Acquia

Boston Streamlines its Site for Mobile [Jan. 8, 2016]

Submitted on
vendredi, le 8 janvier 2016h
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GCN

By Amanda Ziadeh

Boston is giving residents a peek at its redesigned Boston.gov site, pilot.boston.gov, to show the responsive design and new functionality and to encourage citizen feedback while the website continues to be developed.

The pilot site’s responsive design optimizes content to fit all screens -- especially important with today's diversity of mobile devices -- and currently features topic pages to make it easier to find tools and resources. The redesigned site will also include a more robust menu and navigation bar to help users efficiently and intuitively find what they need, the city said.

The revamp comes in response to an audit of the more than 20,000 indexed pages on the current site, which made it difficult for residents to find information and navigate their way around online services. The pilot’s design addresses this by using curated content from various departments to reduce the need to visit multiple sites. It also presents content on topical pages organized on how a resident thinks about a certain issue – like owning a car or starting a business.

"We are creating a digital front door for City Hall that is friendly, convenient and worthy of our connected, tech-savvy city,” said CIO Jascha Franklin-Hodge.

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Boston Mayor Launches Pilot Site to Show Progress Toward Redesigned City Website [Jan. 7, 2016]

Submitted on
jeudi, le 7 janvier 2016h
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City of Boston

BOSTON - Thursday, January 7, 2016 - Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced an important step in the redesign of the City of Boston's website - the launch of the Boston.gov pilot site (pilot.boston.gov). The pilot site provides a preview of the new design and encourages feedback as the broader Boston.gov site is developed.

"This is an exciting chapter in the redesign of the City's website," said Mayor Walsh. "We want to give the people of our City a look at the work we're doing and a voice in the process as we continue to build a more welcoming and useful website."

At the start of the project, the City spoke to constituents who shared valuable feedback about how to improve the city's website. This feedback process will continue throughout the duration of the pilot, and residents are encouraged to share their thoughts on the redesign through the feedback navigation on the pilot website.

"Millions of people use digital channels to engage with City government every year," said Chief Information Officer Jascha Franklin-Hodge. "We are creating a digital front door for City Hall that is friendly, convenient, and worthy of our connected, tech-savvy city."

An audit of the more than 20,000 indexed pages illustrated the need to make it easier to find information. The goal of the redesigned City website is to help users navigate the many resources provided by the City in a way that is simple and intuitive.

The pilot site – which is optimized to fit all screen sizes, including smartphones – showcases the City’s digital brand and previews a new way of organizing content through “topics.” Topic pages feature curated content based on how a resident thinks about an issue, such as owning a car or winter preparedness.

"We heard from residents who mentioned how difficult it can be to search through departments and find the right information on the current website," said Chief Digital Officer Lauren Lockwood. "By pulling content from various departments into Topic pages, we're able to organize resources in a more intuitive way."

While the pilot site focuses on topic pages as a new way to discover tools and resources, the redesigned City website will eventually include additional ways for residents to easily find the content they need, including a more robust menu and navigation bar.

The pilot website is a work in progress and will continue to grow and change in the coming months with an expected full launch of the new Boston.gov site later in 2016. In the meantime, the current website (www.CityofBoston.gov) will operate as usual.

The effort is being led by the City's Digital Team in partnership with IDEO, an award-winning global design firm, and Boston-based Acquia, a leading local technology provider. To receive updates on this project, sign up at Next.Boston.gov.

About the City of Boston's Digital Team
The Digital Team is part of the City's Department of Innovation and Technology and focuses on delivering digital services that are welcoming, highly useful, and designed around the needs of the Boston community.
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One Year In: New York Website Redesign Drives Major Traffic Gains [Dec. 23, 2015]

Submitted on
mercredi, le 23 decembre 2015h
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StateScoop

By Alex Koma

A year after New York state unveiled its first website redesign in more than 15 years, state officials say the update was well worth the wait.

Even Gov. Andrew Cuomo is touting the new NY.gov‘s record-breaking traffic numbers: The website’s page views quadrupled to 17.2 million from 3.9 million a year ago, according to the state’s Office of Information Technology Services. The office also reported seeing double the number of users overall and triple the amount of mobile traffic, and noted the rate at which users leave the site after visiting just one page has declined by more than 20 percent.

Melanie Galinski, the site’s general manager, attributed the bump to significant improvements on the site.

Before the update, “any time we wanted to make a change it required an engineer,” Galinski told StateScoop. “We had a broken search, it was impossible to use on any type of mobile device, full of dead links. It just definitely had the out of touch, out of date, out of order type feel.”

Now she said the site uses responsive design, a more powerful search function and a section that “customizes information around government to the citizen” based on where they live in the state. There were editorial changes as well: The new site lays out available government services in plain language and groups them by category rather than by the agency that runs them, making transactions easier to complete and keeping people coming back for more.

Overall, it’s easier to use, she said.

“I think people aren’t as frustrated as they used to be,” Galinski said.

For the redesign, Galinski and her team decided to work with software-as-a-service company Acquia to use open-source web content management platform Drupal. The changes the team made were crucial for ramping up the site’s mobile traffic, Galinski said. Her staff recorded more than 1.9 million mobile sessions over the last year with the new site, compared to just over 524,000 a year ago. She credits the site’s responsive design for ending the “pinching and squeezing” required to use the old site on a mobile device, and building that traffic in the process.

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The Reverse Web and What Government Must Do to Adapt [Dec. 22, 2015]

Submitted on
jeudi, le 22 decembre 2016h
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The Mandarin

Governments and public agencies should begin thinking of themselves not as depositories of information for citizens to access at will, but instead reposition as technology platforms providing useful insights before citizens realise they are even needed.

This is the position of Drupal creator and Acquia co-founder and CTO Dries Buytaert, who says governments should take heed of the gradual rise of the “reverse web”, wherein fewer citizens actively search for the information they need and instead are provided that information, along with relevant insights and calls to action, by platforms with knowledge of their behaviour.

“I think governments need to think of themselves as platforms,” said Buytaert. “They need to offer a core set of capabilities available to government departments, and then enable agencies to innovate and transform services, or build on top of that platform.”

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How to Build Boston's Next Anchor Company [Dec. 15, 2015]

Submitted on
jeudi, le 14 janvier 2016h
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BostInno

By Kyle Alspach

Plenty of entrepreneurs start companies with the goal of building something small, and then selling. Acquia, which now has 720 employees, and Localytics, which employs 250, were clearly never those types of companies. So it’s no coincidence that they're two of Boston’s best candidates for becoming our next “anchor” companies—firms that grow to large scale, stay independent over the long term, hire people in droves and stimulate the formation of new startups. Acquia CEO Tom Erickson recalled an early conversation he had with company co-founder and CTO Dries Buytaert: “He said to me, ‘I want to build a company that is the only company I ever work in.’”

I’ve spoken with Erickson and Localytics co-founder/CEO Raj Aggarwal in recent weeks to find out how they’ve gotten gone about building for the long term even when they were still very much in startup mode. As Boston continues to ponder whether our companies aren't achieving their full potential by selling out too early—as suggested by a recent MIT study—their insights should be of use to many in the tech community here.

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Acquia Plans Expansion in Australia, Asia-Pac Region [Dec. 15, 2015]

Submitted on
mardi, le 15 decembre 2015h
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ITWire

By Sam Varghese

The Boston-based open source company Acquia is expanding its operations in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region as it seeks to explore more business opportunities, the company's general manager for Asia Pacific Japan, Graham Sowden, says.

Sowden was in Melbourne on Tuesday on a staff-recruitment drive; during a brief one-on-one, he said that he had hired the company's first employee in Melbourne and shortly hoped to double the number. Acquia has a presence in Sydney where there are 12 staff, while Brisbane is home to 13 employees.

Last year the company, which specialises in the Drupal content management system, gained a big foothold in the Australian market by winning a contract to develop up to 450 websites for the federal government. As with many of its other big contracts, the resulting CMS will have its own characteristics which are peculiar to the task at hand; in the case of the Australian contract, it will be known as govCMS. There are eight staff working in Canberra and dedicated to liaising with people there for the govCMS work.

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Everything Old is New Again: How Software Development Will Come Full Circle in 2016 [Dec. 14, 2015]

Submitted on
lundi, le 14 decembre 2015h
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Information Age

By Chris Stone

The history of software technologies has shown two things: trends of the past tend to crop up again, and they always inspire greater innovation

Products of the future have consistently been created through the collaboration and evolution of former concepts. Technologies seen as commonplace today, from the internet to smartphones, all formed out of complex ideas from the past. Because of this, often the best way to predict the future is by taking a look at the past.

Many trends and technologies have emerged and disrupted their respective industries over the last few years. Now, though, these innovations are ready to really take off and make their mark on a larger scale.

Here is what three of the past’s most revolutionary trends will evolve into throughout the next year.

1. What was once activity directory will be federation identity management on the web

Novell and Microsoft built directory services and active directory in the late 1990s as databases to manage identity and keep track of users’ profiles and access to services within networks.

They were mostly used within single networks or organisations. Novell, along with Netscape, helped create LDAP and then tried to federate web-based information with internal directory information on individuals, but the idea happened before way its time.

There are similar “namespaces” or directories for the web (for example, PHP Namespaces). But now, other technical components (for example, complex matching algorithms pairing data with directory information) are finally falling into place to use identity to deliver personalised information to individuals.

The larger question for 2016 is how active of a role the consumer will want to take in managing his or her own identity. 2016 could be the year personal information brokering (PIM) reaches a fever pitch, before adoption.

2. What was once service-oriented architecture will be microservices and distributed computing (container) environments

This idea was all about how application components could provide services to other components via a network’s communication protocol. It was thought to be “killed by the cloud”, or it largely languished because cloud infrastructure wasn’t mature enough at the time – depends on who you ask.

Microservices are applications broken down into small, loosely coupled pieces. Using microservices, businesses can automate out of large-scale failure by isolating problems, and save on computing resources.

In 2016, more companies will run microservices in a containerised environment and automatically isolate components when they fail or need maintenance.

Using these environments, the cloud will become like a utility, and companies can begin to charge for their services based on usage, much like electricity or water.

3. What was once PointCast/push technology will be the ‘big reverse‘

PointCast was before its time as bandwidth and network capabilities weren’t up to the job of delivering personalised content to the user in a “push” broadcast format – in other words, it failed a lot.

Management and large-scale economic challenges plagued the company and ultimately the idea was acquired by Idealab and disappeared.

With more devices shipping without browsers and the volume of data getting infinitely larger on the web, there will be a return to delivering the right information to the right user at the right time in the right context.

With short-format messaging and notifications rising to prominence on mobile devices, the website won’t look like a website for long – it could change as soon as next year like a “big reverse of the web”. The Internet of Things is nothing more than an instantiation of this concept.

When it comes to technology, dwelling on the past is encouraged. By understanding trends of the past – what worked and what didn’t – businesses can better refine their approach moving forward.

2016 will be the year when ideas from technology’s distant and more recent past will step into the spotlight and show their true potential. But even then, the innovation won’t stop.

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What Does the Future of the Internet Look Like? [Dec. 11, 2015]

Submitted on
Dimanche, le 11 decembre 2016h
,
World Economic Forum

By Dries Buytaert

The future of the web will be all about delivering the right information or service, to the right user, at the right time, on the right device. While this idea sounds pretty straightforward, in reality it’s tough to execute. Companies like Google, Facebook and Apple are investing a lot of time and energy into developing “personal assistants” that serve up highly customized streams of information, or even perform tasks through your mobile device. What if we had a similar concept for the web?

I call this idea “B2One”. Within the next decade, we’ll move from B2C to B2One, where we’ll create one-on-one relationships between people and companies. We carry technology with us nearly everywhere, and are consistently providing our devices with inputs – where we are, what we want, and what we’re doing. B2One asks: What if companies were able to make life easier, better and more customized to our preferences by making better use of this data?

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Mobile App is Smooth Sailing for Princess Cruises [Oct. 26, 2015]

Submitted on
lundi, le 26 octobre 2015h
,
Chief Marketer

By Beth Negus Viveiros

A mobile app is helping Princess Cruises’ passengers keep up with events on-ship—and helping the company collect a wealth of customer data and feedback.

The Princess@Sea app first launched on one ship in 2013, the Royal Princess, and will be available on all 17 ships in the Princess fleet by the end of the year, said Nate Craddock, project lead and architect for Princess@Sea product team, speaking at Acquia Engage in Boston last week.

On the average cruise where the app is available, 30% to 40% of passengers download the app, and 15% to 20% register to fully use its features, allowing Princess to track users and tabulate that data.

The app, powered by Drupal, allows passengers to create calendars of not only official shipboard events but to create their own personal events with friends, family and travel groups.

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How Acquia Helped Cisco Save $400M [Oct. 21, 2015]

Submitted on
mercredi, le 21 octobre 2015h
,
CRN

By Meghan Ottolini

Acquia CEO Tom Erickson trumpeted the success of the cloud platform solution provider’s work with Cisco at the Acquia Engage conference in Boston Wednesday.

Erickson held up the company’s experience with Cisco as a prime example of how Acquia has taken companies through critical transformations involving Web content management, cloud computing and Drupal support.

Cisco leveraged the Drupal and Acquia platform to transform its services organization from a traditional call center to a community centered around partners and customers. The update streamlined customer support services, but also saved Cisco a considerable chunk of change.

“They’re expecting to save over $400 million with this digital transformation, not a small thing at all,” Erickson said.

The CEO’s keynote address focused on the various solutions Acquia offers to enable digital transformation, which Erickson called a matter of "life or death" for most companies. Specifically, Erickson pointed out cloud CMS as a crucial solution for modern businesses.

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