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Markus
Posted by Markus

12 Apr 2013 3:06 PM
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Affino 7.1 is now out, and it’s a major release in every way. Whilst there are many aspects to this Affino release, the two key threads are improved scaling and greater engagement. Affino 7.1 has been significantly re-architected to scale with new search and analytics engines. With the release of Affino 7.1 we will also be migrating sites to our new super-scaling cloud.

 

We’ve rolled out big updates to many core Affino services including Messaging, Search, Analysis, Customer Ladder and Relationships. We’ve also introduced great features such as Store Credits for incentivising customers, and Design Panels for creating great popups.

 

The combined improvements in the Customer Ladder (engagement), Messaging and Analysis add up to a breakthrough for sales and marketing automation. The new Messaging Campaigns for bulk premium, personal and SMS messages, come with advanced targeting, filtering and triggering options and great analytics.

 

Site Search has been completely re-engineered around Solr which gives Affino greatly improved performance on searches, and allows for much smarter searching. Core management elements such as relating content have also seen big updates focused on making editorial teams much more productive.

 

Altogether there are nearly 400 great new updates in this release, many of which will be transformative when fully rolled out on existing Affino sites.

 

We have also fixed most of the identified low-level issues which arose from the Affino 7 launch, and which are inevitable with the introduction of such a significant new platform.

 

Upgrade Guidance

 

The Affino 7.1 release is a signifiant update, and unlike most Affino releases, this one takes some time to run as we’re completely restructuring all the analytics data and refreshing the search indices. Given how intense this update is on the infrastructure, and that your site will be moved to the new hosting cloud, it is essential that you co-ordinate your update with your account manager.

 

Also in this release is a significant change to how most images are presented as you can now set the margins around the main images using Design Styles / CSS. It is essential to review your pages to ensure that the images are presented as expected, and note that you can now optimise the layout.

 

It is essential that

... Affino 7.1 Release - Super Scaling and Deep Engagement
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Markus
Posted by Markus

22 Nov 2012 5:24 PM
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Our priority for Affino 7 has been to make the most productive platform available for running your business online. The integrated nature of Affino means you only have to manage your community, content, products, design, , promotions and analytics in one place. This is by far the most effective approach for managing an online business. What we have done with Affino 7 is to improve in every way how how you manage your online business.

 

Affino 7 has a New Control Centre, with the pages delivered by a New Page Generation Engine, and it runs on a New Cloud Architecture, all with the intent to deliver the best Social Commerce platform on the market today.

 

New Look Affino

We’ve brought together great productivity ideas from the Affino user community and the Comrz team. It has meant re-styling, re-factoring and re-architecting Affino from the ground up to be more productive and easier to learn. Affino 7 also has a great new minimalist look, and now works great on tablets and mobile devices. With Affino 7 we’ve set a new baseline which means that every new element we roll out in Affino will be that much better.

 

 

Affino has a brand new Control Centre and Live Edit tools. It is now optimised whether you’re using it on a desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile device, so you can use it anywhere any time. We’ve really raised the bar for every management interface in Affino. You fill find almost every task easier to do, with great new short-cuts, lookups, help items, searches, lists, entry forms, and navigation elements.

 

Affino has been brought right up to the leading edge with it’s platform support. It now runs on the latest technology which means it is faster, more reliable and more scalable than ever before. It also means that the Comrz team will be able to accelerate the development of the Affino platform in the weeks and months ahead.

 

There’s a great new Design Centre. The Design Objects are now completely managed within native browsers with no Flash requirement. All the Design Control screens have seen significant updates and Affino now has better than ever custom CSS support. We’ve also introduced some much needed enhancements such as padding on Design Cells and full Font styling, along with a breakthrough ability for you to be able to secure each and every Design Element

... Affino 7 Release
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Markus
Posted by Markus

24 Jul 2012 5:28 PM
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For any online business to succeed and remain relevant, you need to continuously review what is and isn’t working. At a minimum you shuld do an annual review where you check your assumptions and apply your learnings for the year.

 

We’re often asked to help work through this process. Below is a useful checklist when you’re looking to update your online business.

 

Target Market

 

The most important element is identifying your target market, i.e. who’s your ideal client, the second level client, third level client etc.

 

You need to identify the tone of your site, i.e. if your site were a person who would they be: gender, age, look, way of speaking.

 

It’s well worth checking out Stefan’s excellent Brand Profile Creation piece for more details.

 

Barriers

 

The most important barrier you have to overcome when setting up an onine business / website, is Trust. You have three key barriers that users have to overcome:

 

  • users need to get to trust your brand
  • you (i.e. the people on / behind the site)
  • and the products / services you’re selling.

 

You have to put enough information online so that users who do not know you / your brand / your products are able to buy into them.

 

It’s essential that you take your customers’ perspective on this, don’t assume they have any knowledge of who you are unless your company / brand is a household name already.

 

Revenues

 

What are going to be your revenue drivers?

 

Rank them in order, e.g. subscriptions, service / product sales, ad revenues.

 

These define the priority in how they will be showcased / ordered.

 

Priorities

 

What are the priorities you have with the website, e.g. customer experience, client sign-ups, revenues, usage growth

 

These determine a lot how you build your pages and what you showcase.

 

In our experience the simpler the proposition and presentation, the more likely business will take off online.

 

Hooks

 

What are going to be the hooks that bring people back to your site regularly, e.g. blogs, news, stats, tools.

 

Do an analysis of what’s driving the most traffic on your current site.

 

Without these hooks, people won’t see what else you have to offer.

 

... Checklist for Evolving your Social Commerce Site
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Markus
Posted by Markus

16 Jul 2012 10:02 PM
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Affino 6.0.16 is the final significant Affino 6 release. It’s the culmination of a greatly improved Affino user experience where almost every interface has been enhanced during the course of the last couple of years. We’ve focused on smoothing out the remaining rough edges in Affino 6 and it’s now a whole level easier than it’s ever been.

 

This release sees the introduction of Cookie Policies to meet the EU Privacy Directive. These are smart and geo-targeted so that only users from the relevant countries are presented with the policy dialogue. Additionally continued browsing is registered as implied consent so as to minimise any disruption to the user.

 

Affino ecommerce makes yet another big step forward. In this release we’ve significantly improved shopping baskets which are now editable, can be taken over and handed back to customers, or created from scratch and assigned to customers. The baskets also have greatly improved audit tracking and styling. There are also dozens of significant updates throughout the shopping experience which mean that buying is now more engaging than ever in Affino.

 

There are some major usability improvements in this release, in particular the new Guest Browsing Mode which allows you to instantly switch to the customer’s point of view when managing the site. It is now much easier to navigate through the Control Centre with better browser tab naming and highlighted drill-down links throughout the Control Centre.

 

As with all Affino releases, we have upgraded the integrations with a number of 3rd parties to reflect their changed APIs. We also integrate with Broadbean for the first time for incoming job briefs. The integration updates with Facebook, LinkedIn, PayPal, Metacafe and Google Merchant Centre are critical if you integrate with any of them.

 

The improvements we have also made to: the checkout, publishing workflows, recruitment, funding platform, geo blocking / targeting, and user export make this an essential update if you’re using any of those elements.

 

This is also going to be the best tested, most polished Affino release to-date, as we further evolve our quality assurance processes and build up our core project management team. We’ve added a whole new layer of QA in this release so that you can have the best possible

... Affino 6.0.16 Release - Core Affino Updates
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Markus
Posted by Markus

30 May 2012 10:51 AM
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This is a well rounded Affino release in that there’s something for all Affino users. Beginners will have a lot less questions, as we’ve answered hundreds more by moving settings into context, simplified options, provided more meaningful help and added the new in-context Help Guides and Features. Shoppers will find the new optimised checkout to be simple, clear and fast; and store managers will find it is now much easier to set up and manage stores. Recruiters will love the new recruitment engine and all the updates we’ve done to smooth the entire recruitment process.

 

Startups will find raising project finance has gotten a lot easier with all the updates we’ve made to the Funding Platform. Designers will love the improved styling on the Design Elements. Marketers have improved tools for recommendations, campaigns and lead generation and better analytics and reporting. Community Mangers have the great new Member Profile DE for better personalisation, improved notifications and user management. Finally, Developers have access to the great new content and authentication APIs.

 

We’ve spent a lot of time setting up new Affino instances over the past couple of months to test specific use cases such as the new Funding Platform and Recruitment engines. This has highlighted a number of issues with creating and running multiple sites on a single Affino instance and we’ve resolved all the issues we came across. It means it’s now considerably easier to set up and run as many Affino sites as you want.

 

Affino’s quality level has been raised considerably in this release. We now have a great new Business Analyst / Project Manager / QA Pro in Catherine Phillips, who will be a key member of the team driving forward Affino’s excellence. She brings a lot of smarts, insight and attention to detail which will be reflected in Affino moving ahead. We’ve also developed a number of new regression tests and added more test instances to ensure we’re delivering the best Affino releases we can.

 

Make sure that you check out the new Feature Guides and updated Help Guides, as well as the brilliant Affino Design Elements page which crams most of the Affino DEs into one very long screen.

... Affino 6.0.15 Mindmap
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Markus
Posted by Markus

30 May 2012 10:22 AM
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Affino 6.0.15 Release - Ecommerce, Usability and Recruitment

 

This release is the culmination of seven months work on the new Optimised Affino Checkout. During the course of the last six months we have rolled out dozens of incremental improvements (and fixes) to the checkout process to drive higher conversion rates. The checkout experience has been taken to the next level with a complete revamp for simple, fast checkouts. We’ve also rolled out a new ecommerce engine, greatly simplified the ecommerce setup and made many nuanced enhancements to the whole ecommerce experience.

 

We continue our focus on Usability with in-context Help and Feature guides in each Control Centre. We have also greatly improved the process for setting up and running multiple Affino sites on a single Affino instance. Hundreds more elements have been made more intuitive than they were previously, and a lot of rough edges have been smoothed in this release.

 

Recruitment also sees a great leap forward with dozens of essential enhancements, including a great new Job Search Design Element, recommended jobs, refined CV handling and much more.

 

Affino’s style has also subtly improved in this release. Many elements now look better than before, in particular Affino Design Elements, but also the font sizes and proportions, many notifications, most ecommerce and recruitment elements, member search, the funding platform and events.

 

Upgrade Guidance

 

This is a Major update which sees amends to everything from registering, logging in, adding to the basket, checking out, member’s profiles, all Design Elements and much more. It is essential that you set aside time to review your site after the update. Ensure that you liaise with your Account Manager prior to the update and update during Comrz support hours to ensure a rapid response to any issues.

 

Note: you are strongly advised to become familiar with the new checkout on Public Staging prior to updating to this release. It is a complete reworking of how it works and it’s essential that you are prepared for the changes.

 

It is essential that you run through the complete update process starting with the Affino Updater, followed by the System Update, Re-Initialise Site, Design Element Update, Skin Update and finally Clear Guest Cache; all of which are available on

... Affino 6.0.15 Release - Ecommerce, Usability and Recruitment
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Markus
Posted by Markus

10 May 2012 10:10 AM
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Over the past year there have been almost 100,000 posts on the various Affino forums, which makes them by far the most active part of Comrz’s support and of the Comrz website. There are lots of other ways users can find the answers to their questions faster and more effectively.

 

Below are the key ways you can answer your questions in the fastest way:

 

Application Bar

 

The Application Bar (which sits at the base of every one of your web pages when you’re logged in as an Editor) is the most useful tool you have in your arsenal. A good 10% of questions we get involve things that can be found right on the page. The Content, Design and Text tools allow you to go right to the appropriate settings and profile screens for most elements on your live page.

 

The Live Design mode does the same for aspects of your page design. It means that you’re rarely more than one click away from the settings or creating new content within the part of your website you’re in. Get familiar with the Application Bar, click on the various links, see how you can instantly copy your article to create a new one, or tweak and regenerate your Skin (page design).

 

Control Centre Super Navigator

 

The Control Centre Super Navigator (the navigation menu on the left-hand side) can immediately take you to whatever management interface (and answer 20% of your questions), content or media item, or your personal favourites at a click. If you’re not certain where to find how to export content, simply type ’export’ on the Control tab and you’ll see all the different types of export you can do from Affino.

 

Likewise, if you want to find a specific article, or media items, or section then simply go to the Content tab and type out the name, then hit the Search icon. You’ll get a list of all the items with matching titles. Between these two options you can quickly track down pretty much anything. The My tab is also incredibly useful as it will show you your content stream and allow you to instantly go back to any of your recent content.

 

In-line Help

 

You can always turn on the in-line help when editing in the Control Centre. This will provide (usually pretty useful) information on what a specific field is for. It can be especially useful for aspects such as import and export

... How To: Answer your Affino Questions Fast - Updated
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Markus
Posted by Markus

21 Dec 2010 4:50 PM
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This is a significant stability release for users who are running Affino 6.0.4. It is recommended that you update to this version at the earliest opportunity. There are fixes across the board and a couple of great new features that didn’t quite make it into the last release.

 

Owing to the timing of this release (i.e. just before the Christmas Break), we have excluded a number of the latest project related developments from it to ensure the smoothest Affino experience over the festive season and into 2011. These will be released in a further Affino release early in the New Year.

  Upgrade Guidance

 

This is a minor release following on from the major Affino 6.0.4 release a couple of weeks ago. It is recommended that if you’re on 6.0.4 that you update at the earliest opportunity since there are key fixes across the board in this release.

 

If you are having issues with your catalogue items, in particular with catalogue item attributes and inventory variations then most likely your custom catalogue item templates will need updating which is outside the scope of this update. 

 

It is essential that you run through the complete update process starting with the Affino Updater, followed by the System Update, Re-Initialise Site, Design Element Update and Skin Update; all of which are available on the Settings > Update screen.

  Key Enhancements

 

Predictive Site Search v2


Affino Site Search sees major improvements in its predictive search capabilities so that it now shows a great preview panel with the search results categorised, with thumbnails and teasers where relevant. Catalogue Items will also show prices, allowing users to instantly have the key information at their fingertips.

 

Online Forms v2


Online Forms were one of the first elements to be developed in Affino and they have hardly been touched in ten years. This release sees a major upgrade with the release of the new Online Form Design Element which means that Online Forms can now be included in any page either in the form of a Button Activated form or a full Inline form.

 

Online Forms are now all instant so that they are now subm... Affino 6.0.5 Release

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