Filed under: Content management
A website can be an impressive statement of professionalism and creativity, enhancing a company’s image with a high standard of design, graphical sophistication, consistency and attractiveness.
“Why would I want to consider a product from a company that can’t even design a good web site?”
This reassures the customer about the expertise and flair of the vendor, and the marketing potential of the product.
This is probably the most subjective area evaluated in this series of articles. There are a number of accepted genres of corporate website, and high-scoring sites fall into a range of these. This rating relies heavily on first page impact, although impressive tours or presentations also helped some ratings.
A few sites were sufficiently poorly designed to actively discourage potential customers. One site, aimed more at developers than the general customer, was just too strange to assess.
In general, the main faults of low-rated sites included a distractingly busy or crowded look, too many dynamic elements, especially scrolling text, and dull or low contrast colours and backgrounds.
The better two-star sites had brighter, cleaner designs, well-designed and distinctive graphics and logos, and an identifiable overall company look and feel. The three-star sites include one large international corporate site, one mid-sized vendor, and two small vendors, and they are very different from each other.
Since the original research was conducted, the importance of standards-compliance and accessibility have become much more prominent. With these two factors driving the adoption of CMS products, vendor websites are an ideal opportunity to demonstrate how their product can deliver on these goals in practice. Unfortunately, many vendor websites display a poor (or outdated) understanding of these issues.