With the release of SP2013, more organizations are looking to SharePoint to provide the platform for their public websites. Adding a preview solution to a public website significantly increases functionality and stickyness to a website to vastly improve the overall visitor experience.
Search is the main internet navigation pattern.
As site visitors navigate a website the search functionality serves a key purpose and has become the default navigation form on many sites. It is well known that search functionality has a high impact on how visitors evaluate e-commerce sites. For instance, there is a direct correlation between how long visitors spend on the site and customer conversion. In short, the quicker visitors can find what they are looking for, the greater the probability of a sale.
Thin client requirement
For a preview solution to function properly as an add-on to a SharePoint based public website it is required to be completely transparent to the website visitor, and that no client-side plug-in or download is needed as that would dramatically increase bounce rates. Furthermore, site visitors are increasingly using mobile devices to browse the internet, so preview must be implemented in a technology that is compatible with mobile devices.
Preview in SharePoint 2013 for public web sites
The built-in preview functionality in SharePoint 2013 requires extra infrastructure in the form of a separate Office Web Apps server farm. This can create challenges with preview on a SharePoint based public website, as it is needed to make the Office Web Apps servers accessible outside a firewall in order to enable native SharePoint 2013 preview.