Contextually Aware Content Part 3

My last post theorized on contextual use cases. Let's project a bit into global trends, revisit ways to avoid creepy CXM, and keep this practical. At some point there'll be a backlash at this much "contextuality," a huge part of your contextual experience will be offline.

You will start with responsive design and device detection, but also plan for possible future scenarios (I read too much):
  • The rising billion will encounter your digital channels for the first time, either on under-powered or completely capable devices
  • Today's five year olds will become teenage consumers in ten years, then join your workforce in another ten. Get ready for Generation 2020.
  • "Context" willl eventually include ambient light, proximity to other devices, mixed audiences (different ages, languages, and locations in a room), and the context switches from room to fridge to car? Sorry, that's not the future, that's your iPhone, XBox Kinect, Netflix, and digital cable services.
  • Content creation will includes a mix of automated content, employee-written pieces, and crowd-sourced information
In the end, your design process will be informed by the data you collect about your users. We already have some automation with profiling and personalization engines, but you still need to provide the content and business strategy. Take a point from PlayFun, an AI that learned to play Nintendo games. It optimized for points for Tetris by quickly dropping blocks and pausing indefinitely so it wouldn't lose. The web design equivalent would be an automated system that made huge promotional banners because users had no where else to click.
You can't get away from design, at least not yet. The first question about doing mobile design with Tridion is if you can do mobile design now. You can grab a template off the Web or hire/train your team to get mobile design expertise, it comes down to core competencies and what decisions you're willing to outsource and which core competencies you'll keep in house.

In the long run, give your engineers and designers the right tools to decrease tool time and increase skill time (nice article from CMS industry guru, Gerry McGovern).

Designing These Experiences

Companies and their engineering/design teams will also want to avoid customer experience management creepiness through transparency and end-user control.

Be clear where and how you learned about the user’s context and giving them control to say it’s not true (even if it is) or to change their preferences. Reality is much more interesting than the most fine-grained contextual segment you can try to craft. For example, with "Ramirez" and "Reyes" in my name, I'll get product offers and letters in Spanish (via snail mail). We might be interested in French products because of an immersion program my daughter is in, but the advertisement should be in English since, as a second (2.5) generation Filipino-America, we speak English instead of Tagalog at home. Even if your company could decipher all of that, I recycle junk mail sent with Standard postage, no matter how official it looks and the movies my daughter might appreciate already come dubbed in French.

In terms of end-user control, let users ignore all of your contextual experiences. They may insist on the full experience, but that’s not the desktop experience nor the mobile one. It’s them experiencing your content model, application, and perhaps real-world experience in a way that works for them.
    In other words make it easy for me to do what I do often in a contextually-aware way and then let me tell you when you’re wrong for that instance, a certain device, or all time.

Not All Digital. Users Still Appreciate the Real World. 

My BSMSO doesn’t like my parody vision of the future. The one where she speaks to her daughter in the real world, then a mediated experience kicks off:
  1. Daughter will be doing something “online,” maybe gesturing and talking to an invisible entity
  2. Her device(s), through an AI assistant will tell her that someone nearby is trying to communicate with her
  3. She may respond through her device or possibly in person
  4. When BSMSO is satisfied, daughter will go back to that very-important-thing she was working on and proceed to type, swipe, and talk furiously at an invisible interface
Yeah, we’re working out rules I’m sure other parents are struggling with:
  • No devices at the dining table, especially when we’re eating together
  • Only 1, okay 2 more episodes of My Little Pony at night for Dad, Daughter can watch 3.
A user's experience with your brand goes beyond mobile and responsive design. It's not all digital, though there may be nearly always be a digital footprint. I suspect we'll resist having all interactions digitally mediated and people will still want and maybe even appreciate genuine, RL (gaming lingo for real life or non-virtual) interactions.

At some point, ignore the insights, do a little bit less orchestration of all this contextuality, and let people enjoy what you offer or ignore you completely. They'll come back to your brand, your product, or your service if you're responsible and respectful of their wants, preferences, and needs.

Customer Expectations will Go Beyond (Just) Mobile

Take big data, commoditized analytics/campaign/data aggregation tools, a growing user base (and employees) that are used to the Google/Amazon/Netflix/Facebook experience, and maybe some robots and the future of the "web" is more than just responsive or even responsible Web design.

Create sites using responsive/responsible design, but don't stop there. Take the paradoxical approach of adding more structure (see KnewKnow's post on the future of content) to let your content fit more designs, across more channels, in more contexts. If you already have SDL Tridion, let your engineers and designers work with SDL Tridion's ambient data framework, optionally using the Context Engine Cartridge. Then see what the Footprint Feature and mobile device previews in Experience Manager offer your content management organization.

Get a peak at the nuts-and-bolts in KnewKnow's post on Responsible Web Design.

In a few years, some AI will know I blogged about content management, bronies, and multiple languages. When the perfectly customized promotional content comes my way, I'll be looking for the "that's not true!" button and then come back to comment that the contextually-aware future has arrived. Let's get there responsibly.

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