Top 3 user experience integrations for your XWiki website

Jul 26 2019

Thinking of a new website? Or have you ever felt that your existing website is a boring, monotonous one lost in the sea of thousands of unique, interactive websites? Here is how you can make things a little more interesting and turn the tide in your favor. Comes in: website user experience (UX). It refers to how your users use, see and remember the website.

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What is "user experience" on a website?

To understand user experience (UX), you will have to know what user interface (UI) is and what it does. User Interface (UI) is a medium through which users interact with your website. Conventionally, it means action buttons, text, visuals or any tool that triggers interaction.

Now, user experience (UX) in website design is about how the user feels, either when interacting with the UI elements of your website or simply when onboarding your website. User experience (UX) maintains the flow and engages the customer throughout their journey on your website. A well-designed user experience (UX) will have the power to influence the mood or behavior of the user interacting with your website.

In this article, we will talk about how some simple tweaks can enhance the user experience (UX) for your public website based on XWiki, and delight your users.

1. Privacy matters, and its user experience as well

As of 25 May 2018, the European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has become an enforceable regulation in EU law. It covers data protection and privacy for all individual citizens of the European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA) as well as the transfer of personal data outside the member states.

If your public website is serving individuals from the EU and you - or embedded third-party services like Google and Facebook - are processing any kind of personal data, you need to obtain prior consent from the visitor/user.

To increase user experience (UX) for the public websites built with XWiki, you can use the free app GDPR Cookie Consent to achieve and maintain cookie compliance. The app describes the data processing needs in plain language to the visitor/user, before processing any personal data.

Different configuration options are available, including updating the look and feel to match your website colors or using text/labels in the language of your target users.

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The GDPR Cookie Consent app on a standard XWiki

For further details, you can take a look at the blog article on the GDPR compliance with XWiki's cookies consent application.

2. Reduce the communication gap

One of the most common features for a public website is the "Contact us" form. It’s where a new user goes when they have a question or needs precise information regarding your organization. Website user experience (UX) best practices suggest that nowadays' must is real-time communication. However, the old-fashioned “contact form” does not offer a feeling of direct communication and will downgrade your user's experience.

Integrating a Chat solution in addition to the "Contact us" form will not only improve communication with your users but also add a personal touch to the conversation.

For example, Zendesk offers a flexible Chat solution including a "Lite" free version which could be a good starting point for a small business/organization. The chat widget can be easily embedded within the XWiki platform by just adding the Javascript code on one of the Administration fields (e.g. the end of the “HTTP Meta Info” field from the wiki Administration section) with an Admin user.

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Embedding Zendesk on XWiki

The “Chat” widget will be available on the right bottom corner and the message window will pop up upon click.

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Zendesk Chat embedded on XWiki Cloud

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Zendesk Chat embedded on xwiki.com

3. A powerful search engine for great user experience

Search is one of the core functionalities for any public website and the now, standard, search icon.png icon stands proudly on the homepage of dozens of the world's best websites. When you have a lot of data to share, it’s important to help your users quickly find what they are looking for while still keeping an eye on their experience on the website.

As of 2013, XWiki has been using the powerful Solr search engine to index the wiki content which brought a superior search experience to the product:

  • More relevant results and extracts in search results,
  • Faceted search,
  • Better advanced searching,
  • Support for clustering,
  • Google-like searching (i.e. no need to use wildcards),
  • Better translation support,
  • Improved performances,
  • And generally speaking, all the niceties provided by Apache Solr.

To increase your website's user experience (UX), the search engine can be customized to better index the data and offer the most relevant results. Our team has recently delivered such a project for the Historical Dictionary of Switzerland (DHS).

The DHS is an encyclopedia on the history of Switzerland which aims to take into account the results of modern historical research in a manner accessible to a broader audience. The new public website built on top of XWiki has been online since May 2019. 

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The Solr search engine on the homepage of The Historical Dictionary of Switzerland

Understanding the importance of user experience (UX) on your website is imperative when it comes to managing it. In the end, it is what can either make it or break it. Users seek more than a simple, lifeless interface, which is why well-thought-out user experience (UX) will point you in the right direction and help users feel at home on your website.

What other integrations do you find worth mentioning when it comes to enhancing user experience (UX) on a website? Feel free to share it with us and we will add it on the list! 

Oana Florea - Customer Support Manager @XWiki