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Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - News

Recent months have seen substantial activity on the multilingual aspects of the wiki. The French fabrics section has been greatly expanded, providing a more solid base for serving a sizeable clientele of the wiki. And most recently, a German version of the translation dictionary has been developed, for people interested in finding equivalent terms between the English, the French and the German. The cross-links between the different versions still have to be completed, but the basic terminology is pretty much in place now.

The number of countries served by the wiki has continued to grow - the number now stands at 154 countries. Only the African continent is now severely underrepresented - Europe is completely covered, most of Asia except parts of South-east Asia and the western block near Europe, and most of the Americas.

The fall period has also seen a new rise in the number of people using the wiki - this has grown rapidly to its current level of just under 3000, although there is no indication yet of a plateau. Interestingly, this growth spurt actually preceded the change on how Google indexes its websites and hence cannot be solely attributed to that change, although it doesn't seem to have unduly affected the wiki either.

Posted by gedwoods

Friday, September 24, 2010 - Who comes to the wiki?

The addition of a blog to the fabrics international wiki is an attempt to address a growing number of issues and comments that it seems useful to share with the growing fabrics international readership. For example, since the early days of the wiki, we have been tracking the statistics of how much the site is used using the amazing Google Analytics service. This entirely free service not only allows us to keep track of how many people come to the wiki site, but also a huge amount of information about the composition of the readership, and where there interest is directed within the site. Using this analysis, the site has changed focus several times.

One of the most fascinating statistics is the country of origin of readers. This has grown steadily over the past six months from a readership coming from about 100 countries, that is, about half the countries in the world, to a current readership coming from more than 140 countries, that is, nearly three quarters of the world's nations! Given that the fabrics international wiki seeks to serve countries throughout the world, this is encouraging as well as fascinating! In the wiki's early days, the wide national spread could easily be attributed to the fact that most readers were referred here from other sites, such as BurdaStyle, which already has a massive international membership. But Google Analytics reveals now that three quarters of the readership of the fabrics international wiki is now coming from direct searches on the web, and only a quarter is coming from referals from other sites. This is also encouraging - the site is being picked up by the search engines and people are coming to it who have never been to BurdaStyle (we have adjusted the use of key words on the site to further enhance the ability of search engines to find us - another benefit of using Google Analytics, as site usage jumped on several of the occasions when the key words were updated, confirming their importance in finding the site.)

Another fascinating statistic - something like a quarter of users are French-language speakers (or they are using French-language browsers, which comes to the same thing - Google Analytics tells us this too). Hence, even though the French content of the site is lower than we would like it to be, the interest from the French speaking community is still relatively high. In the next few months, the French content of the site will increase dramatically, as we are currently focusing some of the development on improving the French content. This actually has hidden benefits for the English content as well. Not surprisingly to those who straddle more than one linguistic or cultural community, the "French" way of looking at things can be quite different than the English way. While a page-for-page translation is possible, it is not always desirable. The French language tends to give specific words to finer category divisions that one does in English, and French words exist for concepts which are not readily evident in English (of course, the same can also be found in the inverse direction!). Anyway, we have found that expanding the list of fabrics in French leads to nearly 400 fabric types, not all of which are well covered in the English section. Hence as the French content is extended, there will be some corresponding improvements in the fabric coverage of the English section. One of the benefits of working in more than one language at a time.

Although users are strongly drawn to the online catalogs (online stores, online patterns, etc.), usage of the wiki is actually quite evenly spread across its entire breadth, another indication that the wiki is serving its purpose at providing a general purpose reference for fabrics, garments and fabric prints. The Indian garments section is quite popular - indeed, our Indian readership is the sixth highest in the list of countries who are using the wiki. The return rate has been steady at about 30% since the early days of the wiki - that it, 30% of people who discover the wiki return to it again, and many of these return many times.

The total number of views of the wiki is going up by about 2300 per month right now, and the total numbers since the beginning of the wiki, about 18 months ago, is about 20000, I shall attempt to provide updates on reader's interests and origins as well as provide information on other areas pertinent to the wiki within the pages of this blog.

posted by gedwoods




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