17 Oct 2003
This article discusses some other ways to provide personalisation to your users.
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Personalization : Other
You've probably read my
on the subject and may have been thinking that there must be more that you can
do in ASP than just that. Well there is. Here are some of the other ways to
personalize to suit the user.
This lets the user move the items
around a bit. Eg.
However, you should be careful
with this method, as the user may chose to put Technology in the left-hand
column which would mess, up the page design. You'll actually find it quite
easy to integrate this method into yesterday's article. It just required
a change in the ASP code (as well as the personalization string).
This one is a bit harder to
implement. It allows the user to collapse the sections (they can also remove
them as well if you integrate it into yesterday's code). Eg.
Click on the [Collapse] to go to -
This one is also quite simple. It
would require setting up some more session variables for each section, which
tell the ASP which areas are collapsed. You would also create a few new subs
for just the headers of the sections and subs for the body/content.
This lets the user chose their own
color scheme, fonts etc. and apply it to the site. Eg.
Using something like this -
To Enable something like this
(using the Black scheme) -
(The items aren't very clear
because I saved it at very low quality JPEG. In real life, its very clear).
To to this, you would save several
schemes in a CSS file or put them as strings in an include file. Then you
would just need to save the scheme name that the user selected to a new
session variable and then implement the right CSS style on the page.
As I mentioned you could let the
user chose a font, font size or even layout templates as well as color.
With new things like ASP.NET and Web Services,
its now very easy to incorporate content from other places into your page. You
Using this you can create a kind of portal page
(like MyYahoo! or Netscape.net). These types of portals usually get users to
come back often because of the variety of content available on the page and
their ability to customize it.
|Using a Database or Cookies|
Using a Database/Cookies
After implementing all of this personalization,
its wasted if a user goes away, comes back and sees it all gone. Usually sites
will store the necessary information in a cookie on the user's machine to keep
track of their preferences (and we all know what other little things we can
get cookies to do). You can also store all/some of the data in a database of
users. You can also use both, one as a back-up or a reference code (for
multiple users on the same machine), or behind-the-scenes customization for
recommendations etc. If you use it right, you can have a very powerful tool
for helping the user as well as spying on them ; )
There are a few other ways that you can
personalize to the user. Simple things like greeting by name and offering
recommendations (amazon.com uses this). Allowing them to upload a picture of
themselves (for the page) or their own background can also help. You should be
able to guess how to implement these because they all are quite simple to do.
In today's internet (where money is everything), getting a user to come back
to your site because they like the way it looks and feels is very good
(depending on the orientation of your site) and personalization with ASP is a
great way to do it.
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