feature: working the web
Caught in the Web With increased use of the Internet, organisations worldover have realised the infinite benefits and challenges associated with using this channel. The Middle East particularly, is experiencing an explosive growth in e-commerce and e-banking services. Pallavi Sharma goes behind the scenes to understand what drives the Web culture and how best it can be improved. Thomas Friedman wrote in his
2005 best-seller The World is Flat, that the latest world revolution is found in the fact that the power of the Internet makes it possible for individuals to collaborate and compete globally and according to reports by Royal Pingdom, a company founded by Sam Nurmi of Loopia, that focuses on covering the uptime monitoring needs of 90% of the companies in the world, it looks like Friedman was right. The company reported a 14% increase in the number of Internet users and a 7% increase in domain names since 2009. In addition new accounts at social media sites like Facebook and Twitter stood at an astounding 350 million, while the number of new e-mail users stood at 480 million and Web sites numbered 255 million as of December, 2010. Organisations in the Middle East have been quick on the uptake in their efforts when leveraging the Internet as a marketing and public relations tool and in recent years have been engaging clientele
COMPUTER NEWS MIDDLE EAST
online via their own Web sites as well as emerging social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. “E-commerce and online brand interaction is growing in the Middle East, particularly in the finance, travel and e-retail segments where, business leaders understand that effective human interaction with a Web site or product is a critical commercial success factor, given the region's diverse nationalities, languages and technical skills,” says Chris Rourke, managing director at User Vision, an independent global crossplatform user experience consultancy that recently announced the opening of a branch in Dubai.
Getting it right With the explosive growth in Web applications organisations are working towards ensuring that the right elements are put into place for the effective functioning of a Web application. This begins with the initial development process, and the first step towards a
strong Web application is establishing front end operations such as presentation, design and branding. “We strongly believe it’s about experience which starts with digital branding and a functional front end that delivers a unique and value added service for the end user. Once we have evaluated the information that goes into the Web site and established the information architecture, it is a matter of designing the application in a way to ensure that this information is conveyed in the right form, to the right person, at the right time,” says Alexander Rauser, CEO of Prototype Interactive, a Dubai based digital agency. Although an intuitive front end is essential, a well-functioning Web application requires equally efficient back end structures to ensure optimum functionality. These include security solutions, qualified support teams that are available 24 X 7 to support predefined standard of workf low in addition to CRM systems, integration of these
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