Websites today are more complex, sophisticated, and multifaceted than ever before. Whereas old-school websites had a “what you see is what you get” design where all relevant text and information was immediately visible, new sites are often stripped-down and even minimalistic.
The only way to make text or graphics appear—or to reveal personalized information—is by interacting with the page, whether that’s by scrolling, hovering, or mousing over elements, or entering values into fillable forms. While those advances make for more attractive, easier-to-use websites, they introduce challenges for businesses that need to archive their web content.
What do traditional archiving approaches miss with modern dynamic websites—and how can archiving solutions do better? That was the topic of Hanzo’s recent webinar, “Web Archiving for Compliance—Getting All of Your Dynamic Content.”
Here’s a quick rundown of what the webinar covered.
Challenges in Archiving Modern Dynamic Websites
Several elements of today’s websites make them difficult to archive with traditional static-capture solutions like screen captures or PDF captures.
- Dynamic content. If your website is like most, it uses video, interactive charts and graphs, and expandable fields to create visual interest. Those dynamic aspects make your website more fun for visitors to use, but they also make it more difficult to archive. You can’t just do a static screen grab and hope to get everything that’s baked into the page. A screenshot or PDF capture only shows one image—whatever was on the screen at the time of the capture—but there’s much more to your website than that one image. While many use screenshots to capture and demonstrate what was on a site, it’s an insufficient solution. The problem is you can’t reflect dynamic content, so you miss out on the entire page’s context and its functionality.
- Personalized customer journeys. Suppose a 50-year-old woman from Alaska clicks on your site, following a link from Forbes. At the exact moment, a 25-year-old man in Georgia gets to your site through an Instagram story. Will both of those people see the same navigation path with the same information? For many industries—especially the insurance industry, where geographic boundaries heavily influence offerings—the answer is a resounding no. Your site might have multiple versions depending on the details about a visitor’s location and personal characteristics. Does your archiving solution capture each of those permutations? When there’s no “typical” user experience of a website, you need to capture every variant, so you’re prepared for whatever a regulator asks to see.
- Advanced content management software (CMS). Do you use Adobe Experience Manager (AEM), Drupal, or SiteCore? These sophisticated CMS systems create gorgeous, heavily personalized websites, but they also introduce archiving challenges. To make them work, you must instruct legacy archiving solutions precisely where to go and what to archive. Your team must invest in some significant upkeep, creating and laboriously maintaining comprehensive site maps.
Otherwise, as your CMS adds new pages, your archiving solution will skip right past them, never realizing they’re there—and you’ll wind up with incomplete archives.
That brings us to another aspect of archiving that many vendors miss: the need for hands-on, human-based quality assurance. Without it, you run both the risk of not capturing all of your content and the chance of not realizing that your archives are incomplete.
Overcoming the Challenges With Hanzo Dynamic Capture
If your website keeps up with the times, you need an archiving solution that handles modern dynamic web design challenges. Your archives should capture everything you can see in a browser, including dynamic content, interactive elements, and personalized variants. Your archiving solution should also find and capture new pages within your site without you wasting time creating and maintaining a comprehensive site map. And there should be real people checking your archives regularly to ensure that you’re capturing everything you mean to be.
Hanzo started over a decade ago with its founders creating technology to address the needs of a web-archiving project for the British National Library, so our roots are both deep and wide. Because we've been capturing web content in its true native format for a long time, we're veterans of website capture. Our broad experience in helping enterprises archive their dynamic web content, whether it be a new design, an advanced platform supporting interactive experiences, or a new data format, has kept us well-versed in the various twists and turns that technology presents. In short, if your website can display it, we can archive it.
With Hanzo Dynamic Capture, you can navigate your archives as if they were live websites. Go ahead and interact with that slider, mouse over that menu, hit “play” on that video; it’ll all work in your archive like it did on the actual site. And you can “set it and forget it,” because we won’t forget about you. Our human QA team constantly verifies that archives are complete and fully functional, so you’ll never miss a moment.
I could write about this all day, but you have to see Hanzo Dynamic Capture in action to truly grasp how it works—and how it leaves its competitors in the dust. That’s why we included a demonstration of Hanzo Dynamic Capture in action on this webinar. If you are interested in seeing how to capture all of your dynamic web content, check out this webinar—or contact us to schedule your personalized demonstration.
Watch the webinar, "Web Archiving for Compliance—Getting All of Your Dynamic Content,” on-demand.