Dynamic content


0  0 2015-01-04 08:08:42

It is a growing debate in today’s web world regarding static v/s dynamic content. The purpose for choosing dynamic content could be pointed out to user customization, conditioning and easy republishing. Static content too has its own advantages, such as faster loading time, secure way of showing content (without accessing database) and most compatible with every technology. Dynamic websites can make the most of your site and either use it as a tool or create a professional, interesting experience for your visitors. Marketing principles state that customers are more attracted to personalized content which saves their time and caters to their needs easily rather than navigating through a mesh of unwanted strings. 

According to Richard Roth, a software architect and the CEO of On-the-Net , “some general rules to be considered are a simple user interface and flexible, clear functionality”.

What does it include?

There are various types of dynamic content ready to be coded or embedded into a website. Dynamic Web pages were first introduced in 1995 with the creation of JavaScript, originally dubbed LiveScript. Common scripting languages used for such purposes are client-side JavaScript by itself or a server-side scripting language, such as PHP, Perl, and ColdFusion, in combination with a database.

Important elements to generate dynamic content are Navigation, Applications and Animation. Using interactive elements for navigation purposes is one of the most common uses of dynamic content on Web pages. Script libraries, such as Dynamic Drive ( http://www.dynamicdrive.com ) and Open Cube ( http://www.opencube.com/ ) for JavaScripts and Hot Scripts ( http://www.hotscripts.com/ ).

Web applications constitute simple form filling functionalities by the user but can include many complex processes including multi-step transactions. E.g.: E-commerce websites having check out formalities. Common communication tools, such as forums, chats, and lately blogs come under the umbrella of Web applications. Personalisation has become popular not only in the context of Web applications where identifying the user might be necessary, but also in information services online. E.g.: News pages like Yahoo News, for example, Web pages within E-Government which offer greater number of official citizen-government transactions on the Web. Huge sites that serve diverse audiences or provide a multitude of services stand to benefit from personalization. Syndication brings in both data and metadata from the Web and incorporates them seamlessly within one's own site. It is widely used for display of news and updates. E.g.:  RSS 2.0, which uses XML.

Animation is a widely used tool to deliver dynamic content over the web platform. Provided through several formats such as gif images, videos and flash animations etc; animation element has been debated for its efficiency in delivering useful information. Its sole purpose is to provide entertainment for marketing purposes. Ping Zhang of the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University illustrates, in a study, animation's potential negative impact on meaningful interaction with a site due to distraction and visual interference with the users' task. Main information architecture concerns related to animation would be its interaction with other content elements, its visual effects on users, and its usefulness in conveying meaning.

Commonly used technologies for delivering this dynamic content are Java script, Flash, Scripting and Database. Each has their own pro/ cons and limitations but a seamless integration can be brought about.

Is it useful?

Dynamic content offers a more functional website which is easier to update and customise. Even though Dynamic content is what the user wants, it may not necessarily be an optimal solution as it contains its own security issues. Dynamic pages execute code on your server, and can read from and write to your database.  If your website has any security problems, dynamic pages is where those problems will be exposed.

Behavioural marketing includes calculating the number of new users and also those who repeatedly visit your page. For these repeat customers content must be customised in order to retain them. Dynamic content can help bring people back to the site and also help in the search engines from where-in most new users stumble upon your site. Dynamic content can work as a system to allow staff or users to collaborate.

In conclusion, whether or not to add dynamic content depends on the purpose for building the website/ webpage. Currently the norms dictate that it is heavy and difficult to manage dynamic content as it can pose security threats. But nonetheless, it is efficient in attracting customers.


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