September 2000 Newsletter

You have 60 Seconds - Don't Waste Them

You have 60 seconds after your visitor arrives. Why waste them? A website's first impression can be a killer. If you waste a visitor's time on the first page, they will leave. Our recommendations:

1. Don't use a splash page. A splash page is a page that shouts - I'm Here !!! Check out these actual product websites with time-wasting splash pages:
[link removed]

2. Don't use text images when text works faster. Text images are slow! See the Hard Knox demo website to see how fast and effective a simple home page can be:

3. Don't use any special viewers such as flash for special effects. The splash demo page has several examples of sites that require an additional download. Without the viewer, you cannot use the website. One manufacturer requires a viewer that takes 15 minutes to download. I wonder how many people actually ever see or use his product information. I gave up and I have a very fast cable connection.

Other Thoughts:

Architects want to use your website. But, today, architects cannot reliably expect to find the information they need at many websites. Architects must still rely on print catalogs and binders - expensive for them and for you. One architect recent wrote to me:

"Many manufacturers still need to get ALL their technical data and cad drawings online."

When I asked this architect for permission to use the quote, he asked me to add the following:

"Once a manufacturer is on the web it is critical that they keep their site current and RESPOND quickly to email inquiries (24 hr turnaround max!). Also it would be useful to able to quickly find a phone and fax number, which isn't always so easy."

"Once you get used to using the net websites, you realize how cumbersome the old product binder libraries are/were. Besides we don't have the time or resources to keep them up anymore. And of course there are fewer and fewer reps coming around."

We want to increase total usage of the Internet by design professionals. To make that happen more information needs to be available from every individual manufacturer's website. We have shifted the focus of our newsletter to provide manufacturers with information they can use to improve their websites, making them more useful. You may not agree, and your web designers may strongly disagree, but architects want simple and fast websites with complete design information readily available.

Our recommendations are centered on

(1) increased design information,
(2) better navigation,
(3) less graphics and
(4) faster.

"Specified" product websites are used for work. While images may be eye appealing, slow websites waste a construction professional's time. Construction jobsites typically use a dialup connection. Most architects do not have a fast Internet connection. Even if their office has a fast connection, the connection is shared and the result means slow websites. Design for what you know the masses have, and don't risk losing them. Assume your architect user has a dial up account on AOL, and work from there. Have you ever used AOL to visit your website? See how the rest of the world views your information.


Colin Gilboy
Publisher - 4specs
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