Mobile capabilities are a must-have for any web content management solution. Some do it better than others. Today, we take a look at the mobile capabilities of CoreMedia (news, site) in the latest version of its Web Content Management System, CoreMedia 6.

CoreMedia Web Content Management in Brief

CoreMedia has been in the web content management business since 1996. Headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, its focus is on helping its customers deliver rich web experiences through pretty much any online channel.

Vendor  CoreMedia
Product Name
 CoreMedia 6, Adaptive Device Delivery Module
Product Category
 Web content management, web experience management

Market / Pricing

CoreMedia's market is primarily large companies to enterprise organizations and, although their platform will work for pretty much any industry, they have a number of customers in the media and publishing, telco and government/public sectors. Gartner listed CoreMedia as a Visionary in the 2010 Web Content Management Magic Quadrant, saying "CoreMedia provides well architected, extensible, user-friendly software with a high degree of interoperability in a market that requires all these facets from a WCM offering." Note that this rating was based on CoreMedia 5, not CoreMedia 6, the latest version, which came out last month.

Some of their key clients include: Continental (Tires, not the Airline), Deutsche Telekom, Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Internet Broadcasting.

CoreMedia has a core web content management system and provides add-on modules for Social Software, Adaptive Device Delivery and Adaptive Personalization. The base CMS and most of the add-on modules are sold on the perpetual license fee model, but to get exact prices, you'll have to talk to them directly.


Adding Mobile Support

CoreMedia believes the key to a great web experience is context. So you need to remember who the visitor is, what they've already done on the site (and hence their interests) and what devices they have used. This means that support for mobile is a natural extension of their web experience management processes and not a bolted-on solution.

To provide this integrated support for mobile devices, CoreMedia introduced the Adaptive Device Delivery Module in CoreMedia 5. It gives marketers the ability to deliver content to a variety of devices including smartphones, tablets and mobile phones without having to think about how to create a mobile view for different devices.

CoreMedia partners with Sevenval, a German-based device adaption specialist, to provide the device database and the adaption platform. The Sevenval FIT technology is incorporated into the Adaptive Device Delivery Module. Sevenval provides a device database containing over 7,000 different device specifications including everything from smartphones to mobile browsers to set-top boxes, TVs and more. This database is kept up-to-date so it always supports the latest devices and device updates, and you can override the default rules for devices if you need to.

Along with the device database, it is the Sevenal technology, including FITML, a device-agnostic markup language (based on XML), that adapts the content for the mobile device.

Here's a high-level look at how it works:


The Focus is On the Content, Context

Content is still created and maintained within the CoreMedia Web CMS where it can be repurposed depending on channel/device. Designers use the CoreMedia Editor to create CSS layouts and templates for content modules that are later assembled into complete templates (or webpages). All of this information -- content, layouts, content modules -- is treated as objects within CoreMedia.

The CoreMedia Studio, new to CoreMedia 6, is at the heart of creating the user experience. In the Studio, business users can bring together content and layouts/content modules to design a particular page. They also identify default content and any contextual rules that must be applied before pulling the content together on the page for a particular user. These contextual rules can be anything from user identity to location to device used to gain access to the page.

Personalization Rule Selection in Studio

As business users design these experiences in the Studio, they can preview what the output will be based on different user scenarios or on the default content view for different devices (including the traditional web browser and various mobile devices).

CoreMedia_Studio_MobileView.jpg CoreMedia 6 Studio - Preview of Mobile View on iPhone

Mobile Events Based on Geolocation

Separation of Content from Presentation

CoreMedia's platform is designed to provide a clear separation of the development of content and the creation of user experience from the actual design of the presentation. So it's basically a layered approach that starts with content creation in the CMS, design creation in the Editor, followed by the business user pulling it all together within the Studio to define the user experience.

Mobile Templates/Rules

There is no separate tool to build a mobile experience; the mobile view is simply another template (set of templates) built. Developers do have their own interface to define and test mobile templates and presentation rules (the CoreMedia Editor).

These rules/templates are then used by the Adaptive Device Delivery to create the appropriate view based on device capabilities.

Device Capabilities

Using the device database, the Adaptive Device Delivery Module knows what capabilities a particular device will support and adapts the presentation to support those capabilities. So if the device supports location-based services, then if there are presentation rules based on location, these will be applied. The same goes for images and multimedia. Different images sizes are stored within CoreMedia and pulled, according to the device capabilities.

Social features are also supported, again built into the overall web experience via the templates and layouts in the CoreMedia editor and adapted to the device layout and capabilities.

Final Thoughts

The mobile experience is on the mind of every organization, but it's only one aspect of the overall experience it needs to design and support. CoreMedia's approach is great in that adds the channel/device used to the overall context of the user experience and adapts it accordingly.

It's key to note that this is a mobile web experience, and not a mobile app. The advantage of this approach (and it's what most WCM vendors are doing) is that you can create one mobile web view that is then adapted according to the capabilities of the device. You can still develop lightweight mobile applications with CoreMedia, but that's a custom project and another story.

There is a clear separation between technical design and business design based on content/context. For many organizations this is a plus as most marketers are not designers or developers and are best kept from the details of that part. There are many alternatives to CoreMedia,however, that do offer a combined technical design/content design, and some organizations may prefer that route.

CoreMedia has spent a lot of effort building a separate business user solution in CoreMedia Studio, demonstrating their view of how designing the user experience needs to work to be successful. The technical and creative design of a user experience tends to remain fairly consistent, it's what and how information is presented that changes according to user habits/needs. This is where the business user/marketer needs to focus, and mobile, as we said earlier, is just another channel for that experience.