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A RedDot Community – This is where it’s at! & What do you want?


WCM Community - Too many barriers to take off
WCM Community
Too many barriers to take off

Today we have a couple of different sources for support and several places to exchange ideas and knowledge or seek a helping hand. I counted so far 2-4 wikis, 2 forums, several private developer blogs, and the official knowledgebase (based on livelink) at OpenText. Open Text earlier this year launched a test community for their UK customers, partners and clients. And Paul Smith tried hard I mean really hard earlier to get some traction on the site (http://wcmcommunity-uk.opentext.com) as he participated and created the majority of some content there.

The attempt of Open Text should be welcomed & appreciated but there certainly are critic points which led me to the assumption that this attempt might fail or furthermore it already did. Why?

Real Communities should be are open – Here are too many barriers

Technical aspects

  • A navigation layout that switches from homepage to content pages
  • Unclear user interface within wiki and forum
  • A search that doesn’t work properly (for example search for “Pre-Executing” returns nothing but there is content)
  • A header that hides 50% of my page when using a (standard!) resolution of 1024*768

Social and personal ascpects

  • A login form to reach content or participate without even knowing what to expect. The site is trying to be a community and covering all aspects available but hides behind a login form. No one can see whats inside therefore why would I register?
  • I need to get approval from someone. You make me feel not welcome.
  • It’s too much from above. RedDot CMS lost trust during the buyout fatigue over the last 4 years and this is a try but a bad place to start.
  • Don’t mix marketing & support OR if you do make it clearly visible – Podcasts and Videos are mostly marketing talk. In a community I want to connect and interact, I don’t want something that feels like advertisement. If there is a new and exciting feature I want to hear about it from my partner or better another customer who is excited.
  • It is understood that this is a test project but communities in general should not be based on regions, Open Test is global and so is social networking
  • It feels wrong. The whole setup is slow, clunky and doesn’t fit together
  • A Community works different to this set up – A Community is not partner driven
  • A community creates its own dynamic but its a person driven thing and not based on faceless partners.
  • It appears to be another marketing platform. Marketing is not social. Marketing is one talks to many and the audience is forced meant to listen (or leave).

Conclusion

Technical – It’s really horrible
I know there are new Web 2.0 tools available from OpenText and I assume they are working better than the ones here. Don’t get me wrong they do their job but communities should run with the best available technologies and with better usability.

Social – As a community it’s not very communing with people at all
There is no easy way to join and once in I found it hard to stay long. I feel excluded and not really interested in participating here. It’s not providing a platform where I would look for support. Some index pages have dates, others don’t. The design makes me uncertain and the purpose seems not to be clear. I think Open Text wants to achieve something with the wrong tools. To achieve the best available outcome for the user means in this case that a community should be open to all. Everyone should be easily able to participate. Therefore one should be able to use latest and fitting technologies and solutions like wordpress, mediawiki and a forum software like phpBB.

Altogether
This is my personal view on this portal and looking at this site and the others available we have got a lot of sites allover the world but no site really combines everything a developer needs, a partner expects and clients deserve. Other vendors are able to set up an amazing developer network. I personally think that Open Text can’t set one up for themselves at this stage from what I’ve seen and from the current perception customers have on them.

What do you think?

Please draw your picture and think about this.
As a customer / partner / developer / freelancer …

  1. What would you expect to be able to work better with your OpenText CMS product?
  2. Which tools do you need to achieve your goals easier?
  3. What can Open Text do for you to make things better?

Some suggestions to make things better that I could think of and would like you to discuss or evaluate:

  • Forum
  • Community
  • Support Site / Forum
  • Wiki
  • Twitter Support (?)

What are your ideas?
And what do you demand?

Please comment below!

What would you make better here http://wcmcommunity-uk.opentext.com/?
Please comment below!

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About the author:

Markus Giesen Markus Giesen is a Solutions Architect and RedDot CMS Consultant, formerly based in Germany. Travelling around the world to find and offer solutions for a better world (in a very web based meaning). He just found a way to do this as part of a Melbourne based online consultant house. On this blog Markus shares his personal (not his employers) thoughts and opinions on CMS and web development. In his spare time you will find him reading, snowboarding or travelling. Also, you should follow him on Twitter!

Discussion

6 comments for “A RedDot Community – This is where it’s at! & What do you want?”

  1. I’ve been a bit out of the loop as of late and haven’t recently checked the OpenText community portal. However, I am not surprised with your comments. I would have supported them 100% back when I last checked (2 months ago?) Checking now – there is at least a lot more content than there was previously (though I guess that isn’t saying much?) – mostly provided by OpenText with a smattering by Paul via eComplexx…

    At the time, the biggest positive was that they were at least making an effort.

    At best, it is working as a OpenText sanctioned resource and a less corporate outlet for some of the OpenText guys.

    I would suggest that if they don’t have the time or focus to make it all encompassing, that they trim it to what is working – the OpenText driven wiki and blogs. Cut the partner blogs (or have them feed from the partner sites) and cut the forums (the only thing worse than not having a forum is having one that you don’t reply to…)

    OpenText had the opportunity to do what none of the other RedDot resources could – make a one stop community shop – and at the same time they could prove their products and their understanding of delivering social web sites. Unfortunately I think they simply achieved the opposite.

    More when I have time!
    Adrian

    Posted by Adrian Mateljan | November 17, 2009, 11:19 am
  2. Agree, agree and agree. I’m probably a little biased towards MS here, since that’s my thing, but if you want to see how it is supposed to be done that is definitely the first place to look.

    Microsoft Developer Centers are a treasure trove of technical assistence, and spruiking new technologies – sure its a bit sales’y but with a tech slant.

    Start here http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-au/aa937802.aspx

    Moderated and well supported forums are also excellent, see here
    http://social.msdn.microsoft.com/Forums/en-au/categories

    If you’re going to purport to be selling world class social media tools you should definitely be eating your own dog food, as they say.

    Posted by Richard Hauer | November 18, 2009, 12:58 pm
  3. Also, as general developer resources go nothing beats Code Project, here http://www.codeproject.com.

    Probably the most useful website (after this one of course, sorry Markus et al), and the Daily Developer News newsletter is probably the best example of keeping your audience engaged – I actually *need* to read it every day or I feel all funny inside, seriously if you are not subscribed you should be!

    Posted by Richard Hauer | November 18, 2009, 1:04 pm
  4. Hey Markus, thanks for this post.

    What would be ideal is a collective of all the RedDot resources. Or even better, a list with feeds from all the RedDot blogs, results from the Google forum, a plugin dropbox, and suggested listservs. An OpenText collective.

    Posted by Tiffany France | November 23, 2009, 8:26 pm
  5. I’ve just landed here after attempting to use the Open Text Knowledge Center, what a mess!

    Thanks for collating some of the resources out there on the web, will defiantly be keeping my eye on this site in the future.

    Posted by Dermot Holmes | November 24, 2009, 2:43 am
  6. @Adrian Get some time! ;)

    @Tiffany Some minor bits and pieces can already be found here: http://www.reddotcmsblog.com/web-solutions-rss-digest but the plugin dropbox seems like a great idea and I’d love to set this up!

    @Dermot You are welcome, and I agree, the solution offered by OpenText is quite difficult to use and hardly helpful when searching for specific files/documentation.

    Posted by Markus Giesen | November 24, 2009, 4:04 am

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