October 2000 Newsletter

What Does an Architect (or Engineer) Want to Find on Your Website?

Architects and engineers are frustrated with construction product websites that are little more than an advertisement or brochure. Even worse is to provide your design data and make it difficult to find and use your data. Or, for a manufacturer to have a website and then take it offline for modifications and leave nothing but a blank page or a 404 error. Would you stop accepting calls on your 800# because you were making changes? Several manufacturers have done just that with their website!

While every manufacturer has different information for design using their products, these recommendations are a starting spot for your website design. Ask yourself, can a designer find this data on your website? You will probably have a similar page for each product or CSI section where you have products. Consider this as a checklist of information that should be included on your website:

  1. Product Description - a brief description of the uses for the product
  2. General Product Information, including basic uses, limitations, sizes and grades
  3. Product Selection Guide
  4. Photographs
  5. Technical Data
  6. Product Data Sheets
  7. Finishes and color selection guide
  8. FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
  9. Competitive Analysis
  10. 3-part specification
  11. CAD Details
  12. Product Submittal Sheets (in a PDF format to be printed and submitted by the contractor)
  13. Code Approvals - ICBO, NER, BOCA
  14. Test Reports - UL, Omega Point, etc.
  15. Case Studies
  16. MSDS Sheets
  17. Installation Instructions
  18. Maintenance Instructions
  19. Warranty

Product Availability

Think this is too difficult to put on a page? Take a look at our suggested website design - WebFormat and this example:

WebFormat - HardKnox Products

This page shows a simple - and fast - way to set up your product pages. Every architect has commented - "I like it! How do we get every manufacturer to use this layout?" Feel free to adopt and use this as a guideline for your website.


Colin Gilboy
Publisher - 4specs
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