set up for a win

I came across the site for this project and was instantly skeptical… but definitely intrigued. Cloudo is currently under development by a Stockholm, Sweden company by the same name. It aims to provide a free web-based (advertising supported) computer OS experience. Your computer on the web, with customizable UI sets resembling Linux, Windows, and Mac OS X so that users will feel comfortable in familiar surroundings. Built on top of the LAMP-stack (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP), Cloudo is making all the right moves by utilizing the open-source infrastructure. They are balancing the give and take of the new marketplace by being an admittedly for-profit company. However, the product is free to use and supported by advertisements, so the burden of payment lies with the corporate identities, not on the end users.

Cloudo is also working in the new economic model by remaining open and transparent. They are currently in “Developer Alpha” where Cloudo is open to community members who make a commitment to creating options for general use and building add-ons and mods to make use of the Cloudo API. This creates a set of invested consumer evangelists and niche information specialists like software developers. This also creates buzz and ensures that when the site opens to normal Users it will not be an empty skeleton, but with an array of initial choices.

Cloudo continues to provide an excellent example case for new media marketing because it hits the triple target. First, it is providing a convenient (and free) online solution with real potential value for a multitude of users. Second, in addition to Cloudo’s base services it offers and empowers users with the ability to customize their experience, either by selecting from community-provided addons or else by opening the API to allow community authoring to take place to begin with. And finally, because the Cloudo product is designed to also allow for integrated social networking and collaborative work environments as well as individual space, combining community with customization.

I plan on emailing the project contacts and trying to get in on the developer alpha as a potential consumer evangelist. I want this to work out well for them, because if Cloudo manges to succeed well, then it’s a reassurance that the theory for Interactive Communications is on the right path after all. If it doesn’t, then more study or more time will be needed.

I’ll keep everyone posted. Even if I don’t get into the alpha development crew to poke around, I have pre-registered as a user and when Cloudo opens, I will try it for a month as a personal experiment and blog about my experiences.


2 responses to “ set up for a win

  1. I took a look at widgetplus. Here’s my feedback.

    Function is not enough, and the UI is lacking. The web page doesn’t give me enough information on the home site to explain just exactly what WidgetPlus is, why it works, and why potential users should give it a try. I poked around the site for about 10 minutes (I was going to leave after 2 minutes of trying to figure out what the site was all about, when I stumbled across a visually hidden “DEMO” link).

    Once I got inside the demo the icons were small and I could see no way of increasing the size. The font treatment for the icon labels wasn’t working with my browser well (Firefox, so it was very hard for me to figure out what I was looking at. I finally played chess for a minute or two.

    My advice on WidgetsPlus includes the following. A) Completely overhaul your website from the ground up because the current one is a barrier to new business, not an entry point. You need to communicate more of the “DUH” factor, because to you folks on the inside busy working on the interface, it’s self evident what WidgetPlus is all about, but it sure as hell isn’t so for the non-involved.

    B) Make a guided demo. I don’t actually need to try the program out for a spin until I’ve been shown what it can do and can make up my own mind about whether or not the solutions you are offering make a good fit with my needs. Consider a slideshow, a YouTube video of the product in use… something to highlight the features and introduce how the product is being positioned. Once I see what the sales features are, so to speak, I can make an informed decision whether or not to move into the playing around phase.

    C) No, seriously. Redesign the website from the ground up. You’re leveraging web-based tech solutions … but your current site is confusing and doesn’t really keep up with the look and feel of up-to-date websites. If you made a tactical decision to focus on the code engine and let the design sort itself out later… later is now, ESPECIALLY since you are advertising being out of Beta.

    Best of luck. If you agree with my assessment and want more specific fixes instead of generic critiques, I’m available as a consultant for the communications planning and information architecture on the front end, just drop a line through my comment email addy.

    To be fair, when Cloudo opens up, I’ll revist and do a comparison of the services. Thanks for letting me know about your site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s