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VeröffentlichungsnummerWO2002075614 A1
PublikationstypAnmeldung
AnmeldenummerPCT/AU2002/000311
Veröffentlichungsdatum26. Sept. 2002
Eingetragen19. März 2002
Prioritätsdatum19. März 2001
Auch veröffentlicht unterWO2002075614A9
VeröffentlichungsnummerPCT/2002/311, PCT/AU/2/000311, PCT/AU/2/00311, PCT/AU/2002/000311, PCT/AU/2002/00311, PCT/AU2/000311, PCT/AU2/00311, PCT/AU2000311, PCT/AU2002/000311, PCT/AU2002/00311, PCT/AU2002000311, PCT/AU200200311, PCT/AU200311, WO 02075614 A1, WO 02075614A1, WO 2002/075614 A1, WO 2002075614 A1, WO 2002075614A1, WO-A1-02075614, WO-A1-2002075614, WO02075614 A1, WO02075614A1, WO2002/075614A1, WO2002075614 A1, WO2002075614A1
ErfinderBradley John Maunsell, Desmond James Whyte
AntragstellerEknowhow Limited
Zitat exportierenBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
Externe Links:  Patentscope, Espacenet
Network site management
WO 2002075614 A1
Zusammenfassung
A network site accessible over a communications network includes a public access section,a registered access section accessible by registered users of the site, and an administration section. The administration section provides access to a user module for maintaining details of registered users, a content module for controlling site content, and a notification module for notifying one or more registered users of content on the site. Site content is classified by classification data. Registered users having classification data corresponding to that of a new content item such as an article or survey are notified by email of the new content. The email sent to a registered user includes a hyperlink with login data for that user, allowing a registered user to access content directly by clicking on the link. The use of the link and other accesses to site content are monitored, allowing a site administrator to generate individual and statistical data on use of the site.
Ansprüche  (OCR-Text kann Fehler enthalten)
CLAIMS:
1. A process for publishing content on a network site, including: storing content for said site and content classification data for said content; selecting at least one registered user of said site on the basis of said content classification data and user data stored for registered users of said site, said user data including user classification data; and sending a notification to the selected at least one registered user to provide access to said content.
2. A process as claimed in claim 1, wherein said user data includes login data, and the notification includes a link to said content, the link including login data for the selected user to access said content directly on selecting the link.
3. A process as claimed in claim 2, wherein the notification is personalised for the selected user.
4. A process as claimed in claim 2, wherein said login data is for access to a registered access section, such as an extranet.
5. A process as claimed in claim 2, including recording use of said link by said user.
6. A process as claimed in claim 1, including storing access data for said site, and generating statistical data from said access data.
7. A process as claimed in claim 1, wherein the notification is not sent to the selected user if said notification is declined by an approval party.
8. A process as claimed in claim 7, wherein the notification is sent to the selected user if said notification is neither accepted nor declined after a predetermined period of time.
9. A process as claimed in claim 1, wherein said content is published on said site in response to approval of said content by an approval party.
10. A process as claimed in claim 1, wherein said content includes a survey to be completed by users of said site.
11. A process as claimed in claim 1, wherein said content includes a frequently asked question (FAQ) document.
12. A process as claimed in claim 1, including: maintaining a list of FAQs with links to corresponding answers; and generating display data for said list to determine the order in which to display said
FAQs.
13. A process as claimed in claim 1 , including: maintaining a list of FAQs with links to corresponding answers; assigning a frequency value to each FAQ; and generating display data for said list to display said FAQs based on said frequency value in a descending order.
14. A process for managing a network site, including: associating content classification data with content of said site; associating user classification data with a user of said site; matching said content and said user, based on said content classification data and said user classification data; and electronically sending a message to said user, said message providing access to the selected content.
15. A process as claimed in claim 14, wherein the process is controlled over a communications network by one or more users of said network.
16. A process as claimed in claim 15, wherein the process is controlled by one or more users of said network using a browser.
17. A process as claimed in claim 14, wherein said classification data includes topic data and category data.
18. A process as claimed in claim 14, including defining registration data for a user of said site, said registration data including said user classification data
19. A process as claimed in claim 14, including storing site access data when a user accesses said site.
20. A process as claimed in claim 14, including storing content access data when a user accesses content items of said site.
21. A process as claimed in claim 19, including generating site statistics from said site access data.
22. A process as claimed in claim 20, including generating content statistics from said content access data.
23. A process as claimed in claim 14, including modifying site content over a communications network.
24. A process as claimed in claim 14, including defining data for a manager of a user of said site.
25. A process as claimed in claim 24, including defining user data for said user, including associating said manager with said user.
26. A process as claimed in claim 14, including defining access data for controlling access to administration modules of said site.
27. A process as claimed in claim 14, including generating web site source files from template data.
28. A process as claimed in claim 14, including generating statistical data on the use of said site.
29. A process as claimed in claim 14, including defining a question and answer pair for viewing by a user of said site.
30. A process as claimed in claim 29, wherein classification data, one or more keywords and/or a computer file are associated with said pair.
31. A process as claimed in claim 29, wherein access to said pair is restricted to registered users of said site.
32. A process as claimed in claim 14, including receiving a question from a user of said site, creating a response to said question, and sending said response to said user.
33. A process as claimed in claim 14, including defining site, topic, and client administrators of said site.
34. A process as claimed in claim 14, wherein said content includes a survey to be completed by users of said site.
35. A process as claimed in claim 14, including defining said content and content classification data associated with said content; selecting an approval party on the basis of said classification data; sending said content to said approval party for approval; and publishing said content on said site if said content is approved.
36. A process as claimed in claim 35, including: selecting one or more registered users of said site on the basis of said classification data; selecting one or more approval parties associated with the selected users; sending user identification data identifying the selected users to the selected approval parties for approval; and notifying the approved users of said content.
37. A process for publishing content on a network site, including: storing content for said site and content classification data for said content; selecting at least one registered user of said site on the basis of said content classification data and user classification data for registered users of said site; selecting at least one approval party for the selected user; sending user identification data identifying the selected user to the selected approval party for approval; and notifying the approved user of said content.
38. A process for controlling content of a network site, including: submitting content to said site with classification data for said content; and allowing clients with classification data corresponding to said content classification data to be automatically notified of said content.
39. A process as claimed in claim 38, including reviewing reports on access to said content by said clients.
40. A process as claimed in claim 38, wherein said clients are notified by a personalised electronic message.
41. A process as claimed in claim 38, including adjusting profile data for said client, said profile data including said classification data and access data for controlling access to said site.
42. A process for managing a network site, including: storing content for said site and classification data for said content; and updating said site on the basis of said classification data.
43. A process for maintaining FAQs on a network site, including: maintaining a list of FAQs with links to corresponding answers; assigning a frequency value to each FAQ; and generating display data for said list to present said FAQs based on said frequency value in a descending order.
44. A survey process, including: defining a survey including one or more questions; notifying users of a network site of the survey; storing user responses to the questions of the survey; and generating survey data based on the responses.
45. A survey process, including: defining a survey by selecting from a plurality of predetermined survey options, said survey including one or more questions; storing user responses to the questions of the survey; and generating survey data based on the responses.
46. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, including emailing a link to the survey to a user of said network site based on profile data of said user.
47. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, including generating display data for displaying the survey data to a user of the network site.
48. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, wherein the survey data includes at least one of survey data for an individual survey participant, and statistical survey data for a plurality of survey participants.
49. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, wherein said statistical survey data includes statistical data based on selected combinations of responses.
50. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, wherein said step of defining includes specifying whether a survey participant can request that the survey data is sent to the user via e-mail.
51. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, including emailing the survey data to a survey participant.
52. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, wherein said step of defining includes defining whether the user responses can be submitted anonymously.
53. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, wherein said step of defining includes defining an ending date and time for closing the survey.
54. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, including emailing statistical survey data to a user after the survey has closed.
55. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, wherein said step of defining includes defining the form of the survey data displayed to the user.
56. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, wherein said step of defining includes defining a first form for displaying survey data to a user upon the user completing the survey, a second form for displaying survey data to a user after the survey has closed, and a third form for displaying survey data to a user after survey data has been emailed to the user.
57. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, wherein said step of defining includes defining answers for each of said questions.
58. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, wherein said step of defining answers includes selecting from a plurality of predetermined answer formats.
59. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, wherein the formats include at least two of gender, income bracket, multiple choice, numbers, strongly disagree to strongly agree, true/false, and yes/no.
60. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, wherein said step of defining a survey may include selecting from a plurality of predetermined survey templates.
61. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, wherein said step of defining includes defining correct answers to questions of the survey.
62. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, including evaluating the user responses based on the correct answers.
63. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, including selecting winners of the survey from survey participants.
64. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, wherein said winners are selected based on at least one of a random selection of said participants, and the number of correct responses.
65. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, wherein said display data includes graphical display data representing statistical survey data.
66. A survey process as claimed in claim 45, wherein including storing statistical survey data in a computer readable file.
67. A network site system having components for executing the steps of any one of claims 1 to 66.
68. Network site software having program code for executing the steps of any one of claims 1 to 66.
69. A computer readable storage medium having stored thereon program code for executing the steps of any one of claims 1 to 66.
70. A network site accessible over a communications network, said site having: a public access section; a registered access section accessible by registered users of said site; and an administration section providing access to a user module for maintaining user details for said registered users, a content module for controlling content accessible on said site, and a notification module for notifying said registered users of content on said site.
71. A network site as claimed in claim 70, further including a classification module for maintaining classification data for said content and said registered users.
72. A network site as claimed in claim 71, wherein said user module includes means for associating classification data with said registered users, said content module includes means for associating classification data with said content, and said notification module includes means for selecting one or more registered users for said notifying on the basis of the associations.
73. A network site as claimed in claim 72, including an approval module for receiving approval data from an approval party for accepting or declining the notification of the selected users, and wherein said notifications are not sent to users whose notification has been declined.
74. A network site as claimed in claim 73, wherein an unapproved notification is sent by said notification module if said notification is not declined by an approval party within a predetermined period of time.
75. A network site as claimed in claim 74, said approval party may only approve or decline notifications for registered users associated with said approval party.
76. A network site as claimed in claim 75, wherein said approval module further allows an approval party to approve or decline the publication of information on said network site.
77. A network site as claimed in claim 76, wherein said information is classified by predetermined classification data.
78. A network site as claimed in claim 77, wherein said approval party approves information corresponding to classification data for which said approval party has been appointed.
79. A network site as claimed in claim 78, wherein said notification module notifies registered users having associated classification data matching the classification data of said content.
80. A network site as claimed in claim 79, wherein said notification module does not send notifications to registered users that have received a notification within a predetermined period of time.
81. A network site as claimed in claim 70, wherein said notification module sends a notification with a link to said content, including login data for a registered user receiving the notification, said link enabling the user to access the content directly on selecting the link.
82. A network site as claimed in claim 70, wherein the registered access section provides a link for notifying an unregistered user of content placed on said site.
83. A network site as claimed in claim 82, wherein the notification module sends a notification to said unregistered user with a link to the content, including login data, said link enabling said unregistered user to access the content directly on selecting the link.
84. A network site as claimed in claim 70, further including a reporting module for recording use of links sent with notifications.
85. A network site as claimed in claim 70, wherein the user details include classification data and said content is associated with classification data, and the notification is sent to registered users having classification data corresponding to classification data of the content.
86. A network site as claimed in claim 70, further including an internal messaging module for allowing administrators of the site to send and receive messages when accessing said site.
87. A network site as claimed in claim 86, wherein said internal messaging module sends copies of said messages by email.
88. A network site, including: a module for updating content of the site; a module for updating profile data of clients of the site; and a communication module for advising clients of content of the site on the basis of said profile data.
89. A network site as claimed in claim 88, further including a reporting module for generating reports on access to the site by said clients.
Beschreibung  (OCR-Text kann Fehler enthalten)

NETWORK SITE MANAGEMENT

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a method and system for managing a network site, such as an intranet, extranet or public web site on the Internet.

BACKGROUND

It is important for a business to have a presence on the Internet in the form of a web site. In its most basic form, a business web site is essentially a repository of information about the business which may be viewed by a user of the Internet using a web browser. Indeed, some web sites are little more than an electronic version of the firm's printed brochure, and simply provide a way for users of the Internet to view static pages describing the products and/or services provided by the business. More sophisticated web sites provide higher levels of interactivity, and some provide the ability to accept orders and payment for products.

Some web sites for knowledge and service-based industries provide information which is only viewable by registered clients who log in to a restricted area of the site known as an extranet. This allows the business to provide value-added materials to valued clients, and to tailor the web site to meet the needs of these clients. Unfortunately, the considerable effort and cost of developing and maintaining a sophisticated web site is prohibitive for many businesses. Yet the web sites developed for many companies share common attributes, and consequently the development process wastes valuable human and monetary resources. Moreover, the ability to distribute information tailored to customer needs is not generally provided by these sites. It is desired, therefore, to provide a system for alleviating the above difficulties, or at least to provide a useful alternative to existing systems for developing and/or managing a network site. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

In accordance with the present invention there is provided a process for publishing content on a network site, including: storing content for said site and content classification data for said content; selecting at least one registered user of said site on the basis of said content classification data and user data stored for registered users of said site, said user data including user classification data; and sending a notification to the selected at least one registered user to provide access to said content.

The present invention also provides a process for managing a network site, including: associating content classification data with content of said site; associating user classification data with a user of said site; matching said content and said user, based on said content classification data and said user classification data; and electronically sending a message to said user, said message providing access to the selected content.

The present invention also provides a process for publishing content on a network site, including: storing content for said site and content classification data for said content; selecting at least one registered user of said site on the basis of said content classification data and user classification data for registered users of said site; selecting at least one approval party for the selected user; sending user identification data identifying the selected user to the selected approval party for approval; and notifying the approved user of said content.

The present invention also provides a process for controlling content of a network site, including: submitting content to said site with classification data for said content; and allowing clients with classification data corresponding to said content classification data to be automatically notified of said content.

The present invention also provides a process for managing a network site, including: storing content for said site and classification data for said content; and updating said site on the basis of said classification data.

The present invention also provides a process for maintaining FAQs on a network site, including: maintaining a list of FAQs with links to corresponding answers; assigning a frequency value to each FAQ; and generating display data for said list to present said FAQs based on said frequency value in a descending order.

The present invention also provides a survey process, including: defining a survey including one or more questions; notifying users of a network site of the survey; storing user responses to the questions of the survey; and generating survey data based on the responses.

The present invention also provides a survey process, including: defining a survey by selecting from a plurality of predetermined survey options, said survey including one or more questions; storing user responses to the questions of the survey; and generating survey data based on the responses.

The present invention also provides a network site accessible over a communications network, said site having: a public access section; a registered access section accessible by registered users of said site; and an administration section providing access to a user module for maintaining user details for said registered users, a content module for controlling content accessible on said site, and a notification module for notifying said registered users of content on said site.

The present invention also provides a network site, including: a module for updating content of the site; a module for updating profile data of clients of the site; and a communication module for advising clients of content of the site on the basis of said profile data.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A preferred embodiment of the present invention is hereinafter described, by way of example only, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein: Figure 1 is a schematic diagram showing hardware components of a preferred embodiment of a network site management system;

Figure 2 is a block diagram of the software components of the management system; Figure 3 is a block diagram of the web pages presented to a user of a web site managed by the system; Figure 4 is a block diagram of the web pages presented to an administrator of the web site;

Figures 5 to 11 are screenshot images of web pages presented to a user of the web site;

Figures 12 to 41 are screenshot images of web pages presented to an administrator of the web site;

Figures 42 to 43 are screenshot images of web pages presented to a user of the web site;

Figure 44 is a screenshot image of an e-mail message sent by the system; Figures 45 to 61 are screenshot images of web pages presented to an administrator of the web site. Figures 62 and 63 are screenshot images of survey web pages presented to a user of the web site; and

Figures 64 to 67 are screenshot images of survey reporting web pages presented to an administrator of the web site.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT A network site management system 10, as shown in Figure 1, includes a server 12 and a database 14. As shown in Figure 2, the management system 10 includes an HTTP module 22, a database server module 24, an SMTP interface module 26, other support modules 28, and manager modules 30 that are used to execute a site management process of the system. The site management system 10 stores page source and data files of a firm's network site, provides network server functionality, and allows an administrator of the firm to remotely create and modify the content of the site over a communications network 20, such as the Internet. The network site is a page, pages and/or data accessible from a server of the network 20, at a particular network address, using a client computer system or device. The site is accessible from the client device using a communications protocol, such as TCP/IP. For simplicity, the site is hereinafter described as a web site accessible using HTTP. The management system 10 allows the presentation of web site content to be configured to cater for the interests of registered users viewing the site. The system also provides the ability to send unsolicited email messages to registered users, the messages containing a direct hyperlink to selected information of interest within the web site. The site generated by the system is partitioned into a public area for access by all users of the Internet, and an extranet, for access only by registered users, which includes the selected information, such as articles of interest, frequently asked question lists (FAQs), etc. In addition to storing passwords and personal information of registered users, the system also stores topics and categories representing industries/interests and other factors of relevance to individual users. Articles and other information can be stored using the system for publication on the site, but are also stored with assigned topics and categories. In this specification, the word "article" is used to refer to articles and other items of information. When articles are stored and published on the site, the profiled mailer 50 can be used to send notifications to registered users that were allocated a topic and/or category that corresponds to a topic and/or category of the article. The notification sent includes a unique link to the article that includes login details for the extranet for the registered user. The user on selecting the link is logged onto the extranet and the article is displayed on the user's client device. For example, the link may be http://www.nameoffirm.com/default.asp ?id=l 78&article=52. The login and display of the article is recorded by the system against the registered user's stored details, ie on the basis of the client id. The system 10 records use of the extranet by the registered users. This allows client activity and interest to be monitored.

An implementation of the management system 10 is described where components of the system are provided by software modules stored and executed on an otherwise known computer system. For example, the server 12 may be a dual Pentium III based computer running the Microsoft Windows 2000 ™ operating system, with Microsoft™ IIS 4+ server software providing the HTTP server module 22, and the database server 24 may be Microsoft™ SQL Server 2000. The SMTP interface module 26 may be ASP Email, available at http ://www. aspemail. com/, and other support modules 28 may include a Microsoft™ Visual Basic engine for supporting active server page (ASP) scripts, and ASP Upload, available at http ://www. aspupload. com , for uploading files to the system 10 via the network 20. The manager modules 30 may be implemented as ASP scripts stored on the server 12. It will be apparent to those skilled in the art that a number of the software modules and hardware components of the management system 10 may be distributed or combined in a variety of ways and at a number of different locations and that at least some of the steps executed by the software modules may be executed by hardware circuits, such as application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs).

The management system 10 will normally be owned and operated by a web site provider. Rather than develop totally customized web sites for its clients, the web site provider offers a number of web site templates catering for various kinds of industries. That is, the templates are not specifically designed for particular professions, such as accountants, insurance brokers or veterinarians, but a template for knowledge-based industries is appropriate for all of these professions. For example, the web site provider may be approached by an accounting firm that has decided to create a web site for its customers. The accounting firm chooses the web site template that is designed for knowledge-based industries, and the provider uses this template to generate the set of web page source files and database files that will constitute the web site. The web site includes an extranet component that provides value-added information to registered customers, and an unrestricted component that provides generic information to registered and unregistered users browsing the site. The accounting firm sends electronic logos to the web site provider, who incorporates them into the web page source files for the site and sets the visual appearance of the site, including backgrounds and other graphic elements. The web pages are stored on the provider's web server 12, and the database files for the site are stored on the SQL database 14. Included in the database is a username and password pair for a web site administrator of the accounting firm who may subsequently designate other users of the site as administrators. The web site may now be accessed by any user of the Internet.

The web site structure is determined by a set of selected templates and a site map of the web site structure, indicating the web pages available to users of the site and their relationships, is shown in Figure 3. The site does not yet contain any information relating specifically to the accounting firm other than the firm logo, corporate colours and graphics. However, the web site content may be remotely created and modified by the administrator by using a standard web browser executing on the client computer 18 to access a content manager 34, a services manager 36 and/or a contacts manager 38 of the system 10. However, the various features of the site presented to unregistered users and registered clients accessing the site will first be described.

A visitor to the web site is initially presented with a public home page 56, as shown in Figures 3 and 5. The page includes number of panels, including a main panel 102, a What's New panel 104, a navigation panel 106, a topics panel 108 and a login panel 110. The main panel 102 displays information content to the visitor, and the navigation panel 106 is used to navigate between various content pages. The chosen template defines a number of content pages with the following headings: Home, Services, How We Do It, Our Firm, Careers, Your Guarantee, Contact Us, and FAQ. These pages, their headings, and the number of pages may be modified by an administrator of the system, as described below. In general, these pages display brochure type information to anyone browsing the site.

In addition to these pages, the web site provides a number of value-added articles or information pages on various topics, and these are organised under topic and category headings on the site. Articles can be displayed by selecting a topic from the What's New panel 104, the topics panel 108, or by entering one or more keywords into a keyword search box 101. However, only registered users can view these articles or pages. If a user selects an article, topic or category without logging in to the site, a message is displayed informing them that only registered users may view these items. Registered users log into the site by entering their username and password into the corresponding text boxes 112 in the login panel 110 and clicking on the login button 114. The system 10 checks the username and password against values stored in the database 14, and logs the user in to the site if the entered values correspond to values stored in the database 14. The username and a login timestamp are recorded in the database 14 for statistical analysis, as described below. After logging in, a home page screen for registered users is displayed, as shown in Figure 6. In this example, the content displayed on the main panel 102 is the same as the public page displayed shown in Figure 5, but this content can be tailored to clients of the business. The login panel 110 now indicates that the user is logged in, and displays the username. An "Edit My Details" button 116 is also displayed, allowing the user to edit their personal details stored in the database 14. Clicking on this link causes a user edit screen to be displayed in the main panel 102, as shown in Figure 8. This allows the user to change their personal details such as password, email address and mailing address. The user edit screen also includes an interest box 122 that allows the user to select from a list of interest topics and categories. These topics and categories are used by the system 10 to select articles and other content that correspond to these interests, as described below.

After the user is logged in, value-added information such as articles may be displayed. For example, clicking on a topic 111 in the panel 108 causes a drop-down list of categories 113 to be displayed, as shown in Figure 7. Clicking on a category 113 within this list causes a list of article titles 118 and brief descriptions related to the selected sub-topic to be displayed in the main panel 102. Clicking on one of the titles 118 causes that article to be displayed in the main panel 102. The button 120 labelled "View Archived" allows a further list of articles which have been archived to be displayed. These are articles which are no longer current or are sufficiently stale that they are removed from the normal article display.

The navigation panel 106 includes a link 124 labelled "FAQ", which is known on the Internet as an acronym for Frequently Asked Questions. Clicking on this link 124 causes a FAQ screen to appear in the main panel 102, as shown in Figure 9. This screen includes buttons 126 to 132 for submitting, locating, and displaying FAQs in various ways. The "Top 10" button 126 is used to display a list 136 of the ten most frequently asked questions, determined by comparing view frequency values assigned to each question stored by the system 10. The second button, "Recent 10" 128, is used to display the ten most recently asked questions. Once a list of questions is displayed, any question and its answer may be viewed by clicking on the displayed question text. For example, clicking on the partial question text 136 causes the complete question and answer to be displayed in the main panel 102, as shown in Figure 10.

The third button 130, labelled "Search" in the FAQ display screen, is used to display a FAQ search screen, as shown in Figure 11. The FAQs may be searched by keyword using the text box 138, or the questions may be browsed by title by selecting from the alphabetical indexing links 140. The fourth button 132, "Submit a Question", is used to submit a question to the accounting firm's system administrator, who may choose to add the question to the list of FAQs or simply to answer the question directly, as described below.

As described above, the content of the site may be created and modified by accessing the management modules 30 of the web site management system 10 over the Internet 20 using a standard web browser such as Microsoft™ Internet Explorer™ executing on a standard computer 18. In order to access the management modules 30, the browser first accesses an administrator login page by providing a corresponding universal resource locator (URL) to the browser. After providing a valid administrator username and password pair to the system 10, the administrator is logged in to the system as an administrator, and may modify the web site and perform other administrative functions, as described below.

After logging in, one of the manager modules 30 may be selected by clicking on a corresponding link in the manager panel 142, as shown in Figure 12. For example, the "Administrator Manager" link 144 is used to access an Administrator Manager module 32. The network site management system 10 includes three kinds of administrators: site administrators, topic administrators and client administrators. However, these categories are not mutually exclusive, and a given administrator may be all three types of administrator. A site administrator is a user who has been granted access to the administration section of the site, and usually has access to one or more of the manager modules 30. An administrator's access to individual manager modules 30 is specified by selecting an existing administrator's username from the pull-down menu 145 or by entering a new administrator's username into the username field 146, and then selecting the desired manager module check boxes 148, as shown in Figure 12. Consequently, access to the Administrator Manager module 32 is only granted to trusted administrators of the system.

The Administrator Manager module 32 may be used to define an administrator for one or more topics by selecting the latter from a topic list 149. New articles associated with a topic are not published on the site until the designated topic administrators have approved the article, as described below.

An administrator's account may be designated as active or inactive by selecting a check box 143. The web site management system 10 also includes an internal messaging system, as described below. A check, box 145 may be used to specify that a given administrator is to receive all internal messages by conventional email in addition to the internal messaging system. A client administrator is an administrator who personally manages clients. For example, a client administrator may be a salesperson. A client administrator's clients are defined by a client manager module 44, as described below. The Administrator Manager module 32 provides a check box 147 that may be used to specify that emails addressed to clients of a client administrator should be manually approved by the client administrator before sending. However, to avoid lengthy delays in sending such emails, a text box 141 allows the specification of a maximum period of time to wait for this approval. If an email message is still waiting for approval at the expiry of the nominated time, the message is sent without approval.

The "Services", "Contact Us", and "FAQ" links in the navigation panel 106 each has a dedicated manager module for modifying the associated content displayed when the corresponding link is selected. The web site content displayed when any of the remaining links in the navigation panel 106 is selected may be modified by the content manager 34, accessed by selecting the "Content Manager" link 150 in the manager panel 142, as shown in Figure 13 A. The content to be edited is selected from a drop-down menu 152, which allows the user to choose one area of the site for editing, such as the public and extranet home pages, and the content is edited in a rich-text editor box 154. The content manager 34 is also used to edit the text displayed in a popup window 250 when a "Privacy Policy and Disclaimer" button 109 is selected, as shown in Figure 34, and the disclaimer text 251 included in email messages sent using an "email a friend" function, as shown in Figure 35, and discussed below. The drop-down menu 152 also allows an administrator to edit the navigational menu bar 106. For example, if the administrator selects the "top nav section" item from the menu 152, a list 153 of navigational link titles displayed, as shown in Figure 13B. This allows an administrator to rename the navigational links, and to add or delete links in the menu bar 106. For example, if an administrator clicks the Add button 155, a text box 15 allows the administrator to enter a new title for the navigational link, and to edit the content displayed when that link is selected in a rich text editor box 154, as shown in Figure 13C. A services manager 36 is used to modify the content displayed when the "Services" link in the navigation panel 106 is selected, and may be accessed by selecting the "Services Manager" link 156 in the manager panel 142, as shown in Figure 14. The list of services and the corresponding text displayed on the web site services page may be modified by using a services edit box 158. The list of contacts displayed on the site is similarly edited by using a contacts edit box 160 generated by the contacts manager 38, as shown in Figure 15. The services content and navigational link may be disabled completely by selecting a disable check box 157.

A What's New manager 54 allows an administrator of the system to manage article links displayed in the What's New window 104. The What's New manager 54 is accessed by selecting a What's New manager link 312, as shown in Figure 50. The What's New manager 54 displays a list 314 of What's New items, and allows an administrator to remove or reorder the items with the links 316. As with all such lists displayed by the system, the items in the list may also be reordered by clicking and dragging an item with a mouse pointer. Articles may be added to the What's New window 104 by using the Add Article button 318, and articles displayed in the list 314 may be sorted using the Sort Alphabetically button 320.

An industry/interest manager 40 is used to modify the list of topics and/or categories that are associated with clients and information articles on the web site. These categories are used to select articles and other information likely to be of interest to a given client. For example, they may be defined to include specific industries/interest categories for clients. Figure 16 shows the industry/interest manager 40 presenting a drop-down menu 162 of categories, and a list 164 of industries/interests. The category list may be modified by selecting a "Manage/ Add Categories" button 166, which causes a category edit box 168 to be displayed, as shown Figure 17, allowing an existing category to be renamed, or a new category created.

A client manager 44 is used to create and modify a list of personal clients for administrators who deal with clients, such as a salesperson of the firm whose clients are listed in the system. Such an administrator may be referred to as a client administrator. The client manager 44 allows the client administrator to enter client details, including name and email address, which are then stored in the database 14 of the web site management system 10. The association of firm personnel with client details allows email personalisation and personal statistics to be generated. The client manager 44 is also used to enter client industry/interest data, which is selected from an industry/interest box 170, as shown in Figure 18. Clients may also be associated with particular topics of interest by selecting entries from a topic selection box 171, as shown in Figure 19. The client manager 44 also allows the client administrator to search for clients by entering keywords into a client search box 176, or to browse clients by categories or industries/interests, by selecting from a client view menu 172, as shown in Figure 20. A list of matching clients is displayed in the client match box 178.

An article manager 46 is used to create and modify articles, and topics and categories under which articles may be presented. As shown in Figure 21, a list of articles may be displayed in an article display box 183 by selecting a topic from a pull down topic menu 175 and corresponding category from a pull down category menu 179. Existing articles may be deleted or edited by selecting the appropriate link in the article display box 183. Existing topics may be managed, or new topics added by pressing the Manage/ Add Topics button 173. Similarly, categories may be managed or new categories created by using the Manage/Add Categories button 177. New articles are added by selecting the "Add Article" button 180. The article itself may be entered into a rich-text editor box 182, and the article title, descriptive text, and article keywords may be entered into text boxes 184, as shown in Figure 22. An existing file stored on the administrator's computer 18 may be associated with the article by using the file selection button 186. ASP Upload will upload this file to the web site management system 10 when the article is added to the system by selecting an "Add then Email" button 188 or an "Add/Update" button 190, as shown in Figure 23. An article may be linked with one or more associated topics and categories by using check boxes in a topic/category selection area 187. The article manager 46 also allows the new article to be associated with related articles stored on the management system 10 by selecting from an article selection box 192. The article may also be added to the What's New panel 104 by selecting an "Add to What's New" check box 194. The "Archive this Article" check box 196 allows the article to be archived, either immediately, or at a future date, the latter specified by using a calendar control similar to control 234 in Figure 30. When the specified date arrives the article is automatically archived. This means that it will not be listed unless a client viewing the site requests that archived articles be displayed, for example, by selecting the "View Archived" button 120, as shown in Figure 7. A new article may not be available immediately if a topic with which it is associated has a topic administrator who has chosen to approve all new articles, as described above. In this situation, the article will only be available on the web site after it is approved by the topic administrator using the Approval Manager 42, as described below.

A FAQ manager 48 allows FAQs to be created, searched, edited or deleted. A new FAQ is created by selecting the "Add" button 198, as shown in Figure 24. The new FAQ is then entered into a FAQ edit box 202, as shown in Figure 25. The FAQ may be associated with an existing file on the administrator's computer 18, in the manner described above. Keywords for the FAQ may be entered into a keyword box 204 by double-clicking on any word entered into the FAQ edit box 202, and the FAQ may be associated with existing topics by check boxes 206, as shown in Figure 25. The FAQ manager 48 is also used to handle questions submitted to the system by the public or clients, as described above. As shown in Figure 26, new submissions are displayed in a submission box 208 by selecting the "View Submissions" button 200. A submission may be deleted by selecting a "delete" link 212. Alternatively, a submission may be responded to by selecting a "respond" link 210, which causes a response editor 214 to be displayed, as shown in Figure 27. The question and answer may be added to the list of displayed FAQs by selecting the "Add to FAQ" check box 216. When a "respond" button 218 is selected, the response message is sent by email (using ASP Email) to the sender of the question. When a FAQ is viewed by a client or a public visitor, the database server 24 increments a view frequency counter associated with the FAQ, and stores a unique identifier of the FAQ and a current time stamp in the database 14. This data allows the display of the "Top 10 FAQs" and "Recent 10 FAQs", as described above. A profiled mailer 50 allows links to information in articles and FAQs on the web site to be emailed to clients who may be interested. First, a drop down box 252 allows an administrator to choose whether an article or a FAQ is to be emailed, as shown in Figure 36. For example, if "View Articles" is selected from the menu 252, a list of topics 253 is displayed in the list 254. Upon selecting one of the topics 253, a corresponding list of categories 256 is displayed, as shown in Figure 37. Upon selecting one of the categories 256, a corresponding list of article titles and check boxes 226 is displayed, as shown in Figure 29. Upon selecting one of the articles 226, the Bulk Emailer 50 then automatically proceeds to an email composition step, and populates the email subject, message and footer fields 258, as shown in Figures 29 and 38, which can be edited by the administrator if required. The administrator then selects the "next" button 260. To select which clients are to receive the email, the administrator then selects from a drop down box 261 in Figure 39, allowing the administrator to allocate recipients by selecting Individual Clients, Topics/Categories, and Industry/Interest.

For example, if the administrator decides to choose bulk email recipients by industry/interest, a list 224 of industries/interests is displayed, as shown in Figure 28. Alternatively, the administrator may decide to choose clients individually, in which case a list 262 of client names is displayed, as shown in Figure 39. Individual clients, or industry/interests, may be selected by using check boxes in the corresponding list. Once the selections have been made, a corresponding list of profiled email recipients may be generated and displayed in the window 266 by pressing the Add button 264. The profiled mailer 50 allows the administrator to exclude clients who have previously received an email within a specifiable number of hours by using the check box and edit box 222. After the list of bulk email recipients is displayed in the box 266, individual recipients may be removed from the list by selecting a remove link 267, before selecting the send button 268. A message 270 is then displayed, confirming the article and the clients to whom it was sent, as shown in Figure 40. A client receiving the email may view the selected item by selecting the link with their web browser. The management system 10 receives a request containing the encoded URL, and determines the client's login information. The client is then allowed to view the item without having to manually provide a username and password to the web site. When the item is viewed, information identifying the client, the viewed item, and the date/time viewed is recorded in the database 14 for later analysis, as described below.

It is also possible that the client receiving the email may forward it to a friend or associate. In that case, the friend may also view the item. Items viewed by the client include an "email to a friend" link 278 which when selected causes the system 10 to display a form 280 for entering the friend's email address as shown in Figures 42 and 43. After submission, the system 10 sends a similar email notification to the friend with a link to the content item, the link 282 including encoded details for the friend, as shown in Figure 44. For example, the link may be http://www.nameoffirm.com/default.asp?viewType::::::limited&trackingID=428articleID-52. This indicates that a unique tracking identification number has been allocated to the friend and that the friend's access to the site is restricted to the article item and the public areas of the site only. The friend is not logged onto the extranet, as a client ID is required for access. The friend can select the link to directly view the item and the web site management system 10 will record the friend's email address, and the fact they have viewed the article in the database 14.

As described above, the administrator manager 32 allows a client administrator to specify that bulk emails addressed to any of his or her clients are not to be sent unless he or she approves them, unless this fails to occur before a specified time. If such items have been queued for sending, then when the client administrator logs into the system using his or her username and password, a notification message 284 is displayed, as shown in Figure 45. The client administrator may then select the Approval Manager link 286 in the navigation bar 142 to access the approval manager module 32. The approval manager displays a list 288 of articles awaiting approval (for topic administrators), and a list 290 of emails awaiting approval (for client administrators), as shown in Figure 46. For example, a client administrator may proceed to approve an email by selecting a view link 294. The approval manager 42 then displays a list 294 of the client administrator's clients to whom the email is addressed. The client administrator may accept or reject clients on an individual basis by selecting check boxes 296, and the text of the emails to be sent may be composed in an email composition box 298. An article box 300 is also shown, providing a link to the corresponding article. The approval manager 42 further allows the client administrator to remove clients from the list who have previously been mailed within a specified period of time, by using the check box 302 and the edit box 304.

When the approval manager 42 is first selected, an event message box 292 is also displayed, as shown in Figure 46. The event message box 292 displays any messages which have been sent to the administrator using the system's internal messaging system, and the create message button 293 allows the administrator to create messages for other administrators of the system. When the button 293 is pressed, a recipient list 306 of administrators is displayed, as shown in Figure 48. The administrator may select individual recipients from the list 306, and enter a message in the text box 308. Subsequently, when an addressee of the message logs into the system, the message 310 is displayed, as shown in Figure 49. However, as discussed above, each administrator of the system may further elect to receive copies of internal messages by email, ensuring that messages are received without having to log into the system.

A reporting manager 52 is used to generate statistics on the web site. If desired, the statistics may be restricted to a time period between a start date and an end date by selecting a "display calendar search option" check box 232 and then selecting dates from calendar controls 234, as shown in Figure 30. Statistics may be viewed by client, article,

FAQ, industry and client administrator by selecting from a pull-down menu 240. High level statistics on individual clients are displayed in a client display area 236, and include the client name, the number of visits to the web site, the date of last visit, the number of articles emailed to the client, and the number of emailed articles viewed by the client, as shown in Figure 31. When a client link 272, as shown in Figure 31, is selected, statistical details 274 for that client are displayed as shown in Figure 41, including information 276 on whether articles that have been emailed have been viewed, those that have not been viewed, and whether the client has emailed a friend. Alternatively, statistics may be displayed for articles selected from a scrollable list 238. For each selected article , the reporting manager 52 displays article data 278, including the date the article was emailed out to clients, the number of emails viewed, and the number sent, as shown in Figure 32. Alternatively, a scrollable list of statistics 280 on particular industries may be displayed by selecting "View Industry Statistics" from the pull-down menu 240, as shown in Figure 33.

The article manager 46 can be used to create and modify user surveys or tests. A new survey is created by selecting an Add Survey button 278, as shown in Figure 51. In response, the article manager 46 displays an Add/Edit Surveys screen, as shown in Figure

52. This provides a title text box 280 into which an administrator enters a title for the survey, a teaser text box 282 for entering teaser text associated with the survey, and a keyword text box 284 for entering keywords that can later be used to search for the survey. Descriptive text for the survey can be entered into a Description rich-text editor box 286. The text that is displayed to a user upon completing the survey is entered into a Confirmation rich-text editor box 288. The survey can be associated with existing topics and categories by selecting from a Topic/Category selection box 290, as shown in Figure

53. The administrator can specify whether users taking the survey can submit their answers anonymously, by selecting from a Privacy drop down menu 292. The survey results can be displayed to the user in a variety of ways, determined by selecting from three drop down menus 294, 296, 298. An After Completion menu 294 allows the administrator to specify how the results are displayed to a survey participant upon completing the survey. An After Close Date menu 296 is used to specify how the results are displayed after the closing date of the survey has passed. Finally, an After Client Notification menu 298 is used to determine how the results are displayed to a user after she has been notified of the survey results by e-mail, as described below. The administrator can select one of three options: not to display the results at all, to display the user's own results, or to display the aggregate results for all users that have taken the survey to date.

A number of check boxes are provided to allow the administrator to set various properties of the survey. A Select Closing Date and Time check box 300 allows the administrator to specify a closing date and time for the survey, after which the survey is closed and is no longer available to be taken by users. A Hide Survey check box 302 allows the survey to be hidden from users until the administrator unselects the check box 302 at a later date. This is useful for creating surveys before they are to be made available to users of the site. A Disable E-mail A Friend check box 304 can be used to determine whether an E-mail A Friend button is displayed to users viewing the survey. An Add To What's New check box 306 is used to add the survey to the What's New panel 104. An E-mail Request check box 308 allows users to request survey results via e-mail. Finally, an Archive check box 310 can be used to archive the survey. The survey is archived in the same manner as articles, as described above.

When the administrator has completed the Add/Edit Surveys screen, a Next button 312 on the screen is selected to advance to an Add/Edit Questions screen, as shown in Figure 54. This allows the administrator to define one or more questions for the survey. The text of a survey question is entered into a Question rich-text editor box 314. Check boxes 316 can be used to indicate whether the question is a required question that must be answered to complete the survey, and whether the response to the question is in free text. Another check box 318 can be selected by the administrator to specify whether multiple responses are allowed to the question. Answer fields are created by selecting an Add Answer Field button 320. This creates a new Answer text box 322 into which the administrator enters answer text. Each Answer text box 322 is accompanied by a Remove button 324 that allows the administrator to delete the corresponding answer field. The answer text boxes 322 can be sorted, based on their textual content, by selecting a Sort button 326. The format of the answers to the questions can be selected from a list of predefined answer formats in a Load Preset menu 328, as shown in Figure 55. The formats include gender, income bracket, multiple choice, numbers, strongly disagree to strongly agree, true/false and yes/no. When the administrator has completed the entries for the question, an Add/Update button 330 is selected to store the question in the database server 24. The completed question is then displayed with any other questions of the survey in a Question list box 332, as shown in Figure 56. Additional questions for the survey may then be added by selecting an Add Question button 334. Existing questions may be edited or deleted using buttons 336 associated with the corresponding question, and listed in the Question list box 332. Depending upon the nature of the survey, it may be appropriate to define correct answers to the questions. This allows, for example, the system to be used for setting exams and grading answers. Correct answers are set by selecting a Set Correct Answers button 338. The survey is then displayed to the administrator, as shown in Figure 57, allowing her to select the correct answers. When all of the questions of the survey have been completed, a submit button 340, is selected to store the correct answers in the database server 24. For existing surveys, users that have taken the survey can be automatically selected as winners by selecting a Select Winners button 342, as shown in Figure 56. A Select Winners screen, as shown in Figure 58, is then displayed, providing a drop down menu 344 for specifying how the winners are to be selected. For example, the winners can be selected randomly, or on the basis of the number of correct responses. Subsequently, another Select Winners button 346 is used to instruct the article manager 46 to select the winning users. The winners can be chosen randomly or on the basis of the highest scores (in surveys that have correct answers defined), and the numbers of each are displayed in corresponding text boxes 347. The results of the survey can be sent to the survey participants by selecting a button 348 on the Add/Edit Question screen, as shown in Figure 56. A Send Results screen, as shown in Figure 59, is then displayed, showing the number of survey participants awaiting results, and providing editable boxes 350 for entering preamble text for the survey results e-mail, subject text for the e-mail message, and footer text for the email, typically a disclaimer. A drop down menu 352 allows the administrator to specify when the results are to be sent, as shown in Figure 60. For example, the results may be sent immediately, or at a specified date and time. The latter are specified by selecting date entries from a calendar box 354, and time specifications from drop down menus 356, as shown in Figure 61. When the selections are complete, a Send button 358 is selected to store the settings in the database server 24, and to send the survey results if requested by the administrator.

Once defined, a survey is listed on the web site like an article, unless it is hidden. Similarly, an administrator can select a survey for editing as though it was an article, by selecting the survey from a drop-down menu 279 in the article manager screen, as shown in Figure 51.

A survey can be taken by a user, browsing the web site. However, a hyperlink to the survey can be e-mailed to registered users of the site using the profiled mailer 50, as described above. This is used to target particular surveys to particular registered users of the web site.

A user of the website taking the survey enters their name and e-mail address into text boxes 360 displayed with the survey, or, if the administrator has specified that the survey can be taken anonymously, then an Anonymous check box 362 is also displayed. If a survey participant selects the Anonymous check box 362, then the identity of the survey participant is not recorded. Another check box 364 is provided to allow the participant to specify whether the results of the survey will be sent to her when the survey is complete. Upon completing the survey, a survey response screen is displayed, as shown in Figure 63. If the administrator has specified that the participant's results are to be displayed upon submission, then the questions and responses are displayed. If the administrator has specified correct answers to the questions, then the participant's score is also displayed.

Completed surveys can be analysed by an administrator using the reporting- manager 52. A list box 372 displays a list of users having taken the survey, providing their scores if available, and the date on which they took the survey. An individual user's responses can be displayed by selecting the user's entry from the list box 372, as shown in Figure 67. Alternatively, an Aggregate Results screen, as shown in Figure 64, can be displayed to view answer statistics for all survey participants as text and as bar graphs for each question. A Filter Results button 366 can be used to perform further analysis. For example, statistics can be generated on the number of users giving particular answers to particular questions, as shown in Figure 65. The statistics can be generated for particular combinations of answers, using Boolean operators selected from a pull down menu 368. The reporting manager 52 also allows results for an individual participant to be displayed and analysed, as shown in Figures 66 and 67. The survey data for an individual or for all participants can be saved in comma-separated value (CSV) format by selecting Convert to CSV buttons 370.

Many modifications will be apparent to those skilled in the art without departing from the scope of the present invention as herein described with reference to the accompanying drawings.

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UnternehmensklassifikationG06F17/30867
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