See also: portal design

Discussion articles

  • Adaptive websites: an introduction
    Broadly marketed websites face an increasingly diverse and demanding audience. Each visitor may be searching for something different, and each may have unique needs or concerns. Traditional, 'static' websites can try to serve these diverse users by aiming at generalised types of user. However, generalising the audience may cause an information designer to overlook users who do not quite fit in a category. A more effective way to reach diverse audiences might be adaptive websites that customise content and interface to suit each individual. This paper will discuss basic concepts behind adaptive websites using, the Internet bookseller, as an example.

  • An information architecture perspective on personalisation (PDF)
    The framework laid out here for understanding the design implications of personalisation does not answer any questions, however--it just raises awareness of how little we already know about users’ expectations from personalisation. In fact, the web and its early navigation metaphor are still young and we do not understand it well enough yet.

  • Anonymous personalisation: part 1
    Personalisation versus privacy. It's not a question of which will ultimately prevail. But rather, how can we have both?

  • Anonymous personalisation: part 2
    Personalisation doesn't always require that you obtain personally identifiable information about a visitor. You can personalise your web content by only knowing their interests and preferences.

  • Applying personalisation to the purchase decision process
    The idea of personalising web and e-mail content is becoming well accepted because most of us already personaliwe the person-to-person communications that we use every day. However, planning a personalised website has proven to be more of a challenge than many marketers had imagined.

  • Building relationships with personalisation
    Understanding what personalisation is all about regarding potential customers. Variables that can affect how fast a relationship can be developed.

  • Designing web personalisation features (PDF)
    Personalisation, which allows a web user to choose the content and layout of their own portal web page, is one of the most popular ways of increasing traffic at websites, and helps to ensure return customers. But to be successful, it must be simple and it must be intuitive. This paper presents common personalisation features used by top portals and reviews the design of the interfaces of three top portals: My Excite, My Yahoo and MSN. This paper provides examples of good and bad design techniques used in the portal sites, and gives tips on how to design usable personalisation features.

  • Getting personal
    There was a period in the history of the web when personalization was going to transform everything, making the buying experience vastly more inviting for customers and lucrative for business. Right now, the standard bearer for personalization is still Amazon. More to the point, most everyone else has fallen off. So what killed personalization?
    (Tom Chi)

  • Guiding principles for providing 'remember me' personalization
    "In its simplest form, 'remember me' personalization is the capability of some websites to remember, or pre-fill, your username when you return to the site so you don’t have to enter it every time. Usually there is a checkbox where you sign in that says something like 'Remember me' or 'Save my password'. The controversy and concern surrounding the use of cookies offers us, as usability professionals, the opportunity to talk, and to set standards so the 'remember me' personalization we design enhances a user’s experience and builds trust and loyalty instead of creating frustration, disappointment, and mistrust. Establishing some solid guideposts will help us design with integrity."
    (Meg Peters, Boxes and Arrows)

  • Guiding visitors through your site with profiling
    Have you noticed how few websites give special treatment to people who return numerous times? Fortunately, there are tools and techniques that can help you guide visitors through your site based on their interest profile.

  • Information architecture and personalisation
    This white paper demonstrates the use of information architecture components as a foundation for thinking about personalisation. After defining the information architecture components, it describes a model that combines the components into a complete personalisation system. This model could be used to guide your personalisation system development methodology, evaluate a set of personalisation systems, or merely to give you the terminology to help you communicate about personalisation.

  • Less is more: the magic of personalisation
    I recently delivered a talk about using profile data to personalise website content. A question from the audience was: 'Do personalised pages take longer to download than static pages?' A good question because some people think the extra processing time of personalisation will slow the creation and delivery of pages. The answer turns out to be a case of both 'less is more' and 'more is less.'

  • Meaningful personalisation
    Websites, software, and consumer products should be customisable, but that customisation must be more than mere "coolness". Personalisation should make users more effective by helping them reach their goals.

  • Personal interface definitions
    Think of them as application independent, individually defined, continually evolving visual and interaction design style sheets that maintain a common interface vocabulary for users. An individual user’s Personal Interface Definition (PID) is their custom interface design layer (interactive and visual skin) that is applied to every software application they use.

  • Personalisation is not technology: using personalisation to promote your business goal
    Personalisation, properly implemented, brings focus to your message and delivers an experience that is visitor-oriented, quick to inform, and relevant. Personalisation, poorly implemented, complicates the user experience and orphans content. This article describes what separates the freshness from the noise.

  • Personalisation is overrated
    Web personalisation is much over-rated and mainly used as a poor excuse for not designing a navigable website. The real way to get individualised interaction between a user and a website is to present the user with a variety of options and let the user choose what is of interest to that individual at that specific time. If the information space is designed well, then this choice is easy, and the user achieves optimal information through the use of natural intelligence rather than artificial intelligence. In other words, I am the one entity on the world to know exactly what I need right now. Thus, I can tailor the information I see and the information I skip so that it suits my needs perfectly

  • Personalisation vs customisation
    The concept of personalising for customers is certainly not new. But the web elevates it to a near art form. The web is the perfect marketing environment for precision marketing, because individuals can be uniquely identified, and a message can be tailored specifically to them.

  • Search engine personalisation: an exploratory study
    Web search engines are beginning to offer personalisation capabilities to users. Personalisation is the ability of the website to match retrieved information content to a user's profile. This content can be set explicitly by the user or derived implicitly by the website using such user profile information as zip code, birth date, etc. In this paper we report findings from a study qualitatively and quantitatively assessing the current state of personalisation on 60 search engine websites and the personalisation features available.Our findings show that despite the high level of interest in Web personalisation, most search engine Web sites currently offer no or limited personalisation features.

  • Tailoring your site to your visitors
    Consider using one of the technologies to tailor the look of the home page and recognise each time a visitor returns to your site.

  • The next big thing: adaptive web-based systems
    The paper defends the position that personalisation, and in particular automatic personalisation or adaptation, is the key to reach the goal of offering each individual user (or user group) the information they need.

  • The trouble with personalization
    "Personalization has rarely been implemented well. Its failure is usually because of a lack of understanding of customer behavior."
    (Gerry McGovern - New Thinking)

  • Usability wins over personalisation in cost effectiveness
    Jupiter Research reports that only 14% of consumers say personalised offers or recommendations on shopping Web sites lead them to buy more often from online stores, and just 8% say that personalisation increases their repeat visits to content, news or entertainment websites. By contrast, the majority of consumers said that basic site improvements would make them buy or visit websites more often: 54% cited faster-loading pages and 52% cited better navigation as greater incentives.

  • Web personalisation for one-to-one web marketing
    Web personalisation allows you to have a website that tailors web content to a web user's preferences and other profile information. In addition, a personalization system logs every web page displayed to every user so you can develop a "clickstream" view of what they saw, when they saw it, and for how long. Just imagine what you could learn about your audience with a complete understanding of their web usage.

  • Why personalisation hasn't worked
    Personalisation hasn't worked because most people don't have a compelling reason to personalize. It hasn't worked because the cost of doing it well usually significantly outweighs the benefits it delivers. It hasn't worked because managers have seen it as some Holy Grail of content management.

  • You and me: making technical communication personal (PDF)
    Personalisation lets us pinpoint our information for a particular person, small group, or niche audience.

Case studies

  • Personalising the user experience on (PDF)
    In this paper, we describe the results of an effort to first understand the value of personalising a website, as perceived by the visitors to the site as well as by the stakeholder organisation that owns it, and then to develop a strategy for introducing personalisation to the website.