If there’s one technical expression likely to induce nausea in most industry watchers it is (arguably) digital (or user) experience.
Sometime even written as User eXperience (UX), this term is being used increasingly… so could it actually mean something?
One firm that is fond of introducing itself with this term is Liferay.
It is (arguably) unfortunate that Liferay decides to introduce itself in such wooly terms, because this is good technology. What the company actually makes is a sort of content management and web application framework all in one.
Liferay software is, in other words, a website (or wider ‘portal’) development platform with a host of built-in features designed to guide web developers towards the common and most suitable architectural shapes and navigation features that on online experience would need.
Hence, yuk, the term digital experience.
Despite the initial UX fluffiness, Liferay is admirably open source and the firm has now introduced a dedicated Liferay Developer Relations team, a new Liferay Community website and a new Liferay Community instant-chat vehicle to make it easier for the open source community to engage.
“The Liferay Community belongs to its members, and will always be exactly as healthy and vibrant as its members make it – that’s who it exists for,” said Bryan Cheung, CEO, Liferay. “That said, Liferay has the responsibility – and opportunity – to ensure that all community members are empowered to have their needs met and are able to share their ideas efficiently and effectively to achieve ever greater success with their applications. As the communities built around these projects mature, we as a business recognize the importance of transitioning away from directing community efforts and towards facilitating engagement. Doing so places developers at the helm and enables the Community to grow in directions that it self-determines.”
Previously, each of the dozen-plus independently developed Liferay open source projects had its own website, resulting in a disjointed experience for community members.
To address this, Liferay has now introduced a central site at community.liferay.com that is designed to enable each project team to continue evolving its specifically tailored web presence, while also providing a unified experience for the Community as a whole.
Slack powered chat
Until now, community members have had two platforms for communication, with technical questions discussed on the Liferay Forums and extensive technical posts available via community blog posts. Now, to equip developers with a much more instant channel for communication, Liferay has introduced new Slack-powered chat functionality for the Liferay Community.
The platform includes designated channels for each Liferay project and user group, making it simple for members to chat in their own languages and coordinate meetups across the community.
So yes, UX is still a little wooly and fluffy here and there, but it’s an integral part of the way we talk about website and web portal development… if only we could get to the guts faster and talk about doing what it says on the tin.