Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A/B testing vs. Multivariate testing

The following articles give us a good overview of the differences between A/B testing and multivariate testing.

Snippets from the articles:

A/B testing consists of creating alternative pages for a specific page and showing each of them to a certain percentage of visitors. For example, if you create 4 different variations of a landing page, 20% of visitors to the website will see each version (4 variations + original). Cookies are used to maintain a consistent user experience—if a visitor sees one version, they will see it again and again when visiting the website as long as the cookies are not deleted.

Rather than testing different versions of web pages, as we do with A/B tests, Multivariate tests experiment with elements inside one specific page. Basically, we define elements inside a page (e.g. a picture, a text or a button) and provide different alternatives of each element. The testing tool will show each element combined with all other elements to visitors. The resulting combinations are derived from the number of elements multiplied by the number of element variations. Just as with A/B testing, however, each visitor sees only one particular combination of elements regardless of how many times they view a page. 

Hence A/B testing is best for testing radically different ideas for conversion rate optimization. Multivariate testing is more granular and is best for optimizing and refining an existing landing page or homepage without doing significant investment in redesign. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Ruminating on Information Architecture

Information Architecture is both an art and science of organizing and structuring your content in such a way that it is very intuitive for the end-user to navigate. As such, Information Architecture is a subset of the User Experience Design field.

The output of Information Architecture is typically a set of wire-frames that depicts that design. It may also define a taxonomy to classify information (e.g. content, products), using a tree-structure hierarchy.
Other outputs for IA include site maps, annotated page layouts, page templates, personas, storyboards.

To put it in other words, IA answers the following questions:
  • How do you categorize and structure information?
  • How do you label information? e.g.  'Contact Us' label would hold all details on contact info.
  • How users navigate through information?
  • How users search for information?
And content cannot be structured in isolation, but depends on the 'users' and 'context', as depicted in this Venn diagram in the famous book by Rosenfeld and Morville.

Jotting down a few links on IA that are worth a perusal.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Ruminating on Liferay CMS

It had been a few years since I had last used Liferay portal. Today my team members demonstrated the simplicity of the CMS (content management system) features of Liferay 6.2 and I was mighty impressed with what I saw.

First and foremost, Liferay's MVC portlet concept makes writing custom portlets so easy. I still remember the struggles we had to go through to code against the initial portlet API a decade ago. But now in Liferay, anyone who understands the MVC design pattern, can quickly product portlets with blinding speed.

Next, I found the CMS of Liferay very simple to understand and intuitive to use. Liferay makes it easy to quickly create and add a web page. Basic content management capabilities are so easy to add; using the Web Content Display application plugin. A 'Web Content' UI component can have a structure and a template. The structure contains the data and meta-data of the content. The templates are instructions for how to display structures, written in Freemarker or Velocity template engine language.

We also have page templates and site templates. There is first class support for themes at the page level as well as the site level.

Document management capabilities are integrated with the core product. Liferay’s content management system manages all file types including images, documents, videos, and web content. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Three Rules for Making a Company Truly Great

What do Custodians do?

A custodian is responsible for the safekeeping and safeguarding of investments & securities on behalf of the owners. Owners could be mutual funds, HNIs, etc.

Securities which are in paper form are kept in safe custody of a custodian and securities which are in dematerialized electronic form are kept with a Depository Participant, who acts on the advice of custodian.

The 1940 Investment Company Act mandates that the fund investment adviser and fund assets be kept separate, which necessitates the role of the third-party custodian. It's important to note that the custodian provides safekeeping of securities but has no role in portfolio management.

Custodians perform important back office operations such as settlement of trades, accounting, collect dividends and interest, etc. This ensures that an accurate record of all trades and cash flows in maintained by the custodian and this helps in preventing any fraud. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Advanced search options in Windows Search

I had always been a fan of Google Desktop and it's ability to surface any information hidden under folders. Recently my friend mentioned that the default search available on Windows has also matured and there are a lot of options available for geeks like us :)

The following MSDN site gives the various options that are available for searching your computer for files, once you open the search window using 'Win+f" key.