The WordPress developer’s universe is continuosly expanding and the quality of the latest community releases, as the Bravenewcode vs. Jakob Nielsen case demonstrates, are capable of competing at the same level of professional products, which often cannot rely on the same ease of use.
The WP E-Commerce extension plugin disclosed infinite possibilities for turning a blog into a full featured online shopping site.
To improve User Experience, add new functions and simplify the checkout process, while solving some issues of the originary 3.8 version, I’ve made:
- a “Buy Now” button compatible with the PayPal Express payment method (not only Standard), checking whether user registration is required to proceed
- a new Paypal Express merchant gateway, capable of transmitting a detailed product list and automatically pre-filling some form fields
UPDATE: since version 3.8.3, the WPEC plugin implements a Paypal Express payment gateway updated to API version 71 and to many of the features introduced by me. However some further improvements are still possible, such as pre-filling forms in Paypal with data submitted to the site, or a detailed list of items in the payment receipts.
Take a look to the additional patches and fixes that I made available to the WPEC community on the official support forums
Goal reached? The spirit of e-books, that has been animating fairs, debates, fantasies and assumptions since several years, is now taking shape in concrete objects, with a serious chance to enter into common usage.
We are already witnessing a primitive, almost ideological, “standards war” between the iPad and Amazon’s Kindle, about which will likely become the reference device.
Without dwelling too much on the technical differences, it appears however at first sight that the recent Apple product is designed to perform several functions, where the reading has certainly taken on primary importance, but on the other hand it results to be towed by the other multiple uses.
As emphasized by Gino Roncaglia, author of an essay on the electronic book, the iPad found its killer application in reading; on the opposite, when considering dedicated and exclusive use patterns, each accessory is a potentially added value. In this sense, the iPad can be defined as a “bridge product”, in a prospect much broader than the limited distinction between tablet and laptop, smartphone and e-reader, and so on.
Any difficulties concerning construction details, stability of applications and even usability issues, which draw attention on magazines and websites, may be overshadowed.
The real limits are somewhere else: first, there is still no effective yield on the physical characteristics of the object-book, despite the rapid development of touch screens and the electronic ink, that are expected to match the resolutions of press soon.
I’m not referring to eyestrain, or some nostalgia of the page flip, to the weight and the smell of paper, or the pleasure of collections: I mean the surplus outline frame that expand and complete the text. The development of these elements, called “paratext” by experts, does not go hand in hand with the progress of formats: the tools designed to mark and highlight, note and comment the pages, can be further enhanced and made more agreeable, whereas attention for the standard is still only marginal.
Augmented Reality is no longer virtual: given the value and nature of that augmentation, it ought to be defined as hyper-mediated reality, something we are to some extent already accustomed to, in everyday passing through banners, posters and signs.
As wireless connections and mobile devices keep spreading, a new field of digital applications is expected to commit directly to the user the managing process of a selective, mainly visual, data stream. Several examples of eventual patterns of use have already been developed.
Along the years sci-fi movies presented a plenty of holographic and miniaturized display artifacts, gesture and voice commands that has earmarked to obsolecence not only traditional devices such as the mouse, but also touchscreens and wireless inputs.
It’s been a long time since research found actual realization in military equipment, in order to provide real time connections from headquarters and among the individual soldiers.
Now as in the past, the appointment to everyday life is made possible by the lowering of production costs, and by new crucial requirements such as:
- geotagging services
- an increasing semantic indexing of contents
- better, more tolerant, visual and vocal input recognition algorhitms