Issues of Design Practice
"Big Business Faces E-Commerce Roadblocks" E-Commerce Times (03/24/00); (Greenberg, Paul A.): Despite companies' record investment in e-commerce, they have yet to use the Internet to its fullest potential, according to a study of America's largest companies by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Conference Board. "It's important to remember that despite how quickly e-business has changed the landscape, it's still a new paradigm, especially for large organizations," said Cathy Neuman of PwC. Seventeen percent of respondents to the study, titled "Electronic Business Outlook for the New Millennium," consider themselves e-business innovators, though only 25 percent are still in the "brochureware" stage, and less than half have instituted any serious assessment of their e-business performance. "Understanding user needs" was cited as the greatest challenge, while marketing analysis and research investing was a low priority. The top five concerns were uncertain implementation costs, more pressing priorities, lack of proven benefits, lack of standards, and low use of the Internet by customers and suppliers. Another major issue revealed by the survey is that while 40 percent of respondents can take online orders, only 28 percent can process payments. "We saw how disconnects such as these led to serious e-biz failures over the holidays, with major online retailers getting slammed for inadequate supplies of inventory," said Neuman. On the upside, this year's survey indicated a healthy concern with raising profits and improving the customer experience. In addition, 47 percent of those surveyed indicated they have full-time e-commerce development units, as opposed to less than one-third last year. http://www.ecommercetimes.com/news/articles2000/000324-2.shtml
"Design--Not Just for Aesthetics But a Means to Drum Up Business" Daily Record (03/29/00) Vol. 111, No. 147, P. 1B; (Jones, Marcie): Numerous business executives who have realized the marketing importance of a product's visual appearance will join individuals from the media and design fields in attending a symposium entitled "Redesigning Business for the New Economy." The symposium is scheduled for April 13-14 and will be hosted by The University of Baltimore's Institute for Language, Technology and Publications Design. Conference discussion will focus upon how companies can use aesthetic appeal to communicate with consumers, shape corporate reputations, and portray products. "Designers need to know how to work with business people, and vice versa," claims University of Baltimore English and communications design Professor Ed Gold. "In order to survive, beyond creating new products, companies need to distinguish themselves from the competition," he adds. Conference speakers will include Amtrak's Barbara Richardson; O & H Company's creative director, Brent Oppenheimer; IBM's director of corporate identity and design, Lee Green; Gr8 President and CEO Craig Ziegler; Carton Donofrio Interactive's director of client service, Denise Ryan; Black & Decker's e-commerce division manager, William Girst; and Turner Broadcasting's president of sports and entertainment development, Jan Marie Smith.
"Sites That Never Sleep" Industry Standard Online (04/03/00); (Oh, Jenny): Many businesses, particularly large firms or fast growing but resource-limited Web startups, are turning to Web hosting and maintenance services as a fast and often cheaper option to doing the job themselves. Companies offering business-continuity, caching, colocation, failover, load balancing, site mirroring, and managed Web hosting services are working in a market expected to reach $14.6 billion by 2003, up from $2 billion this year, according to Forrester Research. IBM's $5 billion partnership last week with fiber-optic network company Qwest illustrates the growing importance of offering a full range of hosting services. Once just a provider of high-speed network access, Qwest teamed with IBM to offer its customers complete hosting, monitoring, management, and recovery services. Other players in the hosted services market include Level 3, Digex, and GTE Internetworking. Forrester Research reports that 66 percent of companies cite a lack of internal resources as the main reason for contracting with a Web host. "We would have been under construction for at least six months if we chose to run the servers ourselves, plus we simply didn't have access to that kind of capital as a startup," says Yourownworld.com CTO Ira Dworkin. http://www.thestandard.com/article/display/1,1151,13431,00.html
"E-Commerce Patent Wars Must End" E-Commerce Times (03/30/00); (Dembeck, Chet): Due to the magnitude of the complaints and questions raised, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) will commence overhauling its review process for awarding e-commerce patents. The office has been accused of stunting the growth of e-commerce by granting patents to only a few companies for technology and processes that are not truly unique. Amazon.com was granted a patent for its shopping tool that stores shipping and billing information for its repeat customers, and when BarnesandNoble.com implemented a similar technology, Amazon objected due to its patent. Due to staff and time constraints, the PTO did not recognize that Amazon's technology was not new, states Richard Stallman, a developer of the Linux operating system. After much debate, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has proposed in an open letter on the company's Web site that software and business-method patents last only three to five years, which is less than the 17 years they last now. Bezos also proposed that before patents are issued, outsiders should have the chance to comment, and that a software repository be organized to ensure technology is truly unique before patents are granted. The PTO immediately rejected the proposal for a shorter time period for e-commerce patents. However, it has agreed that more e-commerce community help is needed, along with a software repository. http://www.ecommercetimes.com/news/viewpoint2000/view-000330-1.shtml
"Web's Design Hinders Goals of User Privacy" Wall Street Journal (04/03/00) P. B1; (Hamilton, David P.): The Web's underlying infrastructure is inherently conducive to allowing marketers and advertisers to collect personal data from Internet users. For example, Internet protocol addresses are easily manipulated to provide data about Internet users' online activities. That data becomes even more valuable if Internet users share their personal information on a Web-based form, allowing Web sites to tie the data to user names. Cell-phone users who participate with Sprint PCS' wireless Internet service expose their cell-phone numbers on the Web with each new page they call up. New software will become available to mask users' phone numbers, Sprint officials say. Remote host identifiers are known to leak users' personal data, including users' employers, and even their names. High-speed connections are not as good at protecting users' privacy as are modems, which normally give users a temporary IP address. And of course cookies always present a threat to consumers' online privacy. Relief in the form of the Platform for Privacy Preferences could be on the horizon. P3P, developed by the World Wide Web Consortium, will be tested this summer, but will not be very effective unless adopted by many browsers and Web sites.
Web Design Made Easy
Be aware of Acceptable Use Policies. On this campus, we are bound by the MORENET acceptable use statement, which appears at http://www.more.net/projects/members/aup.html and the campus Computer Users Rights and Responsibilities statement at: http://www.umsl.edu/~webdev/ccomputing/Help/Policies/User_Rights_and_Responsibiliti/user_rights_and_responsibiliti.html (adopted July, 1993).
Some of you requested information about adding counters to your pages. This is now available.
Some of you requested information about adding personal search capabilities to your page. You can get this functionality from Hitbox Personal Search at http://sitesearch.hitbox.com/.
You can obtain instructions on FTP'ing (and other topics) from the Campus Computing site.
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