2017 Drupal Trends: What Digital Managers Think About
Managing the digital strategy for an organization interested in delivering ambitious digital experiences to its stakeholders is more than a full time job. The rate of change in digital shows no sign of slowing down soon. It’s all most of us can do to just keep up, let alone think ahead. To help with that, we’ve compiled a shortlist of some of the big issues that will be driving strategic digital decisions over the next year.
Very Responsive Design
Most organizations are happy to get their website looking good on desktop and mobile browsers. That’s not going to be good enough soon. The array of devices that want to connect with your web site for content is growing quickly. Amazon Alexa and Google Home are both growing fast. Smart TVs want to talk to your web site too. The xBox can be a content channel, as can native apps on a phone, or a digital sign in a business. Your web site will need to support all these channels, and probably a couple we aren’t thinking about yet.
No, this does not have anything to do with the Brad and Angelina breakup last year. Decoupling is severing the tight connecting between the front end of your web site with the back end CMS. Drupal 8 enables us to build ambitious digital experiences that don’t rely on the Drupal theme layer. These means you can update the CMS without touching the UX, and vice versa. This is also related to the issue above in that a CMS that supports decoupling is the ideal platform for powering digital signs, voice activated home assistants, the Internet of Things, or whatever comes next.
Your smartphone is basically a collection of micro-interactions. Users can complete tasks such as set an alarm and then silence it when it rings without engaging with the bulk of the phone UI. How much easier would it be for your website users if they could interact with web site applications in much the same way they interact with iPhone or Android applications?
Agile development and 99.99% uptime expectations demand that updating the website be done with no downtime. Modern hosting providers such as Acquia, Pantheon, and Blackmesh provide tools to help enable multi-tier dev/staging/production environments and logical workflows to ease pushing code to production. If you are still editing content on production sites it is past time to update your web management workflow to something more sustainable, and less risky.
Personalization is not new. Yahoo and Excite were doing it on their search portals back in the late 1990s. The insights available about your web users, just based on their actions on your site, open up countless opportunities to improve conversion rates and build better digital experiences by presenting every user with a personalized view of your website.
Omni-channel integration is personalization on steroids. Just last week Google was in the news as they announced their ability to connect ads you have seen online with your physical presence in a store. For example, you see an ad for lawn mowers, and the next day Google connects that ad to the fact you entered a Home Depot shortly after seeing the ad. Mobile and web integration is another example. We are just starting to scratch the surface of what may be possible with cross channel integration.
The Internet of Things
IoT has security issues to deal with before it really takes off big, however the idea that everything from your light bulbs to refrigerator are online and able to talk to a server, and eventually each other, is a huge trend that is still in its infancy.
Open Source as a Service
What if you could acquire a fully featured Drupal website in much the same way you use Salesforce.com? You would have the power and convenience of SAAS, without the vendor lock in because you could always take your open source service, zip it up, download it, and install it anywhere you want.
Management & Governance
Governance may not be as sexy as a refrigerator that can tell you how much milk you have, while you sit on the couch. However, it is probably much more relevant to most digital managers today. If you have 10 or 100 people in your organization that can post content to a website, how do you manage that process for both efficiency and brand standards compliance?
Regulatory Accessibility Compliance
Can sight impaired visitors use your web site? How about somebody that is haas 20-20 vision, but is color impaired? Are your videos useful to both sight and hearing impaired people? The Federal government has defined a set of standards for web site accessibility. Not meeting the standards makes your web site less useful to potential customers, and puts you at risk for a lawsuit.
What are you waiting for? Let us help keep your business ahead of the curve.
Promet has been thinking about this stuff for a while. We’ve built digital sign systems powered by a Drupal website. We’ve built augmented reality apps for the Chicago Transit System, and we are experts at continuous integration. Get in touch if you want to take your digital experiences to the next level.