Experience OptimizationPosted: March 19, 2010
One of the great strengths we have at Viewpoints is that in addition to building and maintaining our Viewpionts Technology Platform we also build and operate our own very successful community site, Viewpoints.com built on that platform. Viewpoints.com has its own large and active community of reviewers who participate in many aspects of our platform. This community is more than three years old and has been providing high quality feedback through every iteration, every release, and every new feature. "Eating our own dog food" by running our own site on our own platform gives us an excellent test bed for assessing and improving the impact of features both big and small on our user's behavior on the site before general availability. Rather than flying blind, or using clients as test beds, we have a vibrant community with a great relationship with our developers and community managers to use as a testing ground. The result is that we experiment, adjust, adapt, and optimize using our site and our users, and our partners reap the benefits as only the best and most successful options are rolled out to our platform.
As we continue to modify the platform and extend our feature set each new capability will be launched on our own community first. These launches give us a chance to see how our community reacts to features and understand the impact on conversion, page views, and site activity. We can leverage our strong relationships with the high-volume writers to understand how they react to changes. We can use on-site and off-site activation program metrics to understand how the large group of lower-volume reviewers has reacted to a change. Lastly, we can use web site analytics and server statistics to evaluate the impact of changes on SEO traffic and the site's readers.
Operating our own site gives us a platform for A/B and multivariate testing of critical page flows and calls to action. We have used this capability to test many options and find the solutions that maximize the desired user actions and activities for our own community. These tests happen in our communities, not our partners, so there is no risk of negative impact for them. After a battery of tests the results are shared with our partners in the form of updates to the platform implementing the best alternatives.
Launching on our own site lets us keep a balance between our client's needs to maximize stability and an optimized community with our own strong urge to launch new features and capabilities into production as quickly as we possibly can. By keeping Viewpoints builds frequent and small we are better able to investigate and isolate the source of any changes in site or community behavior, good or bad, with a build. We are also able to start getting feedback from users sooner and make adjustments as necessary in future releases. Our technology supports refreshing the Viewpoints website on a bi-weekly schedule to keep a steady flow of updates. After production impacts and real user feedback have been incorporated into a product we release the features for our platform partners to take advantage of.
The net result is that by operating our own community on our own platform we are able to gain a much deeper insight into the sometimes subtle changes that can lead to huge returns and pass that knowledge on to all of our partners in the form of increase traffic, increased registrations, and increased user contributions.