Monday, September 24, 2007

10 Great Web Sites

The role of usability in the best Web Sites ...

"Each year, BtoB selects 10 b-to-b Web sites that do an exceptionally good job of communicating with their audiences. These sites find innovative and compelling ways to share product and services information and, just as important, they make that information easy to find. Though they use different means, the end is the same: meeting the user's needs. As simple as it sounds, it's an approach that's too rare in the world of business marketing.

"One of the biggest problems with b-to-b Web sites is that the marketers who design them are not seeing their sites as a resource but as more of a promotional experience," said Hoa Loranger, a user experience specialist at Web usability company Nielsen Norman Group. "For a business customer, the Web site is often a starting point to see if they want to include your company on a short list. They don't have patience or time to waste."

The best Web sites, Loranger said, are the ones that forget that they are trying to sell anything.

"Companies aren't thinking enough about usability because they feel like they already have a captive audience," said Alan Webber, a senior analyst at Forrester Research. "That's the mythology they are telling themselves."

Navigation in particular is key, because site visitors who can't find what they're looking for will simply leave. Good sites have clear, intuitive pathways in and around the site, and navigation options don't diminish once you get inside. This is especially important today because a large segment of b-to-b visitors come into the site via a search engine, which often drops them several pages in.

Then there's the content. Unlike b-to-c sites, good b-to-b sites don't need as many images or Web 2.0 options, Loranger said."    (Continued via BtoB Magazine)    [Usability Resources]

Dell: One of the Top Ten - Usability, User Interface Design

Dell: One of the Top Ten

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