Community: Personalization, is it worth it?

Kathy

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Jan 1, 2004
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Kathy submitted a new Article:

Community: Personalization, is it worth it?

Personalization, is it worth it?

Personalization, is it worth it?

This article questions the affects of site personalization on resources and members. As an example, we will use vBulletin by Jelsoft Enterprises Limited. Personalization allows administrators and / or members the ability to personalize features found within a web site.

"vBulletin is a powerful, scalable and fully customisable forums package"
vBulletin is attractive to many users because it offers it's license holders and board users the ability to personalize. However, in most cases, this equates to a forum where many features are not being used by it's members.

Personalization can be beneficial to the administrator and the end-user if done correctly. Take a look at Amazon.com ... personalization allows users more control of what is important to them; thus, sales have increased. However, personalization is not just giving your members the ability to create their own "favorite book list". Personalization is giving them what they desire the most. If this can be done without any user intervention (automated) the more powerful the benefit.

Personalization often fails because...

  • members do not know the benefits of personalization
  • members are not given a reason to personalize
  • personalization features often fills the ego of the administrator and not the end-user
  • personalization should be optional and not mandatory to enjoy site
Personalization can be beneficial to all if...
-focus is on the end-user (concentrate on the end-user experience)
-the administrators foregoes their ego and puts the end-user before themselves (this means you should not install features that are not just 'cool'; but are beneficial to the end-user)
-instructions and benefits are clearly visible to the end-user (do not assume that a user will read everything ... make sure you use headings, list, and similar formatting tools to allow users to 'scan' the page)
-it is optional; do not force a feature down a user's throat ... most likely it will be ignored (if a feature is not turned "ON" by a user it should be disabled; do not use system resources when it is not necessary)

Personalization/Usability - WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, WHY, and HOW
In most cases, a Styles "changer" only fills the ego of the administrator. There is no real benefit to the member. However, an option to change the font-size can benefit a...

Read more about this article here...
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Messages
598
Regarding including the PM text in the email to the user. I used this at one time and ran into one major problem. Since those emails go out from the system the return address is the system email. Too often people would get the email regarding their PM with the PM text in the email and instead of returning to the site to reply to the person who sent the PM they would just hit reply to the email and end up sending ME the reply. It was for that reason that I finally pulled the PM text out of those emails and just included a note to return to the board to read their PM and reply. (I don't recall if this was when I was still using UBB or since I've switched to vB).
 

gthelp.com

Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 22, 2004
Messages
228
that's a good point...
it was only a suggestion on hacking an existing vbulletin application as this feature is not a default feature.

If you do hack the files you should go a little further and add the sender's address so that you do not receive replies. Also, add the proper information regarding your site (link, policies, etc).

Overall, the goal of this article is to make people aware of issues that may be overlooked.

I appreciate your comments.:)
 
Joined
Feb 17, 2004
Messages
598
It must have been when I was using UBB then that I had dealt with it.

Great article though, I am constantly adding to my "How To" section of the site information on various features that people tend to overlook or eventually discover and ask me about (often with the questions "Is this a new feature?")
 
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