We hate to pigeonhole communications, but there seems to be a trend among WWW
design that lends itself to categorization. We can break many pages and systems into
As you’ve surfed around the internet, you’ve probably seen pages and systems that fit into the
above categories. You’ve probably seen systems that give way too much information on
a product (and do so in a dry, technical manner), systems that are all bells and whistles
with no content, and systems whose only focus is on getting you to order the product
Our focus in designing commercial websites is to combine these three types of systems into
one, and thus create a complete marketing tool. As we have already said, marketing is a
combination of things that lead to commercial advancement, and not a single entity.
What we are seeking is a balance of information, entertainment, and product sales
communications that will provide a complete communications package.
To put things into perspective, we’ll tell a story about the three little business people. The
first was an informer. When she was asked to send a client information about a product,
she would gather everything she could get her hands on, bind it all together in one big
book, and send it to the client saying that everything they could possibly want to know is
in there. The second person was strictly an entertainer. He would go to a client’s office, tell jokes,
show interesting slides, do magic tricks, and so on. The third person was strictly focused on getting the client to order. She would walk into the client’s office with a contract in one hand and a pen in the other.
Separately, these three people did very poorly. They would either confuse, distract, or
irritate the clients. Together, however, they were unstoppable. They were able to engage
the clients, provide him or her with the information they needed, and close the deal.
Your pages should keep the same balance. You want to provide enough information for
your potential clients to make an informed decision (and to support them after the
purchase), you want to provide this information in an engaging manner, and you want to
make the sale. By balancing this carefully, you will make your system appealing to the
Organizing Your Page to Your Commercial
So, how do you go about making a system that provides all three elements in perfect
balance? The key is in organization, both at the page and system levels. To may make
the site appealing to the broadest audience, you will need to design your work so that it
provides effective communications to several different types of people (shoppers looking
for a quick overview, people wanting in-depth detail, and so on). We’ll start with the
- Basic Elements of a Web Document
- These items should appear on every commercial WWW document:
- Company name
- Link to information on contacting company or company e-mail address
- Page title
- Author or contact person’s e-mail address
- Link to home page
- Date of creation or latest revision (on time-sensitive materials)
- Statement of copyright
- Hypertext link(s) to other related local pages
- Company logo
The basic items in a commercial Web document.
Your company name and logo should appear on each page, so that it is clear to everyone,
regardless of how they entered the system, who owns it. This also ties the Web system
into any printed collateral.
Providing a link to information on contacting the company, or a company e-mail
address, is crucial. Remember, this is two-way communication we’re dealing with here.
If the viewer can’t get ahold of someone for ordering, further information, and so on, the
system doesn’t serve much of a purpose other than letting people know the company
Many of these elements can be addressed in different ways.
The company name and logo can be a graphic on each page, a
banner in a frames system, or something else. You should
address all of these items in some way, but the exact way you
do it is your choice. The page title should exist on two levels: first, it should be included within the HTML
<TITLE> tags, so that a browser will display it outside of the page (usually on the
browser’s top border). Second, the title of the page should appear clearly within the body
of the page, so that it can be viewed within the first screen (without scrolling) on a640x480 pixel monitor. The author or contact person, often called the webmaster, should present an e-mail
address, and a link to his/her e-mail, on every page if possible. This enables people to
report problems with your pages. This sometimes becomes a nuisance, as there are
people out there with way too much time on their hands who will fill your e-mail box
with annoying observations. On high-traffic websites, you may want to drop the webmaster
link after you’re sure that most of the bugs have been worked out of the system.
A link to the system home page offers primitive navigation to people who may be
unfamiliar with your other navigation tools, and it enables people to start over from the
beginning. It’s also useful if someone is accessing your system from anywhere other than
the home page.
- Press releases, technical updates, and other time-sensitive materials can include the dateof creation and/or latest revision. If this is not something you want to make public (and there’s really no reason to), you can include it in the code as a comment tag, or you can encode the date, revision and any other information on the bottom of the page (as in 080896r4). Copyright law states that you needn’t claim a document as having a copyright for it to bevalid and legally yours, but it will help if you are ripped-off and need to take it to court. Your statement of copyright should look something like this: Copyright 2007, Blasty, Roads and Associates, All Rights Reserved.
- Hypertext link(s) to other related local pages should be included for obvious reasons, but how and how many are a matter of style and application. For instance, don’t link out in the middle of a paragraph if you want that paragraph to be read; instead, add a more information link at the end of the text.
On the next page, we’ll discuss “the look” of your website