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Content Authenticity Initiative – getting started

Content Authenticity Initiative – getting started

As readers know, we live in the age of significant disinformation. From political campaigns in various nations to recent untrue reports of an explosion at the Pentagon, such misinformation is meant to sow distrust, confusion, and other malicious intents. Given the rise of artificial intelligence (large language models) and the ease of creating images, video, audio and more, we at Web Professionals Global have joined the Content Authenticity Initiative. [Like all links, this will open in a new browser tab.] You might have to scroll a bit as there are now over 1,000 members of this initiative (organizations and citizens).

What is CAI?

Essentially, CAI (Content Authenticity Initiative) is a community of tech companies, non-governmental organizations (like Web Professionals Global), academics and others working to “promote adoption of an open industry standard for content authenticity and provenance.” What is the source of the image, video, audio in question? How was it created? If something has been tampered with, this is tracked and evident when examining the meta data. If you are not a member, we encourage you to join (either as an individual or a company). We are all about community (it is the first item in our tag line). We also believe strongly in copy rights as well as origin of media. CAI easily fits into our world view.

Not only will this help disprove misleading information, these tools can also help verify atrocities being committed. There are even apps one can include on a mobile phone which can be used to prove the provenance of any image taken by that device (and any subsequent manipulation).

An example (how to get started)

If you are using tools like Photoshop 2023 or Lightroom 2023, new capabilities exist to help with content. For our purposes, let’s use Photoshop. First, one needs to enable this beta capability. From the main menu, select Window > Content Credentials (Beta).

Menu within Photoshop showing how to select the Content Credentials from the Window menu

You then enable content credentials and link to your social media accounts. In this case, I have linked both our Twitter feed and Instagram feed. This provides and identifies references for individuals viewing your work.

Content credentials linked for Twitter and Instagram

One can also choose to publish your content credentials to the cloud. The alternative is to attach them to your files (which would increase the file size of each file). When you refresh the Content Credentials panel, one would see the linked accounts in Photoshop.

Content Credentials panel in Photoshop showing linked social media accounts (Instagram and Twitter).

When you work with images, you can then preserve the content credentials as part of your file saving/exporting process. In this case, I removed the background from one of my orchid photos (generated by stacking a number of images together). Before exporting, these are some of the data one can include.

Exporting a PNG image with content credentials in Photoshop.

Ok, content credentials are now in the meta data. Now what?

Inspecting images

Perhaps one encounters the stacked image of an orchid online. We all know it is not possible to take a macro photo of a flower with such detail unless there has been some manipulation. One can use a tool like Verify (at the Content Authenticity Initiative site) to learn more about the image. Note that the image is being examined on your local computer (and is not being uploaded during this checking process). This is what I see when I examine the orchid image.

Verifying the content authenticity of an image.

Note that there is recognition that there have been prior edits to this image (before the CAI was activated). However, one can also see the additional information. In addition to the inspection tab, there is an overview (for those who like to see the origins).

Visual overview of content authenticity showing origin of image.

Of course, that was an overview of my efforts working with actual images. What about AI-generated images?

AI and C2PA

Tools (like Adobe Firefly) utilize open-source tools (C2PA in this case). If you follow the link to C2PA, there is an introduction video. Without going into all the weeds, here is what one sees when testing the content authenticity of a Firefly-generated image. Note, there is no visual overview as this was just machine-generated. One can clearly see the origin of the image.

AI generated image with CAI credentials

Perhaps the CAI will help us better deal with the wave of misinformation being generated. Time will tell. In the interim, we encourage you to try out these open-source tools. As always, we are curious what you think. Let us know in the comments.


Benefits of eCommerce Websites Today

Benefits of eCommerce Websites Today

[Editor’s note – we thought it might be helpful to review some of the basics of eCommerce sites via this guest article. Let us know if your find these review articles helpful (via the comments section).]

The modern world of technology has many great opportunities for businesses to attract customers and gain successful brands. Imagine this; your business is everywhere you go. Great, isn’t it?

With the high growth and demand of the online industry, the majority of marketers try to make a step forward. If you also try to create your own store where you can offer your products or services, then, congrats! You are in the right way of getting a range of benefits.

How e-commerce websites differ from other sites

While ordinary websites are generally designed for sharing information, eCommerce websites are online platforms that give the possibility for offering products and services by means of the data and fund transfers. Through a number of SEO services and other marketing tactics, the site gains visibility and loyalty. SERP’s (Search Engine Result Pages) target many visitors who surf the Internet for a desired product or service.

Why it this important?

Any web professional of an experienced digital marketing agency (such as the one I work for) values the role and importance of having an eCommerce website. Why?

The reason for this is its huge role in digital marketing. Regardless of the size, type, product, service or budget, any company can take advantages of building an eCommerce website. They not only integrate SEO services for increased visibility but also bring together different marketing strategies; like SMM (Social Media Marketing), PPC (Pay Per Click), Content Marketing, Email Marketing, and more, to facilitate the process of online sales.

Are websites are still relevant in this “mobile” world?

Although new technologies continue to emerge in our digital world (such as AR, Augmented Reality) and people tend to search mostly on mobile devices, mobile apps have not replaced websites; instead, websites become inseparable parts of mobile as well. While designing a website many digital marketing agencies choose the mobile-first approach, others make your website mobile-friendly. Websites are and will remain relevant for several reasons:

  • They include a variety of features .
  • They help strengthen your brand .
  • They provide the opportunity to include back-links.
  • 93% of people start the product or service search in search engines (and your website can broaden your reach beyond just an app) .
  • They can be more cost-effective .

Let’s see some key benefits of eCommerce websites in today’s market.

Sell your Products Worldwide

56% of people in the world use the Internet; each of them can become your buyer. Digitization promises that this percentage will grow day by day. Among search engines, only Google has 3.5 billion searches every day. Hence, these numbers show the potential and possibility of gaining quality traffic with the help of well-optimized website for search engines.

It is open 24/7

While a real store can be open 24/7, not all people will go to it in late hours for shopping. However, many people tend to make a fast buying decision and websites allow getting what they want when they want it. Having online support or including chat-bots can be a solution if people have additional questions.

Good Advertising

Your website can become a great tool for gaining brand awareness. However,this only works when people find you. This made easier due to a number of marketing tactics, like SEO, PPC, SMM, and similar approaches.

It Informs

You can use social media platforms for your business, however, a website is more informative. Everything goes around your business. The quality and relevant content that you include, videos, images, navigation bar; every simple element can give your customer much information about your business.

It Builds Trust

People are more likely to trust your business if you show them your brand “image”. A good design and the contact information which you include give your brand added value.

Targeted Audience

Websites promise targeted and quality traffic, especially if they are organic. People who search and visit your website are more likely to purchase, than if they meet your business accidentally. Keywords and content that your website includes will meet the customer’s needs, if you create them taking into consideration searcher intent.


Website content allows including back-links which increases your chance of becoming more visible to your target market. Search engines, especially Google, can provide value to quality back-links which help find your business. Often, trust and relevance increase over those sites that do not include such links.

Increase your Brand Reputation

Since people can find everything connected to your business, they become more confident in your products or services which in turn helps to build loyalty. The better your website is (including accessibility), the higher it will be viewed and perceived by potential buyers.


Building a website is not risky and does not demand much money, however, it is a good investment for building a professional brand. When you optimize the website to meet the needs of users and search engines, you will get a chance to get high ROI. Optimizing your websites for search engines with the help of different SEO services you will manage to increase your website credibility, grow your target audience and increase your revenue.


Photo of Tigran Mirzoyan

Tigran Mirzoyan is a marketing and creative content specialist at with a primary focus on SEO, PPC and customer satisfaction for eCommerce businesses. He draws inspiration from the simple things in everyday life.

5 Things to Consider Regarding Web Accessibility

5 Things to Consider Regarding Web Accessibility

View of older woman reading printed article with magnifying lens. Accessibility matters! in bold print to the left of the woman.

Is Your Website Section 508 Compliant?

Imagine this… You manage a website for a company. Someone from Legal approaches you with a question, “Is the company’s website Section 508 compliant”? How would you respond?

Your first reaction might be to cringe. Or, maybe you get that “deer in the headlight” look because honestly, you haven’t dealt a lot with web accessibility. You wonder, “What is that anyway?”   

Web accessibility can be a scary thing, especially if you don’t have much experience with it.  But fear not! There is good news!

Here are five things to consider when establishing an accessible, and ultimately optimized, web experience for all.

1. There is no such thing as a completely 100% accessible website.

It might be of some comfort to know that it is pretty much impossible to create a web experience that is completely 100% accessible by all. Most websites are not built with web accessibility in mind, so know that you will be retroactively fixing problems.

Also know you will run across a variety of issues. Some issues you will be able to fix easily, while others will be much more challenging. You may even come across issues that you won’t be able to fix at all. Understand that applying accessibility to an established website can be like uprooting a well-established tree. It can be done, but it’s going to take a lot of effort.  

2. Web accessibility is not a binary thing.

You can’t just answer the question with a “yes” or “no” response. It is not just one or the other. Web accessibility will always have some shades of grey. The site you manage will probably have some accessible features already, like alt descriptions for images, and heading tag <h1 – h6> tags.

The website you manage is probably already somewhat accessible. The question is, “what shade of grey is it?” Remember there is no such thing as a 100% accessible website.

3. WCAG and Section 508 standards are similar but different.

If you do your research, you’re going to run across something called WCAG and Section 508. It’s important to know that these things are similar, but different.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is advice developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), with the goal of establishing standard practices regarding web content. These standards are aimed at teaching individuals and organizations how to develop web content for all people, including those with physical and mental disabilities.

Section 508 also deals with creating accessible web content, but it is different than WCAG. WCAG is a cooperative web standard. Section is a law that requires government agencies to make their websites, and other technology, accessible to people with disabilities. If you manage a website that uses government money like a university or health insurance website, you might have to abide by Section 508.

4. What is the ultimate goal of web accessibility?

Is the ultimate goal of web accessibility just to be compliant? I would say no. Approaching web accessibility with the ultimate goal of compliance in mind is short sighted.

The ultimate goal of web accessibility is to create a web “experience” that is accessible by as many people as possible, regardless of ability. This issue is really about humans and their ability to access the information that they need. Yes, the law is involved in some instances, but ultimately we are talking about being compassionate towards others, and good stewards of the information that we manage.

5. If you must have benchmarks and metrics, create a checklist.

Now the person from Legal is probably looking for some sort of concrete evidence that they can use to defend the company. Here is one way to approach this:

  • What is the law, and what does it state that the website must have?
  • Think about the senses you have as a human being (sight, touch, and sound etc.), which ones do you use to take in information?
  • How will you modify the website based on someone who is visually impaired, doesn’t hear well, or doesn’t have use of their hands?
  • Don’t “forget” about memory retention! What types of modifications will you make for people who have a cognitive impairment?
  • Write these things down and create a list. Do an audit of the site. What do can you do differently?
  • Think about your website and the content in terms of numbers. Maybe you have 20 PDFs and none of them are accessible. Can you create a metric around this? Can you strive for all 20 PDFs to be accessible by the end of the year?
  • Take this information to Legal and work with them.

So, going back to the original question?  Is your website Section 508 compliant? How would you respond?

Understand that Legal is probably going to want to resolve this issue in a concrete way. Their job is to protect the company from legal trouble; however they don’t necessarily understand websites and web content. Your job is not to understand the law entirely, but to understand how the web works.

Remember you are the web expert. Respond appropriately and move forward in a collaborative and productive manner. Together you can create a wonderfully optimized web experience for as many people as possible, while keeping the company out of legal trouble.

Introduction to Digital Asset Management

Introduction to Digital Asset Management

Any professional who works at creating, managing, or marketing a website understands how important digital assets are in their work. Digital assets are electronically stored data that come with the right to use, bring value to their owners, and are uniquely identifiable. Examples of digital assets include audio files, PDF white papers, graphics, photos, HTML documents, and presentations.

Individual viewing computer monitor with a title overlay of digital asset management

Web professionals can use these assets to help educate people on a topic, improve a company or organization’s digital presence, and market products or services online. However, as the number of stored digital assets grows at an organization, it becomes time-consuming and difficult for different web professionals to manage and retrieve assets.

A digital asset management (DAM) solution is a type of software that helps web professionals properly store, update, index, and retrieve their digital assets. The demand for dedicated DAM tools is expected to surge over the coming years, and recent research predicted the global DAM market to reach $8.1 billion by 2024.

Read on to find out the types of DAM available, the service models you can implement when using DAM systems, and some specific use cases of DAM software for web professionals. You will also get some tips and best practices for getting the most out of any DAM solution.

Types of Tools

There are three main types of Digital Asset Management tools; however, many enterprise solutions can be classified and used as any single one or as all of these types simultaneously.

  • Library asset management focuses on building an organized digital library of infrequently changing assets for easy storage and retrieval.
  • Production asset management meets the needs of web professionals who need to collaborate on, control and use digital assets that are frequently updated and revised.
  • Brand asset management entails using and reusing marketing materials, logos, and other assets that help to build brand identity.

Software Service Models

There are two main service models for implementing Digital Asset Management:

  • On-premise DAM solutions are installed locally on an organization’s servers. Everything is kept in-house and users typically access assets via the internal corporate network.
  • Cloud DAM solutions are hosted on external web servers and the software is accessed through a web browser via an Internet connection.

On-premise DAM systems are better suited for web professionals whose roles involve stringent data security obligations, such as people working in government departments and highly regulated industries. A cloud DAM is a cheaper, more flexible solution that can also facilitate the needs of distributed teams and remote workers.

Benefits of DAM for Web Professionals

Web professionals work in a wide range of roles, but here are some general benefits of DAM software for all web professionals:

  • DAM software reduces time spent looking for assets, improves workflows, and facilitates quick repurposing of digital assets. The result is greater productivity.
  • By building a central repository of digital assets and using versioning controls, DAM provides asset consistency and facilitates collaboration for web professionals.
  • DAM software tracks the usage rights associated with assets, which can help reduce the risk of copyright issues from improper asset use. For example, there might be restrictions in how you use purchased stock photos.
  • Cloud and on-premise DAM software typically come with access control, meaning you can secure your most sensitive assets and make sure that the only people with access to them are those who need such access to do their jobs.

Best Practices When Using a DAM System

DAM offers many benefits for web professionals but how you use your chosen tool can make a huge difference. Here are some best practices for getting the most from DAM software.

Metadata is Critical

Metadata is information about your assets. Your DAM software is only as good as the metadata you store with each asset. There is a balance between too much metadata and too little. You need to enter the most important information about every asset you wish to catalog because metadata is what turns a piece of digital data into an easily searchable and retrievable asset.   You should also have a policy to enter metadata into the system as soon as you upload a given asset. Procrastination leads to an inefficient setup that makes it hard to find assets.

Specify Usage Terms

Assets rights issues can easily emerge when an asset has been stored without reference to its usage rights. For all rights-managed assets, it’s imperative to specify the usage terms in their metadata.

Leverage Analytics

DAM software often comes with advanced tracking and analytics features. You can use this information to your advantage, for example, marketers can identify the asset categories that bring the most ROI to your organization. You can also use the analytics to identify assets or collections of assets that are most frequently used and try to make such assets more easily discoverable.

Assign an Administrator

Particularly in large organizations, it is prudent to have a dedicated DAM administrator. This person can manage access controls for different users and ensure user roles and permissions are kept current. The administrator should also be responsible for creating and deleting users from the system.

Train Users

When you adopt a DAM system, it’s a good idea to set up a dedicated half-day of training that teaches different web professionals in your organization how to use your chosen software. If you avoid training users, they will need to learn on the job, which can lead to a lot of frustration and lost productivity.   


The expected growth in the DAM software market reflects the growing influence of digital assets in the daily work of various web professionals from designers to marketers to website copywriters. Cloud DAM solutions have emerged as a lower cost alternative service model for DAM, however, on-premise systems are still the standard for professionals in government departments and highly regulated sectors.

Editor’s Note: This sponsored content was provided by Gilad Maayan (Developer Community Advisor) at Agile SEO.

Static website generators – part 3

Static website generators – part 3

After a long break let’s take a look at another Static Generator – Hexo.

Hexo is powered by Node.js and is mostly aimed at blogging. It has a deploy integration for GitHub which makes it a great fit to build a documentation site for a GitHub project as well. If you are a JavaScript developer, the setup should be relatively easy. Like many other general purpose generators, you’ll probably want to write your content in Markdown. The default templating engine is Swig, which is once again well suited for JavaScript developers. However, Hexo is extensible to allow other templating engines to be used if you want.

The Hexo website includes a range of pre-built themes for you to try out, and one especially popular feature of the tool is its support for single-command deployment.

Installation of Hexo

Installing Hexo is quite easy. However, you do need to have a couple of other things installed first:

This link provides details to install Hexo. Just follow the steps.

Static Website Generator vs WordPress

We reviewed static site generators when we began this series of articles. If you need a quick review – a static site is a collection of pages contained in basic HTML files.  A static site generator (SSG) is a compromise between using a hand-coded static site and a full CMS. You generate an HTML-only website using raw data (such as Markdown files) and templates. The resulting build is transferred to your live server. Static site generators are systems that compile templates into static HTML pages. There is no server processing or rendering, so static websites tend to be very fast and lightweight, saving you and your users precious time and bandwidth. This increased efficiency is reflected in lower costs (including lower maintenance costs) and, potentially, higher revenues.

What is the difference between WordPress and Hexo?

When talking about performance, one must think about caching. Although there are multiple techniques for caching WordPress, this is not usually a straightforward task, unlike caching static files. Serving cached files is more performant than serving actual files from the server and it can save time when loading websites.

Advantages of Hexo

Hexo has many pros:

  • it is blazing fast,
  • it is easy to deploy to GitHub pages or any other host with one deploy command,
  • it is powerful with solid Markdown support,
  • it is highly extensible,
  • it is open source and there are many open source themes, and
  • there are available free plugins.

With Hexo, one can create markdown files and HTML layouts which will be converted to static HTML files when deployed. Hexo provides a deploy configuration which builds our static files into a GitHub branch. This means one can maintain documentation as markdown in our project’s master branch and deploy it, with one command, to gh-pages.

My experience working with Hexo

I decided to create a blog post for Hexo without any graphics. I found creating the blog post in Hexo to be easier than Jekyll. Readers may recall that I discussed Jekyll as part 2 of this series. The default theme also looks good on the site. I decided to just run the site locally. If time permits, I may post some of these examples on a Web Professionals server and link to them. In the interim, here is a screen capture of the results. I did not encounter any major issues when working with Hexo locally.

Screen capture of simple Hexo blog post.
Example of Hexo blog post

Final Thoughts

During my course of study as a Web Developer I tried many CMS systems and installed a lot of software. I found working with Hexo a little easier than most. It also has a little learning curve. One must use the command prompt to run different commands. I was able to get desired output to display locally with not that much effort. Each time I made changes I had to run ‘hexo server’ command on command prompt. That is the essence of static site generators (one must remember to constantly update the resulting web pages when changes are made).

One may find it simple and easy to build sites using Hexo or one may face problems initially installing and running and deploying. It all depends how the computer configuration/set up is. I am curious as to your experiences with Hexo. What did you like/ dislike? Please update the comments with your experiences.

Mistakes to avoid when building your real estate platform

Mistakes to avoid when building your real estate platform

There’s no doubt that the latest internet revolution is throwing a number of industries for a loop, and the real estate business is as affected as anyone else. Real estate web platforms like Zillow and Trulia provide potential renters and homeowners with a wealth of new tools for their search, offering an alternative to traditional real estate brokers and agents. But that doesn’t mean that everything is hopeless for real estate agencies. By adopting these technologies themselves and moving beyond the traditional real estate website, they can compete with these more disruptive approaches to how we shop for homes. But regardless of which areas these clients come from, it’s fertile ground for people with mobile app development experience. Here are some common mistakes you should avoid when building out a real estate platform.

Neglecting the Search Interface

When you really separate the process of real estate app development down to its component parts, it’s not that dissimilar from building a traditional marketplace shopping app. For the majority of startups trying to create a real estate app, the service itself will operate as a third party provider connecting supply to demand. It’s a model employed in countless industries today, but whether you’re operating an airfare shopping service like Expedia or a more traditional shopping app like Wish or eBay, the core objective is the same. You need to provide the users with the tools they need to identify their needs and receive accurately and appropriately filtered results.

That means that the search engine is going to serve as the core of any real estate app, and the options therein are going to be what causes it to sink or swim. Regardless of the platform, there are a few fundamental filtering options that tend to serve as the core of the real estate search experience:

The location of the property. Many buyers will come to the home shopping experience with some understanding of their ideal neighborhoods, and that means that in addition to a functional map system (which we’ll address below), a simpler way to sort homes by location is integral. This could be broken down into neighborhood names, zip codes, or both.

Listing and home types. Whether a user is looking to buy, sell, or rent their property, their needs are going to be very different. You may want to integrate the selling process using a different interface, but that will depend on how deep is a feature set you want to create for sellers.

The number of bedrooms. A single college student will have very different demands from a family of four, after all.

Pricing. This is a fundamental variable in any shopping experience, and a slider is the most effective way to make it work within your app.

Those are just the fundamentals. A number of other filters like the number of secondary rooms, available amenities, floor space, and smart home features can greatly improve the interactivity of your app. If you’re putting a particular emphasis on renting, additional filters that cover policies like pets and smoking can be of great use as well.

Choosing Only One Listing Type

The search filters only provide half of the story for shoppers, and that’s why more in-depth listings are a necessary component for any app. The two predominant visualizations in apps of these types are maps and paneled lists, and most real estate apps that want to stay competitive will make use of both, normally in conjunction with each other.

Listings allow your sellers or landlords to put their best foot forward. Photos can make a huge difference when trying to find a renter or buyer for a property, and that’s why it’s important to make these options as interactive as possible. Setting standards for resolution, size, and a format is critical here, as it creates a level of consistency with your platform, and you’ll want to make sure that your retailers have access to a simple interface that allows them to upload images easily, manage their galleries, and edit the write up for their listings. On the other end of the equation, the ability to like, bookmark, or favorite listings is a quality of life component that may seem simple but is a practical necessity for apps like these.

Maps might not offer the same dense level of information as listings, but they help the user get a good frame of reference for their prospective properties. Location is one of the biggest determinant factors in the home shopping experience, and it shouldn’t be neglected. Fortunately, the Google Maps API is easy to integrate into most platforms, and there’s a decent level of customization that can be used to create your own brand identity. Another advantage of implementing Google’s map function is that it offers a street-level view, a useful choice for customers who don’t want to rely on the listing galleries alone.

Used in conjunction with one another, these two listing formats allow the users to shop how they want, and it essentially creates two layers of immersion into the experience: a top-down view in the form of the map and a more focused perspective in the form of the paneled gallery.

Focusing Exclusively on Buyers and Renters

If you’re a third party designing a real estate app, it can be easy to look at the people trying to rent and buy a home as your direct consumer. That would be a mistake. As the endpoint in the transactional relationship, the owners and landlords will ultimately be the consumers for your product, and appealing to them should be a top priority. You should strongly consider putting a feature rich interface in for agents and independent sellers.

Monetizing the option to place listings can be one of the best ways to keep your app in the black, but that means that you can’t lag behind the big names in the industry. A calendar constitutes the bare minimum here, and it should absolutely be a part of your infrastructure. If your agents and sellers can’t effectively share information on open houses and showings, your app could be dead on arrival. As with maps, there are a number of options that can be easily implemented via API here, from Google Calendar to Outlook.

But you should consider map functionality a bare minimum here. Many sites offer priority advertising for premium customers, and some even incorporate full-blown customer relationship management platforms directly into their interface. Exactly how far you want to dig in here is going to depend on the ambition of your app, but you should at least build your application with the opportunity for expansion into CRM territory. Marketing tools, landing page integration, and dynamic communications options like chat, voice, and email are all reasonable goals to set for your app’s development process.

In Conclusion, Pace Yourself

Real estate apps may occupy a comparatively small part of the overall software marketplace, but they can be highly lucrative. As with any development cycle, coming in with a strong proof of concept and direct goals for development. By setting a blueprint from the start and determining how your app is differentiated from the variety of other services on the market, you can carve out your own unique niche. Just don’t neglect the fundamental necessities in pursuit of the next big thing.

Editor’s note: This sponsored post was provided by Victor Osadchiy.

Victor Osadchiy
Victor Osadchiy

Victor is a creative writer who formerly worked in the Ed Tech industry. By day, he’s a writer about app development for business. By night, he’s an online gamer and a big fan of Esports. You can find more posts by Victor on the Yalantis blog