Mashups and Shopping By Color
At the TDWI Executive Summit I talked about the web mashups, BI and the blurring between the two. One of the mashups I showed was ColorPickr, a nifty app that pulls images from photo site Flickr based on your choice of color from a palette.
I use this as an example because the typical reaction from the IT audience is "Neat. But it's not really useful for anything." You can come up with a half dozen right off the top of your head if you've worked on a web web site, for example finding images that match the site color scheme.
I use a more compelling example to emphasize that you're focusing on the wrong thing if you see mashups as useless. Think of the last time you shopped online for clothing. What if you want a blue shirt?
One of the features of all shopping sites is what the web folks call "faceted search" allowing you to narrow choice based on product features. In data warehouse terms you can think of this as a constraint on attributes in the product dimension.
Yet none of the shopping sites I'm familiar with take advantage of presentation opportunities the web offers. They still merchandise online in the same way they lay out shelves in a store. So you filter by type of clothing, style, gender and size. No way to search by color. That would be a crazy way to organize shelves in a store, but there's no reason you can't do this online. It can even make the experience more fun.
Today Yahoo! introduced a new "shop by color" feature on the Yahoo! Shopping site. Exactly the sort of thing I was talking about.
The problem most people have is one of perspective. Many online mashups and the ideas behind them are useful well beyond the original concept. One of the things I like about mashups is that they evolve from a sense of play as much as from a specific goal. This is a creative element that's been lacking in many IT shops. The web 2.0 crowd bring some of the fun back to working in IT.
Labels: color, ecommerce, flickr, mashups, shopping, web2.0
Posted by Mark Sunday, September 16, 2007 1:17:00 PM |