Are You Keeping Up With The Joneses?
If you are not moving your website code forward, your site is getting behind. Many new technologies become available each day. Mobile devices are getting faster with higher resolution. Methods of disseminating data are improving. Using the “get sum” command within spreadsheets is becoming as archaic as 20th century keypunch cards.
It is easy to assume that if you have a website your data is vastly more modern than punched cards. With static data, many websites are little more than a virtual punched card. In the back office, workers still manage key aspects of the company largely disconnected from the Internet. Customers and vendors phone receptionists to get put on hold while someone looks up information. As your website advances, more of its information can be data driven and graphically presented.
Trial and Error
Staying on the cutting edge requires some blood letting. Third-party developers create plugins to enhance features. When you bring them online, you may discover they do not work as well as anticipated. After trying to resolve disparities, insurmountable incompatibilities may necessitate removing plugins. Announcing and retracting features might be viewed as defeatist but it is a sign of progress.
While ClinicalPosters experiments with plugins, many advancements are the result of internal programming. With this introduction, I present to you a summary of successes, failures, and works in progress:
- Migration of shopping cart from Perl to Liquid, 2017-19
- Separation of Health and News blogs, 2018
- Responsive mobile experience, 2018–19
- Addition of ClinicalPins and models, 2019
- Medical interest site customization, 2018–19
- Personalized article content, 2019
- GDPR compliance, 2018
- Selective free shipping, 2019
- A dozen payment options, 2018
- Navigation refinements, 2018–19
Articles exist that discuss most of these advancements. Subtle navigation refinements go unnoticed. Default collapsing of article and product collection filters maximize content visibility. Two complimentary filters are selectable for product collections. When necessary, isolated product pages can find their place within their collection by means of the “Browse” link that interchanges with “Prior/Next.” We also made some geeky improvements to the search function.
- Clothing and accessories
- Health blog paywall
- Multi-language posters
- Virtual assistant plugin
- Make an offer
Clothing and accessories discontinued. With a significant number of site visitors who are not working in medical professions, the product line was expanding to include consumer products. This diluted the ClinicalPosters brand. So as the products increase, they remain health-related.
Health blog paywall discontinued. This was another attempt to monetize traffic. The implementation required a third-party plugin, long and short versions of each article, and a separate subscription payment method. All of this resulted in less than intuitive subscriber login navigation. This has been replaced with in-house coding that enables free full-page access to blog subscribers with an account.
Multi-language posters discontinued. It was a golden opportunity fo multilingual and international medical offices. This is not because of unavailability. It is because nearly half arrive damaged from the publisher. Not meeting our quality standards, stock is limited to what is on hand.
Virtual assistant plugin discontinued. Our first virtual assistant on the new platform allowed users unfamiliar with medical specialty terms to click a series of buttons until a personalized query generated a list. Backend maintenance was cumbersome without any data to support effectiveness so it was retired.
Make an offer around the clock incorporated a “Make an Offer” button within ClinicalPins and Closeouts collections. Visitors using this feature requested unprofitable offers without responding to reasonable counter offers. This has been discontinued.
Real-time chat enabled. A robust bubble on the lower right combines chatbot with operator interaction for all platforms around the clock. Currently, English is the only language supported.
Cart Harmony intermittent. This allows visitors to login and begin shopping on one computer. Then login to another computer and complete the transaction. You can add to a shopping cart originating on another device and checkout. But items from another computer that are deleted on a different device may show up again in your cart until deleted from original device. Investigating this anomaly may interrupt Cart Harmony service.
Blog commenting is an excellent way to improve the value of articles. In theory, educated responses supplement main content. Compliments encourage writers and shape The path of future articles. The reality is that blog commenting is a vehicle for SPAM. Therefore it is necessary not only to moderate them, but to sometimes disable them. Commenting is selectively visible—sometimes requiring login.
Supplemental ad revenue. Maintaining a modern website is expensive. Hmm, either continually raise the price of posters or capitalize on other sources of income? In-house programming now supports inclusion of topical banner advertisements on blog pages. Rest assured, readers will not be unduly inundated. We love our aesthetics.
Features and benefits mentioned in this summary are not exhaustive and not meant to diminish the hard work of programmers working every day. Are there some features you enjoy, miss or look forward to trying out? Login to share your thoughts in the comment section below.