April 2020 Newsletter
Tips for Great "Specified Product" Websites
These are notes from a talk given by Sal Verrastro, CCS and Roy Schauffele, CCPR on developing great literature. Their thoughts are still applicable for developing a useful website for architects and specifiers.
- Follow the Spec-Data Format - "It is an excellent tool" says Roy Schauffele. "It makes it easy to choose the right product."
- 4specs Suggestion - this is also known as the CSI 10-part specification format and is a great format for a product datasheet.
- Date everything - even advertisements and websites. "That way practitioners know how old a piece is."
- 4specs Suggestion - I would add another date to the web page - "Last Reviewed" so a 10-year-old document will show that the information is still current.
- Include contact information - "I hear this all the time," Schauffele said, "I have this great binder, but I don't know who to contact locally..."
- 4specs Suggestion - Ensure your address is online and easily found. Include phone numbers for technical support. If you move, quickly update the address. Add in addresses for other manufacturing locations and at least your regional or territory managers if not your local reps.
- Test your literature by faxing it to yourself. "Many times, we see literature that is beautiful in the binder, but un-faxable," Roy Schauffele said
- 4specs Suggestion - Ensure that your web pages can be saved as a pdf so the architect and specifier can save the information in a project archive. Try several different programs and check the results. Not every web page can be saved as a usable pdf.
- Do not include legal disclaimers. "It won't protect you from anything in today's litigious society and may send your clients looking elsewhere" Schauffele said.
- Include the limitations of your product. "At the moment you say your product is not the cure-all for everything, your credibility rises above and beyond," Schauffele said.
- When putting information online, keep the graphics simple. "Don't dazzle us with colors and fireworks and things that spin," Verrastro said. "It's just distracting.
- 4specs Suggestion - do you really expect a user to wait for 2 minutes for your home page image carousel to rotate through all the images? Select one image and have it static.
- Keep downloads quick. Your local representative can fill in any blanks left by the website.
- 4specs Suggestion - missing information may lead the specifier to look elsewhere and not include your products. You web designer has no idea why it is important to include whether the product is 304 or 316 stainless and exactly what the E-119 and E-84 tests included. Include links to your UL and other testing so they can evaluate whether the product meets their requirements.
This list was based on a CSI Newsdigest article from December 2003. While that may seem like a long time ago I propose the information is as applicate today as then.
Questions, comments and suggestions are always appreciated.
Publisher - 4specs