Peter van der Jagt and Danny van Kammen are in Orlando, Florida, to visit the Sitecore Symposium 2019. In this article, they share their experiences of the second day. It was a very busy day, again filled with sessions of all kinds of aspects of Sitecore.

A worrying keynote for breakfast

As usual, after the wonderful breakfast, the day started with a keynote.  Today, it was Dr. Rana el Kaliouby, a pioneer in Human Perception AI. She showed great examples of the usage of face, using emotion to effectively sense emotions in all kinds of fields, like advertisements, illness diagnosis and hiring people. Great, but dangerous. It begins to sound like those scenes in sci fi-movies, the ones where you are followed in public and given personalized ads on-the-go. Wonder where this is going in the near future. Even more important that theFactor.e remains human-first.

Trying to capture human emotions from photo's and video's. The existing technology is already quite advanced.

So many options, so little time

The first keynote was interesting, somewhat worrying, but in the end it had nothing to do with Sitecore.  So, we decided to quickly move on to the ‘real’ sessions of the day. The problem was the usual: too much topics to choose from! So we had to make some tough decisions. Luckily, the level of sessions this year is very high, in general. There are always the ‘why did I come to this session??’ moments. Oh well, time to check the schedule for the next one…

Sitecore Horizon: just what we need

The first session was a real ‘I want this, I want this, I want this!!’ session. Sitecore Horizon. Something that is talked about for a long time, but now fi-na-lly becomes available in Sitecore 9.3, in about four weeks time. Sitecore Horizon is a completely new way to look at editing your pages in Sitecore. Not the Content Editor, not the Experience Editor, but Horizon. Simple, intuitive, autosave, undo/redo, and more. But without all the bells and whistles of the other two tools. Absolutely looking forward to dive into in a few weeks time!

Sitecore also contains some hidden gems we just don’t seem to find and use. Take the Rules engine. Nice for personalisation (there it is again!), but it can be used for soooooo much more. My hands are itching to implement the use cases which popped up in my mind during the session. Thanks Jeffrey Rondeau, for the insights!

This slide shows an outline of the Strategic Experience Initiatives such as Sitecore Horizon

There’s really no escape from personalization

More session followed, which varied in quality but all contained still very useful information about cool techniques and about personalisation (sorry, it’s just such a major factor nowadays). And A/B-testing, one of the easiest tests to configure in Sitecore, is too often overlooked. But without testing, you simply don’t know what works best for your target audience. So at least we are reminded to use A/B-testing more often!

AB testing in Sitecore

Sitecore has multiple options to test your web applications. A/B-testing is one of the tests you should try. It is a relatively easy way to gain insights on which page (elements) are preferred by your online visitors.

Prepping for the Symposium Party and day 3

For the final session we, together with our travel companions from Aeres Groep, Richard Post and Marloes Smit, ended up at the Sitecore Forms session. A very fast paced session from the only guy who seems to really understand Sitecore Form: Bart Verdonck. He shared ten tips about how to use and extend Sitecore Forms. It’s great to see more and more functionality appear out-of-the-box, instead of having to install extension modules. But why even in 9.3 there will still not be the option to send an email to a fixed recipient, I don’t know. Beats me. Clueless. So still have to install extensions.

As we are writing this, it is pouring with rain in Orlando. And tonight, we have the big Sitecore Symposium Party in Universal Studios. So let’s hope it clears up. If not, we’ll still have lots of fun and be extra ready tomorrow for the final day of this awesome Sitecore Symposium!