Thursday, 22 September 2016

Interactive walkthroughs: What are they and how to create them?

From teaching to training, from softwares to technologies, from anything to everything, the world is progressing towards being more user friendly. A giant leap in user friendliness and interactivity came in with the advent of ‘interactive walkthroughs’ aka ‘interactive guides’

In-app interactive walkthroughs are guided tours that help users navigate through the right places in a website or a web-app. They appear as tooltips or balloon tips that highlight particular elements on the web-apps that prompt the user to take an action. These walkthroughs handhold the user till the completion of any task at hand.

There is a huge demand for the companies that provide the above mentioned solutions with the help of interactive walkthroughs. Some promising companies providing these solutions are:

  • Provides solutions for a variety of products, industries and use cases
  • The pricing is high compared to others. One can avail the same functionalities at reduced costs using  WalkMe alternatives.
  • Provides free demo


  • Combines a Javascript frontend that records and plays Walkthroughs with lightweight backend built in Go with a PostgreSQL database that stores Walkthroughs centrally.
  • A certain number of publicly shared walkthroughs can be created free of cost. After the limit is reached, pricing comes into play. Also, creation of  privately shared walkthroughs is charged for.

If you are comfortable with bit of coding, you can use javascript libraries like Hopscotch or Joyride and build it yourself. But, If you want a ready fix, then you can use the above mentioned UI based walkthrough builders.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

How to search for trending topics for your blog

With the changing trend in the way companies interact with their potential customers, content marketing has powerfully captured the advertising platform. The colossal success of Buzzfeed was due to its capability of coming up with content that could trigger the readers' emotional aspect. Similarly, ScoopWhoop, Buzzfeed's clone in India became successful by coming up with interesting listicles which make the reader associate themselves with the content. Today, due to the increased competition between listicles producing websites like ScoopWhoop, Indiatimes, Popxo etc. it has become an enormous challenge for them to come up with trending and appealing content. They do not sit and merely guess the topics which might interest the people. Rather, they used experimentally proven techniques to research what's trending on the web.

Earlier, before the era of Internet, limited space in print and display media was dedicated to advertising. Hence, the popularity of an ad was determined by space it occupied. But, with the advent of The Internet and its technology, an ample amount of space is available to display content and ads. With this scenario, the popularity of an advertisement (read content) is determined not by its size but its quality. Here, quality is a very broad term. Along with being catchy enough to grab user attention, the content also have the potency to capture the viewer's mind. In order to do so, it must contain something for which the viewer already has a penchant for, something the viewer is already looking for. And thus again, research of trending topics become an important aspect of producing quality content.

However important it is to research trending topics on the internet, it still is a challenging task. Here are a few methods described to make this task easier

1. Google Trends

Google being the most popularly used search engine allows one to find out what people are searching at the moment and how its search trend has varied within the last 24 hours. If one is interested in posting a new article every week then the best topic for the content can be easily chosen by following Google Trends for one full week. Another interesting feature of Trends is that it also allows us to choose the categories for which we need search trends. One can also find out the topics trending in their own country or the World. 

  2. Tweetdeck and Facebook Trends

Posts trending on two of the biggest social media platform namely Facebook and Twitter can be obtained using Tweetdeck and Facebook trends respectively.

Tweetdeck is a free and easy to use feature provided by twitter. A large number of people express their opinions on trending issues via tweets. Hence, the topics trending i.e. the topics about which maximum number of tweets are generated is found in the ‘trending’ section of Tweetdeck. Trending topics pertaining to a specific region can also be gathered using this feature.

Similarly, on the right hand side of Facebook’s timeline, topics trending on Facebook can be found. Being the most widely used social network, Facebook reflects what majority of the users are looking for, on the social media.

3. Redditlist

 Reddit is a place that aggregates jokes, news, and interesting tidbits etc and ranks them  according to the number of people who have up- (or down-) voted the post or comment associated with it.  Redditlist is a feature of Reddit which shows the growth in the amount of content generated on a topic in the past 24 hours. This can be used to find the most popular topics on Reddit and their growth variation.

4. Following popular content generating websites like Buzzfeed and Quora-

Apart from being the biggest content and news generating website, Buzzfeed’s trend section gives readers a look at what’s popular on its own site and around the rest of the web. Real time, hard-hitting news stories are also shown in this list.

Quora is a popularly used website which displays content in ‘Question and Answer’ format. The left hand side of Quora home page contains a ‘trending now’ section. However, this section cannot be customized for categories or regions.

 5. Using Social Media Analytics Tools like uberVU
UberVU is a social media analytics tool provided by HootSuite. It has a built in data analysis tool that helps to find out the most important things happening on social media with its ‘Signals’ feature. Spikes and Bursts in activity, new trending stories, real-time influencers, and more can also be tracked using the same.

Using these techniques one can come up with trending topics for their blog but this is just half the battle won. Popularizing the created content is equally and at times more important than merely creating it. With growing inclination towards inbound marketing, the scope of content marketing is all set to reach its peak. We are soon to witness a new era of marketing.

The Great Indian Television Shows

During my eighth grade,  our school organised a seminar to encourage the spirit of social service among the students. We were made to understand  how rapidly our nation would be able to eradicate illiteracy if all the students who have an access to education help those who are deprived of it. They used the slogan 'Each one teach one' repeatedly and it got stuck in my mind. I got determined to help somebody who did not have an access to education but couldn't find anybody around me to do so.
Then, one fine afternoon during my summer vacations(right after my eighth grade) I was relaxing in my house and as a part of the daily routine Shanta Bai(our maid)  arrived.  I opened the door and saw that she wasn't alone, her daughter in law who wasn't older than sixteen years  also accompanied her. I was glad to see her as it suddenly struck me that maybe she is the one whom I can help . She was helping Shanta bai with her chores and meanwhile I thought of having a chat with her. After exchanging a  few words I asked her about her education and she told me she was an illiterate and I got overwhelmed with joy (After all I was a kid :P)
After talking to her and inquiring about her daily routine I came to know that she used to be free during the afternoon. I talked to her about my plans to help her with her education and all and expected her to be very happy and excited  about it. She took a pause and said "I don't have time to study". I reminded her that she is left with some free time in the afternoon and during that time she can come to me and I would love to teach her. Before I could finish my sentence, she said abruptly  "I'm not free that time, I have a daily soap(one of those Ekta Kapoor serials) to watch". This sentence broke my heart. I tried to convince her but she was very adamant about watching the show and prioritized the show before her education.
Television, something which was once seen as a medium of spreading awareness and literacy among the backward sections of our country is now maybe the biggest barrier to education at least in  rural India.  It has ruined more lives than our traditional and quintessential  faux pass. The visual electronic media has undone all the positives that DOORDARSHAN once targeted to implement in India.
The biggest (dis)advantage of television is that it makes us forget all the burdens and failures of our life and takes us to a virtual world. Earlier, during the supper time, people used to talk with each other, used to discuss all the problems of life but now all they do is to watch what is going on in their favorite sitcom. One is not worried about his job but rather worried about a character's married life in a serial. I guess its high time that we learn to respect our values and people more than the characters in a shitty daily soap. Its time to take the remote control of television in our hand rather than giving our remote control to it.