For those of us that ever so slightly gag and recoil from the cheesy way Microsoft describes Bing as a "decision engine", the term User Experience Platform is not likely to help us keep our lunch down too long either is it? So who is using it?
Oh it's those web design chaps is it? A user experience platform (breath deeply, try and relax your shoulders and stay with me) is a presentation layer technology that separates the GUI from the back-office architecture that drives it.
Image: Wikimedia Commons
This enables businesses in the cold hard world of the commercially driven Internet to provide white-labelled re-branded versions of websites or web services to multiple channels.
Sound nasty? It's gets worse, we're talking about a platform that gives non-technical business users drag-and-drop build tools to quickly knock up web apps that are supposed to differentiate a company through its online presence and breed customer loyalty.
So is this web designers and developers sidelined by a presentation layer front end that allows red-rimmed marketing executives to define and configure applications and create custom-built widgets by hiding the complex underlying forms? Yes, to a large degree, it is. But is it all bad?
At the outset this all just sounds so non-developer focused. I think most of us that don't wander around with a profit and loss chart tattooed to our bottom would say this is too cosmetic a technology to be interesting.
The reality I fear may be that this is precisely what customers do need in many cases. There are reasonable arguments to suggest that the differentiation and quality of user-experiences ultimately drives greater revenues through online channels.
According to user-experience platform company edge IPK, "In a world of new generation devices and browsers, organisations with web presences are recognising that good customer experience is central to creating brand loyalty and competitive differentiation in an increasingly crowded marketplace."
Oh OK so I always blither on about any technology that puts power in the hands of non-technical users being a potentially dangerous thing. But if edge IPK's edgeConnect 5.0 reduces wasted development cycles and streamlines the configuration process by allowing applications to be developed in a similar way to a mashup with component re-use allowing portions of applications to be reused across numerous projects – then is that all bad news?
I guess not, I just didn't sleep well. Perhaps these so-called "platforms" should be more sympathetically promoted and positioned to encompass the total concerns of the web development shop and remind us just how important that back end is huh?