Customization vs. Personalization

When developing a portal application, there is lot of confusion wrt Customization vs Personalization. What the client might be calling Personalization might in fact be Customization or vice versa. So, it is very important to understand the difference between the two.

The term "customization" is used to mean the rendering of portlet content based on users preferences or manipulating the portal layout based on the users security attributes.

The term "personalization" is used to mean delivering portlet content based on a business rule or collaborative filtering.

Customization centers around what resources (portlets and pages) you show the users based on their role. This is a core capability of Portal. There are tools provided that help administrators provision these resources. Typically, portlets allow users to specify what kind of information should display. For example, a weather portlet might be customized to show
weather in the users home town.

Personalization can deliver content to a user based on a profile and/or business rule, or determine characteristics of a user based on previous purchases, or pages viewed. Personalization then selects content that is appropriate for that profile. For example, if a person has a high salary range, personalization can be configured to retrieve information about premium products, the page is assembled with the proper information and the user sees his personalized page.

Personalization includes a rules engine, a recommendation engine and a resource engine. Although a full install of Portal installs and configures personalization functions by default, there are additional databases to consider. For example, personalization uses the DB2 Content Manager Runtime Edition for storage of rules, campaigns and other objects. There is a logging framework used to record information about web site usage to a feedback database. The LikeMinds recommendation engine also requires a database to store information gathered through the logging APIs.

To use personalization, you need content to display to your users. Therefore, personalization and content management go hand in hand. You will also need to understand where content is stored and how it is managed to optimize performance.

4 Comments To ' Customization vs. Personalization '

Anonymous said...

good post.
i also like to think of it in another way - customization is for group of people whereas personalization can be a one-to-one.
So when a site can change behaviour or content or whatever for groups and hence there are only pre-defined number of such options, it will be customization whereas if the behavior can change for every user and there are infinite (or huge) number of such things, it will be personalization.
what do u think?

Munish Gupta said...

I agree to your comments. Customization is where a user can explicitly set his/her preferences to what they want to see. Like the weather portlet. Personalization is more based on user behavior and is implicit in nature.

Chris said...

Awesome Post ...... i always wanted to know how do they deal with customization and personalization. Thanks for clearing me out. :D

Thanks for sharing!!!!

Nagendra Prathap Gondhi said...

I googled for this difference after many portal implementations. I read full article, scrolled down..down... and at the end i see it is Portal Guru Munish K.


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