The next thing: Mobiles, Minis, Flakes, et. al

I’ve been seeing this coming and talking about it internally for the past few months, driving my co-workers nuts. I have even posted about the concept a number of times.

Well, it’s here: the concept of a ‘universal landing page’ that users can own and add the content that suits them.

While I don’t have a name for the landing page myself (I’m sure there is one out there somewhere; ‘uber personalized site’ is so clumsy), I’ve been calling the consumption of these data “Information Snacking“.

Information Snacking is how users consume their data; whenever, wherever they please. It’s stock quotes on the run, email on a bus and alerts / notifications anytime. The convergence of broadband, content and devices makes this possible, and users will demand this, with a vengeance.

Among the other things they’ll demand:

  • Absolute control over the data they choose to snack upon.
  • Absolute control over the venue when they snack.
  • Freedom to grab content from a variety of sources.

While I’m not declaring the world of web portals dead, the landing page concept provides users the flexibility to select the data they want from a variety of competitive sources.

Here’s the concept. Imagine a single page that supports:

Let’s look at the list.

  • News and the latest bits from Slashdot are pretty obvious. But, if the user has Yahoo Finance, why the link to Schwab? Perhaps this user (okay, it’s me) has an account at Schwab and can get real-time quotes by passing credentials to the feed, instead of the standard 20-minute delay.
  • Same with email: why would the user need two email accounts on this page? First of all, convenience: avoiding the need to log in to separate web pages when, at a glance, they can see if they’ve mail. They’re one-click away from their inbox.

So, what’s wrong with the current portals? Nothing. I enjoy http://my.msn.com/ and http://my.yahoo.com/. However, I cannot do cross-pollination between the mail services at present, or add MSNBC to Yahoo, and so on (and so on, and so on).

“What a great idea!”, you might say. “Why isn’t anyone doing this?”, you might ask. Well, there are a few sites out there that provided these types of landing pages, including services from the majors (and lots and lots of minors) are appearing every day. However, the smaller sites couldn’t make the numbers work, and one by many, disappeared. I can verify that PageFlakes is still up and running if you want to see the concept for yourself.

You’ll see that each of these offers a variety of ways to link to content that is acquired off the landing page. Users WILL create accounts on one (or more) of these sites, and customize to their hearts’ content. These sites will eventually be ‘smart’ enough to provide the rich personalization experience even on a mobile phone or the 10′ experience enjoyed by Windows Media Center.

Speaking of mobile .. it’s quite possible that mobile devices are torpedoing these pages on the web. The mobile device is, by it’s very nature, an Information Snacking device .. a composite application, with you as the center.

Pick your landing page or your device, connect your data and snack away!

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About Michael Coates
I am a pragmatic evangelist. The products, services and solutions I write about fulfill real-world expectations and use cases. I stay up-to-date on real products I use and review, and share my thoughts here. I apply the same lens when designing an architecture, product or when writing papers. I am always looking for ways that technology can create or enhance a business opportunity .. not just technology for technology's sake. My CV says: Seasoned technology executive, leveraging years of experience with enterprise and integration architectural patterns, executed with healthy doses of business acumen and pragmatism. That's me. My web site says: Technology innovations provide a myriad of opportunities for businesses. That said, having the "latest and greatest" for its own sake isn't always a recipe for success. Business successes gained through exploiting innovation relies on analysis of how the new features will enhance your business followed by effective implementation. Goals vary far and wide: streamlining operations, improving customer experience, extending brand, and many more. In all cases, you must identify and collect the metrics you can apply to measure your success. Analysis must be holistic and balanced: business and operational needs must be considered when capitalizing on a new technology asset or opportunity.

2 Responses to The next thing: Mobiles, Minis, Flakes, et. al

  1. Pingback: Information Snacking in the real world « OpsanBlog

  2. Pingback: Information Snacking on Your Mobile? « OpsanBlog

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