the URLs of the required pages.</p> <p style="line-height:1.295; text-align:center; margin-bottom:11px"><img alt="Pa11y Dashboard - import" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="a9bb84d2-4b8e-4660-80db-ceca1cbab931" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/pa11y_import.png" /></p> <p>Pa11y is a great tool for automated testing, and it helps to find and fix common issues. However, it is not guaranteed that automated tests will find every problem; manual tests should also be used always.</p> <p>If you would like us to run a detailed check on your own websites accessibility please <a href="">get in touch</a> with us here at Zodiac Media.</p> </div> <div> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-02/designer.jpg" width="800" height="565" alt="Designers should always keep their users in mind." /> </div> <div> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-02/designer_0.jpg" width="800" height="565" alt="Designers should always keep their users in mind." /> </div> <div> <div><a href="/blog/tags/accessibility" hreflang="en">Accessibility</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_26 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="" data-a2a-title="How to meet the new accessibility regulations"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_linkedin"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share" href=";title=How%20to%20meet%20the%20new%20accessibility%20regulations"></a></span><section id="node-blog-post-field-comments" class="col-md-12 comments-container"> <div class="comments-reply-container"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=174&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=blog_comments" token="E57oSHaEkwSpLMjovMUqh1s67OAxqG8WeCBBhlPIy1Y"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> </section> Mon, 10 Feb 2020 10:05:02 +0000 anett.imai 174 at Ethics in AI – 5 Responsibilities a Business has to the Consumer <span>Ethics in AI – 5 Responsibilities a Business has to the Consumer</span> <span><span>Dr Simon Davies</span></span> <span>Fri, 01/31/2020 - 15:32</span> <div><p>“Killer Robots” scream the <a href="">headlines</a>. This unfortunate phrase is trotted out whenever the issue of controls or legislation on autonomous unmanned weapons is raised. This somewhat florid term belies a real issue. UAVs have become ubiquitous in warfare and it seems only a matter of time before the ability to fire without human input will be added. A South Korean turret made for the North Korean border was initially designed to be completely AI-controlled until customer demand forced them to change direction.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="6e3aa4d6-923a-4c7f-9fae-dc86feb4d464" style="text-align: center;"><span><img alt="ai controlled turret" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/ai-turret.jpg" /><span title="Click and drag to resize">​</span></span></p> <p>At the moment the chain of responsibility for these weapons’ decisions is unclear, some would say intentionally so. If something went wrong, who would be to blame? The human operator? Their organisation? The software developers? The hardware manufacturers? This admittedly extreme example won’t apply to many businesses but the clarity of what a mistake would mean helps highlight the ethical issues surrounding AI and automation. It is important to recognise what AI is: automation, with the ability for the program to self-correct/self-optimise in order to achieve its goals better. By recognising the limitations of a system, identifying the greatest risks, and not being afraid to challenge the elements involved, you can mitigate the risk for any product you use or sell that contains AI.</p> <ol> <li><strong>Install manual control breaks at the highest-risk points of the decision chain</strong><br /> <br /> Not to belittle our industry, but computer programs that can be shown to be 100% bug-free are considered worthy of <a href="">scientific study</a>. When you add in the ability for a computer to make changes to its own behaviour, or worse, having to parse our notoriously unordered and irregular world via image classification or navigation, the potential for unforeseen results are high. The biggest issue relating to this is the speed with which your software can propagate a mistake. Automated stock traders can execute thousands of deals per minute, and the times they’ve gone wrong <a href="">their effects</a> travelled round the world before they were stopped. Developers should identify the points in the process where the most damage would be done if something went wrong, and then install control breaks, ideally in the form of a person giving a manual sign-off. Users should be made keenly aware of what might happen should they click the wrong thing in the configuration.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Recognise user limitations</strong><br /> <br /> If you’ve ever provided software as a service or even helped a friend fix their computer, you will be aware of how clueless some users can be. This isn’t to put all the blame on the end-user; a program which an engineer believes has a strikingly obvious system of control might not register the same to consumers who haven’t spent the last year knee-deep in its development.<br /> <br /> Make it idiot proof. Mark out clearly the inputs and options. Identify high-risk configuration options and put them behind confirmation messages. Have a full suite of logging services so issues can be traced back to their root cause. Provide documentation that your average user will be able to consume and understand.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Recognise data limitations</strong><br /> <br /> The software may be fool proof, but the same cannot be said about the data. Biases in the initial data the program is learning from will propagate to its outputs. For example, Amazon had to <a href="">scrap its AI recruiting tool</a> after it started penalising CVs for containing the word “women’s”, e.g. “women’s chess club captain”. The data did not contain the applicant’s gender. Instead the successful hires and rejected applicants data it was learning from was biased. In the male-dominated IT industry, men had been recruited at a higher rate than women. Words unique to women’s CVs appeared much less in successful hires compared to general words like “leadership”, ergo the AI concluded that these words must be of low value and started penalising them.<br /> <br /> Identify gaps in the data and apply weightings so that demographics are equally represented.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Don’t assume it’s working right, even when it does</strong><br /> <br /> The fidelity with which an AI can classify massive amounts of data can even discourage looking for errors. Who’s going to argue with a program that can classify thousands of people’s faces with 98% accuracy via impenetrable mathematics? This is compounded by the fact that so-called Black Box AIs can never show their workings. Typically, it involves the software projecting the data across high-dimensional mathematical spaces to extract unique features, but it is very abstract.<br /> <br /> Resist the temptation to outsource your thinking to the program or assume it knows what it’s doing. All it’s really doing is sorting data into statistically significant different groups. Poke holes in the data. Question why the program is using algorithm X instead of algorithm Y. There is no one-size-fits-all algorithm and the one best suited depends on the type of data.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Identify the risks to your consumers before you start processing their data</strong><br /> <br /> Your goals for your AI program may be the most harmless thing in the world, but the results could have unintentional consequences. For example, did your advert recommendation software just out someone’s medical condition based on past internet searches?<br /> <br /> This has been compounded by new GDPR restrictions on data profiling. GDPR requires a Data Protection Impact Assessment before any automated decision making or profiling is carried out. Profiling extends to any form of grouping user records by economic situation, health, personal preferences, location or movements. The necessity and the proportionality of the AI solution should be assessed. You should always bear in mind how seemingly anonymous data might suddenly become not-so under AI scrutiny.</li> </ol> <p>In summary, AIs are a great tool but they are not miracle panaceas that can be deployed unsupervised with minimal input. By recognising their limitations, knowing how they work, and identifying their risks you can greatly mitigate the chances of them misbehaving.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-01/ai-turret.jpg" width="602" height="412" alt="ai controlled turret" /> </div> <div> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-01/ai-banner.jpg" width="1080" height="394" alt="artificial intelligence" /> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_26 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="" data-a2a-title="Ethics in AI – 5 Responsibilities a Business has to the Consumer"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_linkedin"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share" href=";title=Ethics%20in%20AI%20%E2%80%93%205%20Responsibilities%20a%20Business%20has%20to%20the%20Consumer"></a></span><section id="node-blog-post-field-comments" class="col-md-12 comments-container"> <div class="comments-reply-container"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=173&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=blog_comments" token="2waCP7jSY-9b1oIM_JcWOo-Vhrt_c7pAgcBEy0OAdCo"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> </section> Fri, 31 Jan 2020 15:32:44 +0000 dr.simon.davies 173 at Valid HTTPS for local environments <span>Valid HTTPS for local environments </span> <span><span>Stephen Ball</span></span> <span>Tue, 01/28/2020 - 07:47</span> <div><p>Web browsers really don't like sites with untrusted certificates. Totally understandable on the internet, but that warning badge in the address bar can hide real security issues&nbsp;when working locally. This post will demonstrate how to create your own trusted wildcard certificate for use in local environments.</p> <p>Despite how complicated X.509 can get, generating this type of certificate is actually fairly straightforward and can be completed in a matter of minutes.</p> <p>Below is a local development&nbsp;version of the website you're looking at right now.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="449a7c78-d409-4d8c-9ded-31cdd05f4328" style="text-align: center;"><span><img alt="Page with insecure form over HTTPS with a self-signed, untrusted certificate." data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/invalid-ssl-self-signed.png" /><span title="Click and drag to resize">​</span></span></p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1319816b-10c3-4746-a344-5c5a0d683f64">The web server here is configured with proper encryption, but a generic self-signed&nbsp;certificate.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1319816b-10c3-4746-a344-5c5a0d683f64">Unsurprisingly, Chrome isn't too thrilled&nbsp;about that. After clicking past the&nbsp;warning page&nbsp;we can see a big red "Not Secure" badge in the address bar.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1319816b-10c3-4746-a344-5c5a0d683f64">Sure, it's annoying to look at, but the real problem lies with a form on&nbsp;this page&nbsp;which is submitted insecurely over HTTP. Chrome would usually change the icon in the address bar to indicate this, but the invalid certificate warning takes precedence so no such behavior occurs.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1319816b-10c3-4746-a344-5c5a0d683f64">Here's where a trusted certificate would come in handy.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1319816b-10c3-4746-a344-5c5a0d683f64">While I'd love to have a single certificate that applies to all *.local domains, <a href="">this isn't possible</a>, so I'll be settling for *.dev.local instead. After some research online, I pieced together this minimal configuration file which I've saved to dev.cnf.</p> <pre class="language-text"> <code class="language-text">[req] distinguished_name = req_distinguished_name x509_extensions = v3_ca [req_distinguished_name] commonName = Common Name (e.g. server FQDN or YOUR name) commonName_default = *.dev.local [v3_ca] subjectAltName = @alt_names [alt_names] DNS.1 = *.dev.local </code> </pre> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1319816b-10c3-4746-a344-5c5a0d683f64">This is essentially the bare minimum to generate a certificate that Chrome and Firefox won't complain about. For more complicated use cases, a proper PKI with root and intermediate certificate authorities may be more appropriate - two excellent resources for this can be found <a href="">here</a>&nbsp;and <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1319816b-10c3-4746-a344-5c5a0d683f64">Now it's just a matter of creating the certificate and private key. These two files will then be copied to the web server. The certificate will also need to be imported locally, but more on that later.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1319816b-10c3-4746-a344-5c5a0d683f64">This is being run from <a href="">Ubuntu</a> via <a href="">WSL</a>, but should work on any operating system with OpenSSL.</p> <pre class="language-text"> <code class="language-text">$ openssl req -batch -x509 -nodes -days 1095 -sha256 \ &gt; &nbsp; &nbsp; -newkey ec:&lt;(openssl ecparam -name prime256v1) \ &gt; &nbsp; &nbsp; -keyout dev.key -out dev.crt -config dev.cnf Generating an EC private key writing new private key to 'dev.key' -----</code> </pre> <p>There should be a dev.crt and dev.key file in the same directory as dev.cnf now.</p> <p>The dev.crt and dev.key files should be copied over to the web server, then the web server configuration should be updated accordingly.</p> <pre class="language-text"> <code class="language-text"># nginx ssl_certificate /etc/nginx/ssl/dev.crt; ssl_certificate_key /etc/nginx/ssl/dev.key; </code> </pre> <p>Always be sure to test the updated configuration before reloading the webserver.</p> <pre class="language-text"> <code class="language-text">$ sudo nginx -t nginx: the configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf syntax is ok nginx: configuration file /etc/nginx/nginx.conf test is successful $ sudo systemctl reload nginx</code></pre> <p>Finally, I imported the certificate into my local machine to grant it trust.</p> <p>To do this on Windows:</p> <ul> <li>Double-click the <em>dev.crt</em> certificate file and select '<strong>Install Certificate</strong>'.</li> <li>Set the <strong>Store Location</strong> to <strong>Local Machine</strong> and click <em>Next</em>.</li> <li>Select '<strong>Place all certificates in the following store</strong>' and click <em>Browse</em>.</li> <li>Select '<strong>Trusted Root Certification Authorities</strong>' and click <em>OK</em>.</li> <li>Click <em>Next</em>, then <em>Finish</em>. You may also need to restart your browser.</li> </ul> <p>Instructions differ slightly on <a href="">Linux</a> and <a href="">Mac</a>&nbsp;but follow the same basic principle.</p> <p>There's also an extra step for Firefox since it doesn't&nbsp;use the system certificate store by default. Simply navigate to "about:config"&nbsp;and enable the "security.enterprise_roots.enabled"&nbsp;option.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="3e1a6cfc-6dfb-486c-b44a-b6e0594aee3b" style="text-align: center;"><span><img alt="Page with insecure form over HTTPS with a self-signed, trusted certificate." data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/valid-ssl-http-form.png" /><span title="Click and drag to resize">​</span></span></p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1319816b-10c3-4746-a344-5c5a0d683f64">With the trusted certificate now in place, the page loads without any security prompts.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1319816b-10c3-4746-a344-5c5a0d683f64">That insecure form I mentioned earlier is a lot easier to spot now. A similar warning in the address bar will also occur if content on the page is loaded over HTTP rather than HTTPS.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="dba48c1d-a288-4162-b205-b2af436a5314" style="text-align: center;"><span><img alt="Secure page over HTTPS with a self-signed, trusted certificate." data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/valid-ssl-trusted.png" /><span title="Click and drag to resize">​</span></span></p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1319816b-10c3-4746-a344-5c5a0d683f64">With the form taken care of, the page is now fully secure!</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1319816b-10c3-4746-a344-5c5a0d683f64">One thing to keep in mind is the certificate we generated only applies to *.dev.local but not,&nbsp;for example: For this, you just need to add another entry into the 'alt_names' section of the OpenSSL configuration file - i.e. "DNS.2 = *"</p> </div> <div> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-01/door-green-closed-lock-4291.jpg" width="2560" height="1707" alt="Padlock" /> </div> <div> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-01/door-green-closed-lock-4291_0.jpg" width="2560" height="1707" alt="Padlock" /> </div> <div> <div><a href="/blog/tags/security" hreflang="en">Security</a></div> <div><a href="/blog/tags/development" hreflang="en">Development</a></div> <div><a href="/blog/tags/local" hreflang="en">Local</a></div> <div><a href="/blog/tags/nginx" hreflang="en">Nginx</a></div> <div><a href="/blog/tags/technical" hreflang="en">Technical</a></div> <div><a href="/blog/tags/ubuntu" hreflang="en">Ubuntu</a></div> <div><a href="/blog/tags/sysadmin" hreflang="en">SysAdmin</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_26 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="" data-a2a-title="Valid HTTPS for local environments "><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_linkedin"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share" href=";title=Valid%20HTTPS%20for%20local%20environments%20"></a></span><section id="node-blog-post-field-comments--2" class="col-md-12 comments-container"> <div class="comments-reply-container"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=172&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=blog_comments" token="2ocUhjLJ36aWwDN3pzPcCib9r_PUUgd8tXeVk9woZS8"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> </section> Tue, 28 Jan 2020 07:47:15 +0000 stephen.ball 172 at Any advantages to switching to Drupal Gutenberg? <span>Any advantages to switching to Drupal Gutenberg?</span> <span><span>Michael Shonibare</span></span> <span>Thu, 01/23/2020 - 10:56</span> <div><p>Drupal Gutenberg is&nbsp;the newest shiny editor introduced into the Drupal community, attempting to improve the default authoring experience by combining Drupal's powerful entity/field architecture with the WordPress' Gutenberg editor. In this post,&nbsp;I'll be sharing&nbsp;my own experience with the editor, what I feel are&nbsp;its current limitations and my hopes for its future.</p> <p>Gutenberg was initially released into the content management system community as part of WordPress 5.0’s release; it was presented as a replacement for the simple but reliable <a href="">TinyMCE editor</a>&nbsp;that WordPress had been using for years.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="2242f30e-c67c-42b9-9570-03bacddbf96e"><img alt="WordPress classic editor" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/wordpress-classic-editor.png" /></p> <p>It introduced an innovative approach to content editing where website components could be visually inserted into the page in an intuitive manner in the form of individual blocks rather than relying on basic HTML, WordPress <a href="">shortcodes</a> or custom input fields (through plugins like <a href="">Advanced Custom Fields</a>, <a href="">CMB2</a> or&nbsp;<a href="">Meta Box</a>). It opened up a world of possibilities&nbsp;with regards to creating dynamic content layouts without having to resort to multiple fields, or requiring HTML knowledge in order to add the relevant styles.</p> <p>The initial release was unfortunately met with mixed to negative feedback, with some users avoiding the upgrade to 5.0 and actively looking for ways to switch back to the <a href="">TinyMCE</a>-based <a href="">Classic Editor</a> which their content editors had grown familiar with.</p> <p>It wasn’t encouraged by the fact that the initial product was a little buggy accessibility-wise, had some HTML implementation patterns which certain users weren’t comfortable with&nbsp;e.g. <a href="">inlining the CSS</a> styles rather than implementing them as a class - classes would be the preferred implementation as it ensures that the site theme&nbsp;decides how to it's displayed. There also wasn't&nbsp;an easy upgrade path for existing sites which made use of&nbsp;the custom field approach without incurring significant development costs.</p> <p>Gutenberg has undergone a lot of development/iteration since its initial launch, attempting to address the various issues it had with its release - at the time of writing, it has over 11,000 commits. It's also gaining a lot of traction with the WordPress community, with more and more plugins providing integration for it.</p> <h2>Drupal Gutenberg's dynamic editing experience</h2> <p>Drupal Gutenberg is a definite improvement over Drupal core’s <a href="">CKEditor 4</a>&nbsp;in terms of a visual content editing experience as a <abbr title="What You See Is What You Get">WYSIWYG</abbr> editor. It comes with a range of built-in blocks for basic components which editors are familiar with such as tables, lists and paragraphs. It also allows editors to insert raw HTML if required, its implementation of the raw HTML editor isn't currently as sophisticated as the WordPress version - the WordPress version still allows the usage of the Classic TinyMCE editor inside Gutenberg.</p> <p>The main strength of the Gutenberg editor is its flexible UI API which is powered by <a href="">React</a> - a popular JavaScript framework that's been garnering a lot of traction with the front-end developer community.</p> <p>The typical Drupal solution is to create content fields and <a href="">Paragraphs</a> components which can be inserted into the content in order to build the final page output. Paragraphs is a <span title="Open-source module provided by the community">contributed module</span> which allows editors to insert content into a page as Paragraphs components, these components can have their own fields and configurations which are then used to produce semantic HTML.</p> <p>However, when the client has requirements for an easy way to allow their content editors to insert really dynamic content as Paragraphs, it's extremely easy to run into “Paragraphs hell” - a situation where a lot of Paragraph components are inserted into the page each with individual fields/configurations which become unwieldy for editors to use, this particular problem is solved by using Gutenberg.</p> <h2>Gutenberg to Drupal field mapping</h2> <p>One of the main concerns we had regarding switching to Drupal Gutenberg was the fact that most of the internal fields typically used in most of our content types would now have to be hidden away into a small accordion at the bottom of the page, which isn't good from a user experience point of view - especially when the page contains a lot of text.</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="694b4c87-18a9-4558-8e07-d23655217ba1"><img alt="Drupal Gutenberg's more settings section" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/drupal-gutenberg-more-settings.png" /></p> <p>In one of the most <a href="">recent releases</a>, the module exposed an API for mapping Gutenberg block content to internal Drupal fields so that they can be used for things like the page title, featured image, content summary etc. This feature is a definite step in the right direction, however I feel there's still more that could be done in terms of improving the UX integration of Drupal's fields into Gutenberg in order to make it a more cohesive experience.</p> <h2>Potential blockers</h2> <p>Although the module is functional and provides some added benefits, there are still some potential points that site developers need to weigh before going all in and using it on their site as the sole content editing solution.</p> <h3>Slower release cycle</h3> <p>Due to the fact that the upstream plugin is still under a lot of active development, and the nature of the Drupal plugin being a port handled by a handful of developers, it'll always be slower to integrate any of the changes that have been implemented/released by the main plugin. There's currently no easy way to update Gutenberg in Drupal without waiting for the module developer to integrate, test and publish the WordPress changes to Drupal.</p> <h3>Template migration</h3> <p>This <a href="">particular issue</a> isn't specific to Drupal Gutenberg itself, but <a href="">Gutenberg as an editor</a>. Most of the blocks are saved as semantic HTML in the backend - this is fine for simple components like paragraphs and quotes where the semantic structure is standard and unlikely to change substantially in the future in order to meet design needs.</p> <p>However when complex custom blocks are involved e.g. an accordion/tabset, or a block with multiple subcomponents which produce sizable output markup, there’s a possibility that the markup will need to change in order to meet specific global iterative design/functional changes in the future, with the default implementation which saves and serves the static HTML to the user, there’s no easy way to automatically migrate the HTML structure into a new format for all the frontend content without manually resaving the content/block on a page by page basis.</p> <p>My general rule of thumb is that&nbsp;if your block's frontend HTML is:</p> <ul> <li>Likely to drastically change semantically in the future.</li> <li>Being reused across hundreds of pages.</li> </ul> <p>Then the <a href="">recommended approach</a> is to implement the blocks as <a href="">dynamic blocks</a> i.e. blocks that are rendered dynamically by the backend, reusing all the attributes entered into the admin editor.</p> <p>The ability to render any blocks through the backend is currently not available in Drupal Gutenberg, however it is an open issue that should hopefully be addressed in the near future.</p> <h3>Some features might be missing</h3> <p>While the Drupal module attempts to integrate the majority of the functionality of the WordPress version, there might be certain features which might be missing or behave slightly different for certain architectural reasons. The most of obvious example of this is the lack of a page title block. The Drupal Gutenberg editor keeps the title on the sidebar in line with default Drupal admin.</p> <p><img alt="Gutenberg WordPress' page title block" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="badb5671-36fd-49d6-bd82-a8d97ec75999" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/gutenberg-add-title.png" /></p> <p>Another notable feature that hasn't been implemented on the Drupal version is the internal WYSIWYG HTML editor block which provides a way for existing content editors to use the classic editors in order to create content that might not be easily created in Gutenberg e.g. tables with headers on both axis. This currently would have to be done through the <strong>Custom HTML</strong> block.</p> <p><img alt="Gutenberg WordPress Classic Editor block" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="6db816f3-ba30-4bd8-bccd-380bae8d14b9" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/gutenbergs-tinymce-editor.png" /></p> <h3>Unsupported by certain third-party modules</h3> <p>Due to a mixture of the fact that most Drupal installations use CKEditor as the default editor and Drupal Gutenberg being relatively new to the scene, there might be some issues integrating it with third party modules which expect a certain content editor to be used. An example of this is the <a href="">Real-time SEO for Drupal</a> module - it unfortunately does not support Gutenberg at the moment due to it only supporting CKEditor's API. The good thing about Drupal as a platform being open-source is that features like these can be easily implemented and contributed back to the module for others to also benefit and improve upon.</p> <h3>Accessibility issues</h3> <p>There are also some slight accessibility issues which I’ve encountered by being somewhat of a “power user”. I tend to make use of keyboard shortcuts where possible to make life a lot easier, there’s been some occasional issues where pressing&nbsp;&nbsp;<strong>Ctrl + A</strong>, causes the entire content to be selected instead of the block which was actively being edited.</p> <p>An example of this behaviour is exhibited while editing a Gallery image caption and attempting to select the text in order to copy and paste it:</p> <p data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="f0bbd1f5-7603-4d48-b78d-48748860a1a0"><img alt="Gutenberg Gallery text selection issue" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/gutenberg-gallery-text-selection-issue.png" /></p> <p>As mentioned at the start of the post, there’s still some work being done to the project in terms of improving its accessibility/usability features, so hopefully this is addressed in an upcoming release.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>Although far from perfect, I find that Drupal Gutenberg in its current iteration definitely provides an improved user experience and is perfect for situations where the content design and structure is well-defined and won't require a lot of dynamic configurations.</p> <p>I also&nbsp;haven't ran into any site breaking bugs so far that would raise red flags regarding integrating it into production-level sites, I feel it's stable enough that I'm comfortable using it on them.</p> <p>If the content type requires a lot of dynamic configurations referencing a lot of content/taxonomies, then there's still a use case for keeping the default Drupal fields/Paragraphs solution, whereas if the content type&nbsp;is particularly text-heavy with the occasional image/quotes e.g. Blog posts,&nbsp;then Gutenberg would be the perfect fit. If you do want to take it out for a spin, I'd recommend enabling it on a dedicated content type with a handful of custom fields at most.</p> <p>If the project can gain more community support, I can definitely see it being a popular solution for sites with a lot of static content where there’s a priority on a flexible editor experience.&nbsp;And with the module being an open-source project, the sky really is the limit for its future!</p> </div> <div> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-01/content-editor-on-mac.jpg" width="1350" height="900" alt="Content editor on a Mac" /> </div> <div> <div><a href="/blog/tags/gutenberg" hreflang="en">Gutenberg</a></div> <div><a href="/blog/tags/drupal" hreflang="en">Drupal</a></div> <div><a href="/blog/tags/react" hreflang="en">React</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_26 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="" data-a2a-title="Any advantages to switching to Drupal Gutenberg?"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_linkedin"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share" href=";title=Any%20advantages%20to%20switching%20to%20Drupal%20Gutenberg%3F"></a></span><section id="node-blog-post-field-comments--7" class="col-md-12 comments-container"> <div class="comments-reply-container"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=170&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=blog_comments" token="M0bMz8BIOUaxxtGpLDf_8UquCjQecMhvwbMKo2VirwA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> </section> Thu, 23 Jan 2020 10:56:20 +0000 michael.shonibare 170 at Context is King <span>Context is King</span> <span><span>Mark Macalesher</span></span> <span>Thu, 01/16/2020 - 10:18</span> <div><p>Ask a marketer what knowledge is most important when devising a campaign and they may well say, the target audience. Without a doubt this is crucial, after all you have to know who you are trying to communicate with.</p> <p>However, just as important is the context with which they will see the message.</p> <h2><img alt="Advertising Billboards" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="b9c606ba-6ba6-49d5-9697-b2bbeb6579c3" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/street-lights-802024.jpg" /></h2> <h2>Circumstances</h2> <p>Context are the <a href="">circumstances surrounding a message</a>. These might include the setting, the value positions of the people and the appropriateness of a message. This means you not only have to consider your audience, but also the forum where you are communicating and the accepted norms.</p> <p>You may have the most amazing creative but without context your campaign is likely to fail. Contextual marketing enhances the overall customer experience by providing relevance to the messages people&nbsp;are seeing.</p> <p>In order to deliver the right context to your marketing you need to fully understand the buyer personas of your target market so you know how to speak to them in terms of voice, tone and what content will resonate.</p> <p>Context can be physical, the tangible environment or even the physical area where the message is communicated. It is also cultural and psychological.</p> <h2>Personalisation</h2> <p>Marketing and advertising campaigns should try to make users feel like what they are seeing is uniquely built for their current situation. Oreo cookies famously launched a social campaign in the middle of the Super Bowl in 2013.</p> <p>During the game there was a <a href="">power cut</a> which halted proceedings for 30 minutes. During this time Oreo launched a <a href="">campaign</a> on social which quickly went viral all because of the applied context.</p> <p><img alt="Oreo Cookie" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5cc5e341-12c1-4854-8f87-1aa92c2dcfdf" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/oreo_cookie.png" /></p> <p>You can still dunk in the dark remains one of the biggest social campaigns ever.</p> <h2>What the…?</h2> <p>Another great example where applied context absolutely nailed the marketing message was when KFC found themselves with a serious <a href="">supply chain issue</a>. In February 2018 a large number of their UK restaurants were left without any chicken for several days.</p> <p>The news made national headlines, so what did KFC do?</p> <p>They launched a <a href="">campaign</a> so simple it was brilliant. They literally re-arranged their name on the side of a KFC bucket and rolled it out across multi-media channels nationwide.</p> <p><img alt="KFC bucket" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="5297e9d1-e3fe-4947-9e6b-2b5917e0b222" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/kfc.png" /></p> <p>They demonstrated a thorough understanding of their customers by using the right tone, style and approach. This campaign not only engaged consumers but actually increased brand image and positivity. It reinforced existing brand loyalty and managed to get themselves on the radar of new consumers.</p> <p>Highly individualised, personalised advertising – loved by online advertisers – makes advertising a private, rather than public, experience. With advancements in AdTech the digital landscape allows for plenty of contextual opportunities. And this is where context and creative really work well together and can see direct results.</p> <p>Retargeting is built around audience context and clever creatives can not only build the brand, but they can also prompt immediate consumer actions.</p> <p><img alt="AdTech" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="3c781917-e106-482c-93ff-549ac3ebdb0f" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/shoes.png" /></p> <h2>Apply the right context</h2> <p>Of course, for every success there will invariably be examples where the wrong context has been applied with <a href="">disastrous results</a>. Hyundai in 2013 wanted to promote a new vehicle with clean emissions technology. They wanted to apply context around a greener motor vehicle for their launch.</p> <p>Unfortunately, they decided to highlight this by depicting a desperate man taping a hose pipe to the exhaust and attempting to take his own life. Their emissions were so green that his attempt failed.</p> <p>Rightly so, outrage ensued, particularly when the ad was picked up by advertising blogger Helen Brockwell.</p> <p>Her father committed suicide in the same fashion when she was 5 years old. Holly was distraught and published her father’s suicide note which went viral within hours.</p> <p>Hyundai’s ad became the most talked about campaign of the year, but for all of the wrong reasons.</p> <p>In marketing the primary goal is to send the right message to the right people at the right time. We should never underestimate the power of context as a behaviour driver.</p> <p>Brands that prioritise context in their marketing and advertising campaigns will have a significant advantage over those who don’t.</p> </div> <div> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-01/street-lights-802024_0.jpg" width="1280" height="850" alt="Advertising billboards" /> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_26 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="" data-a2a-title="Context is King"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_linkedin"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share" href=";title=Context%20is%20King"></a></span><section id="node-blog-post-field-comments--2" class="col-md-12 comments-container"> <div class="comments-reply-container"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=169&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=blog_comments" token="wvnRtTHkWV0B6ig62KHsdKV3EJfLOa_4o30JPBPTZb0"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> </section> Thu, 16 Jan 2020 10:18:02 +0000 mark.macalesher 169 at What is the Best Ecommerce Platform for 2020? (Long Read) <span>What is the Best Ecommerce Platform for 2020? (Long Read)</span> <span><span>Sufi Gaffar</span></span> <span>Tue, 01/07/2020 - 16:45</span> <div><p class="text-align-justify"><img alt="Person using laptop while holding card" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="341fa9b1-706b-4069-886e-457786ed8eaa" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/rupixen-com-Q59HmzK38eQ-unsplash.jpg" /></p> <p class="text-align-justify"><a href="" target="_blank">Magento</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">WooCommerce</a>, <a href="" target="_blank">Drupal Commerce</a>, and&nbsp;<a href="" target="_blank">Craft Commerce</a> are four of the most exciting ecommerce platforms available today, in a sea of seemingly limitless options. In this post, we’ll be thoroughly dissecting the various aspects of each technology in order to reach a final conclusion as to which is the best, and why.</p> <p class="text-align-justify"><strong>Note:</strong> There are some simpler, more beginner-friendly alternatives on the market such as <a href="" target="_blank">Shopify</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Squarespace</a>, but these act more like services than standalone platforms and do not allow for the same level of customisation, flexibility and freedom as those that we’ll be focusing on. With such SaaS solutions you’re doing it their way, on their servers, and according to their rules, so you don’t have the same level of control over your shop.</p> <h2 class="text-align-justify">Pricing</h2> <p class="text-align-justify">Drupal Commerce and WooCommerce are both <strong>free and open-source</strong> with zero associated costs, whereas Magento is a little more complicated, coming in with two seperate versions: ‘<a href="" target="_blank">Commerce</a>’, and ‘<a href="" target="_blank">Open Source</a>’. The former starts from around <strong>$22,000/year</strong>, while the latter is <strong>free</strong>. The free edition is a perfectly capable, fully-extendable ecommerce platform, powering many popular sites such as <a href="" target="_blank">PrettyLittleThing</a> and the <a href="" target="_blank">V&amp;A</a>, though it’s missing some of the more advanced features offered by the premium edition, such as a rewards program,&nbsp;content scheduling,&nbsp;and an elastic search implementation. Craft Commerce slots somewhere in between, with a yearly fee of <strong>$299</strong> for Craft CMS itself ($59/year for ongoing updates), and a further <strong>$999</strong> for the Craft Commerce plugin ($199/year for ongoing updates).</p> <p class="text-align-justify"><img alt="Magento Commerce product page" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="7cfff7f0-e46f-41d6-936f-3d7293c60eff" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Magento%20commerce.PNG" /></p> <h2 class="text-align-justify">Ease of use</h2> <p class="text-align-justify">Drupal and Magento are notoriously complicated, and come with a <strong>steep learning curve</strong>. This is not helped by their complex administration interface, though this has improved somewhat with the release of Drupal 8 and Magento 2. Even so, many of their more advanced concepts still take a lot of time to grasp and grow accustomed to, and from our experience, some will never get the hang of them. This can turn out to be particularly problematic when content editors attempt to make changes and consistently manage to break&nbsp;the site.&nbsp;</p> <p class="text-align-justify">Craft is by far the <strong>most elegant</strong> of the four solutions when it comes to the admin UI, with a fresh, clear, modern design. Everything is where you’d expect to be, and there are none of the overwhelming menus and overcrowded pages that you come to expect with Drupal. The general usability of Craft is one of the things that really sets it apart from its competitors - it’s a lot <strong>nicer to work with</strong>.</p> <p class="text-align-justify"><img alt="Craft CMS admin" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="41aaa017-7b11-4a29-8713-4056738b38b2" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Craft%20CMS.PNG" /></p> <p class="text-align-justify">The simplicity of WordPress as a CMS makes WooCommerce one of the <strong>more easy platforms</strong> to both use and understand. There’s a markedly lower time investment required in learning its ins and outs, particularly when compared to Drupal and Magento, though this does come at the cost of customisation and flexibility, as we’ll go on to discuss below.</p> <h2 class="text-align-justify">Plugins</h2> <p class="text-align-justify">Since WooCommerce is based on the popular blogging platform WordPress, it makes available the <strong>50,000 plugins</strong> published on the <a href="" target="_blank">WP plugin directory</a>. While lots of these offerings are free, plenty are paid and <strong>can be quite costly</strong> - prices of over $100 aren’t all that uncommon (though all things considered, that’s pretty insignificant when compared to hefty price associated with bespoke development). However, it’s important to note that there’s no guarantee when it comes to the quality of the code of these plugins, so it’s always worth doing some research first to make sure you’re making the right choice.</p> <p class="text-align-justify"><img alt="WordPress plugin store" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="6270d957-6342-4b37-b9e0-a54e6e15c50f" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Wordpress%20plugin%20store.PNG" /></p> <p class="text-align-justify">With Drupal Commerce you’re getting access to <a href="" target="_blank">Drupal’s contributed modules directory</a> with almost <strong>30,000 listings</strong>. These are almost all <strong>free</strong>, and the source code for each is publicly hosted by Drupal themselves, allowing anyone to see and comment on how they work - you’ll always know exactly what you’re getting.</p> <p class="text-align-justify"><a href="" target="_blank">Magento’s plugin marketplace</a> is more like WordPress’ in that it offers a number of both paid and free options, though with a smaller selection of around <strong>4,000 listings</strong>. Having said that, this comparison isn’t necessarily fair as each of these is specifically commerce-related, whereas many of the Drupal and WordPress options will be useless for an ecommerce site. Unfortunately, from our experience, the quality of these modules is frequently <strong>very poor</strong>, with many rife with code blatantly copy-pasted from the internet, and others just flat-out not working and offering no support whatsoever.</p> <p class="text-align-justify"><a href="" target="_blank">Craft CMS’ plugin directory</a> is by far the smallest, largely down to it being the most niche of the four platforms, and with only around <strong>500 available plugins</strong> (both free and paid), you’ll often find yourself in the position of having no option but to develop your own custom implementation for a site requirement. On the other hand, it’s a well-maintained, fully vetted store which gives you the ability to install &amp; test any plugin on a local development environment before making any commitment, saving both time and money.</p> <h2 class="text-align-justify">Flexibility</h2> <p class="text-align-justify">Drupal Commerce is <strong>exceptionally customisable</strong> by nature, thanks to the power of Drupal as a content management system. All aspects of products, customers, and orders can be adjusted and catered exactly to the project’s specification, with its comprehensive field management system and flexible API. Based on <a href="" target="_blank">Symfony</a> (one of the most popular and reputable PHP frameworks), Drupal is&nbsp;<strong>developer friendly</strong> and makes it easy to extend core behaviour, so it’s one of the best options for building ecommerce sites which require a lot of tailored, custom functionality. There is good documentation across the board, and the core code is clean, understandable, and meets modern standards.</p> <p class="text-align-justify"><img alt="Drupal edit product type page" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="1d55e4c6-b782-4cb1-86d8-8bb59f025cd5" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Drupal%20edit%20product%20type.PNG" /></p> <p class="text-align-justify">Craft Commerce is similar to Drupal in the sense that it too is built from the ground up to be as <strong>extensible and customisable</strong> as possible. Utilising another popular PHP framework, <a href="" target="_blank">Yii2</a>, Craft also makes it easy to modify any default behaviour and implement custom functionality as required. Again, <strong>code quality is good</strong>, and with <strong>solid documentation</strong> available both in the codebase and on their official website, Craft is another good candidate for developing more complex sites. Unfortunately, it lags behind Drupal in the amount of resources available online because of its limited adoption thus far, which can make development more difficult and time-consuming for newcomers.</p> <p class="text-align-justify">Magento differs somewhat from Craft &amp; Drupal Commerce in that development is far <strong>more challenging, complicated and cumbersome</strong>, and not as inviting for beginners. Aside from the official documentation, some resources exist online, but a lot of the time they’re poorly put together and not all that useful - partially down to the complexity of Magento. However, because it's an ecommerce platform first and foremost, it’s packed with <strong>many customisation options</strong> and <strong>advanced features</strong> out-of-the-box (especially in the case of the ‘Commerce’ edition) that simply do not exist for any of the others, including advanced product categorisation, customer loyalty tools, one click checkout, advanced shipping integrations and <a href="" target="_blank">much more</a>. For bigger stores such features are often of high importance, making Magento a top choice to consider.</p> <p class="text-align-justify">WooCommerce meanwhile is at the opposite end of the spectrum; it’s both <strong>less complex and less customisable</strong> than all the others. This makes it the <strong>most straightforward</strong> platform to build a site for, and that’s not even taking into account the sheer number of online resources (tutorials, guides, code snippets) for WordPress development. Despite this, WordPress at its core is significantly harder to extend than Drupal and Craft, which makes it harder to integrate any elaborate, nonstandard behaviour into the site. This is offset to some degree by the volume of plugins available for WooCommerce, but if there’s not a preexisting option out there, it’s probably going to be more of a challenge to integrate.</p> <h2 class="text-align-justify">Content editing</h2> <p>In 2018, WordPress 5.0 was released, and it shipped with a revolutionary <strong>WYSIWYG block-based editor</strong> known as ‘<a href="" target="_blank">Gutenberg</a>’, a dramatic change from their previous rich text editor. Gutenberg, written in React, allowed content editors to drag and drop components freely onto the page. It allows content editors to see how the page will look as they build it, streamlining the creation process.</p> <p><img alt="Gutenberg editor" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="42733375-690d-4f1a-948e-2d19c43bb287" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Gutenberg.png" /></p> <p class="text-align-justify">Drupal have also recently released a new block-based page builder, called ‘<a href="" target="_blank">Layout builder</a>’. It’s not as pretty as Gutenberg and is more focused around designing the structure of page types, rather than creating the content itself on a page-by-page basis (though it does have the capability for the latter). Having said this, there’s a <a href="" target="_blank">third party module</a> which integrates Gutenberg into Drupal, and we’ve found ourselves using this to great success on some of our more recent projects.</p> <p class="text-align-justify">The Magento ‘Commerce’ (paid) edition provides a <a href="" target="_blank">visual page builder</a>, though as with Drupal’s page builder, it’s not quite as polished as Gutenberg. For the free ‘Open Source’ edition, there are a number of available third party plugins which are available, but your mileage may vary as we’ve not had a chance to test these ourselves yet.</p> <p class="text-align-justify">Craft CMS does not have a visual page builder like the other platforms. Instead, it has a couple of options for rich text editing (<a href="" target="_blank">CKEditor</a> and <a href="" target="_blank">Redactor</a>), and allows the creation of complex combinations of custom fields with its ‘Matrix’ field type. Its main party piece is its ‘<a href="" target="_blank">live preview</a>’ mode which lets you see how your content will look on the page with a 1-2 second delay as you make changes, and is an <strong>impressive alternative</strong> to visual editors like Gutenberg.</p> <h2 class="text-align-justify">In conclusion…</h2> <p class="text-align-justify">Ultimately, as with most things, the answer as to what the ‘best’ ecommerce platform is: “<strong>it depends</strong>”. For a boutique store with a tight budget, WooCommerce is probably the best option. It’s (relatively) simple to understand, is used by hundreds of thousands of stores worldwide, and has a vast range of plugins to pick from. For a large-scale, enterprise-level project with a high budget, we would probably recommend Magento Commerce (premium edition), with its advanced featureset, high traffic optimisations and technical support. And for anything in between, we’d go with Drupal Commerce - it’s open source, stable, widely used, has a wide selection of high-quality, free extensions, and the flexibility of its API architecture in general makes it easy to add custom functionality. That’s not to say Craft Commerce isn’t an excellent product, it is, but we struggle with its proprietary nature and are wary of the fact that the limited selection of available plugins can sometimes lead to far higher development times.<br /> &nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <img src="/sites/default/files/2020-01/rupixen-com-Q59HmzK38eQ-unsplash.jpg" width="1296" height="864" alt="Person using laptop while holding card" /> </div> <div> <div><a href="/blog/tags/ecommerce" hreflang="en">eCommerce</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_26 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="" data-a2a-title="What is the Best Ecommerce Platform for 2020? (Long Read)"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_linkedin"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share" href=";title=What%20is%20the%20Best%20Ecommerce%20Platform%20for%202020%3F%20%28Long%20Read%29"></a></span><section id="node-blog-post-field-comments--9" class="col-md-12 comments-container"> <div class="comments-reply-container"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=168&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=blog_comments" token="oFkDO5tTxSBEMvxZzQUHQv93Y2nLKhWTtaI8n4epP_Y"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> </section> Tue, 07 Jan 2020 16:45:37 +0000 sufi.gaffar 168 at Top 5 Biggest Marketing Fails <span>Top 5 Biggest Marketing Fails</span> <span><span>Mark Macalesher</span></span> <span>Tue, 12/17/2019 - 10:08</span> <div><p><img alt="Row of lightbulbs" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="7d2eb943-f0d6-47ca-8476-7e3b735fa3cb" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/lightbulbs.jpg" /></p> <p>Sometimes what you think is an amazing idea, isn’t always. A great way to learn how to best market your brand is to look at what others have done in the past, particularly those that have made some rather spectacular errors. And make sure that you don’t repeat their mistakes. Here are our top 5 marketing fails.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>COCA-COLA – “New Coke”</strong></h2> <p>During the 1980’s there was a fierce&nbsp;<a href="">soft drink war between Coca-Cola and Pepsi</a>. Coca-Cola was number 1 but had been steadily losing market share to Pepsi who were rapidly gaining on their rivals. This decline had the bosses at Coca-Cola so worried they decided they needed to fight back.</p> <p>In April 1985 they did this with “New Coke”. This campaign was designed to blow Pepsi out of the water and confirm themselves as the undisputed number 1.</p> <p>Unfortunately for Coke it had the opposite effect. Ignoring a century old recipe, consumers were upset and angry at the changes. New Coke was boycotted, and market share dropped even more sharply.</p> <p>Campaigns were launched to bring back old Coke and protest groups started. This was national news on talk shows and also resulted in over 400,000 letters and calls to the company to complain. Imagine the impact if social media was around at this time?</p> <p>Pepsi weighed in on the uproar and fuelled the flames.</p> <p><strong>“These two products, Pepsi and Coke, have been going at it eyeball to eyeball, and in my view the other guy just blinked.” – Roger Enrico, former PepsiCo CEO</strong></p> <p>Coke had inadvertently admitted that Pepsi’s product was superior, and they couldn’t compete with it. On the New York Stock Exchange shares of Coca-Cola dropped while those of Pepsi rose. New Coke lasted 77 days before the original Cola was re-introduced into the market.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>BLOOMINGDALE’S – “Date rape”</h2> <p>In 2015,&nbsp;<a href="">Bloomingdale's</a>&nbsp;one of the world’s most iconic department stores released a Christmas ad that had a deeply problematic caption.</p> <p>It seemed to be promoting Date Rape.</p> <p><img alt="Bloomingdales advert" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="f193b52b-e5b3-4f23-bb88-5655c7b1e151" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Screenshot%202019-12-11%20at%2012.59.16.png" /></p> <p>As you can imagine there was huge outcry globally which prompted a grovelling public apology from the store. What was not clear was how many meetings and sign-offs were required for this advert to be approved and who on earth came up with this concept and exactly what the message was supposed to say?</p> <p>There really isn’t too much else to say about this, it is wrong on so many levels.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>PEPSI – “Kendall Jenner”</h2> <p>In 2017 Pepsi released an&nbsp;<a href="">advert</a>&nbsp;featuring Kendall Jenner at a protest. She gives a can of Pepsi to a police officer who drinks from it while the crowd cheer.</p> <p>The reason for this huge fail? The imagery was borrowed heavily from the&nbsp;<a href="">#BlackLivesMatter</a>&nbsp;movement and this caused a huge backlash claiming insensitivity, trivialisation and even racism. Critics accused Pepsi of appropriating imagery from serious protests to sell its product whilst also minimalizing the danger protesters encounter and the frustration they feel.</p> <p>Pepsi’s big mistake was by trying to market to younger generations they completely ignored other generations who have lived through social injustice and turmoil.</p> <p>The campaign lasted one day before Pepsi pulled the advert, but the damage had already been done by then.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>HOOVER – “Airline tickets”</h2> <p>For decades the Hoover brand enjoyed a near monopoly on vacuum cleaner sales in the UK, responsible for almost half of all sales. So popular was the brand name that vacuum cleaners were often referred to as “hoovers”.</p> <p>Towards the end of the 80’s and into the early 90’s and with a recession kicking in, sales started to fall as did profits. In an attempt to boost sales, Hoover offered&nbsp;<a href=";q=50&amp;fm=pjpg&amp;fit=crop&amp;crop=faces">2 free airline tickets</a>&nbsp;from the UK to Europe or the US for customers who spent more than £100 on their vacuums and washing machines.</p> <p>The assumption from Hoover was that only a small number of purchasers would actually jump through the hoops that would be put in place to redeem the flights and they would spend far more than the £100 minimum offsetting the cost. This wasn’t the case though and the campaign was an instant success with consumers and products literally began to fly off the shelves.</p> <p>A disaster quickly brewed for Hoover because the maths just didn’t add up. Over the next 6 years it cost the company £50m, resulted in numerous lost court cases and the dismissal of a number of top company executives. Over&nbsp;<a href="">220,000 customers managed to get their free air tickets</a>&nbsp;and this fiasco was directly responsible for the collapse and subsequent sale of Hoover to Candy.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h2>RATNERS – “Crap”</h2> <p>The top fail on our esteemed list is not a marketing campaign fail per se but more a lesson in how not to market your company. After inheriting his father’s business in 1984, Gerald Ratner turned Ratners, the small retailer into one of the largest high street stores. They became the biggest jewellers in the UK with shops on every major high street in the UK.</p> <p>Life was good for the chain until Ratner himself presented at the Institute of Directors Annual Convention in 1991. In front of 6,000 businesspeople and journalists he was asked how it was possible to sell a sherry decanter for £4.95. To everyone’s amazement he answered,&nbsp;<a href=";t=3m47s">"because it's total crap"</a></p> <p>The press had a field day turning this into national news and a spiral of decline ensued pushing the business £122m into the red after the company shares dropped £500m in a matter of days.&nbsp;</p> <p>Customers boycotted the brand and the chain began to rapidly lose sales volume. All in all 330 stores in the UK and USA were closed and&nbsp;<a href="">Ratner lost absolutely everything</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> <div> <img src="/sites/default/files/2019-12/lightbulbs_0.jpg" width="1377" height="918" alt="Row of lightbulbs" /> </div> <div> <div><a href="/blog/tags/marketing" hreflang="en">Marketing</a></div> </div> <span class="a2a_kit a2a_kit_size_26 addtoany_list" data-a2a-url="" data-a2a-title="Top 5 Biggest Marketing Fails"><a class="a2a_button_facebook"></a><a class="a2a_button_twitter"></a><a class="a2a_button_linkedin"></a><a class="a2a_dd addtoany_share" href=";title=Top%205%20Biggest%20Marketing%20Fails"></a></span><section id="node-blog-post-field-comments--10" class="col-md-12 comments-container"> <div class="comments-reply-container"> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=167&amp;2=field_comments&amp;3=blog_comments" token="91NcvbLezq0CQ0QAwJXu88TRoQC72_Sg0moc-mMKt4Q"></drupal-render-placeholder> </div> </section> Tue, 17 Dec 2019 10:08:58 +0000 mark.macalesher 167 at