A few weeks ago, I was asked for some examples of Web site effectiveness. Here are a few from ibm.com.
What elements make a Web site effective?
- Think Global: Not everyone speaks English or lives in the US. Make it easy for people to choose a country, region, or language no matter where they begin their site experience — country and language selection should be available everywhere on the site, not just the home page. At IBM, Country/Region selection is available in the top-right of the masthead on every page and people can choose not only country, but have a choice of languages for each country as well.
- People focus: Understand it’s not about the Web site, it’s about the people. Social enablement is key — on your site and off. On big sites like IBM, with so many products and services, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, To help with that , we make it personal on sites like My developerworks. My developerWorks allows IT professionals, students, IBM product experts, and newbies to interact in their own personalized space on the IBM My developerWorks site as well as connect and integrate and their activities with facebook, twitter, and other social sites.
- Content portability: Make your Web content available wherever your audience wants to access it — this is beyond making your site search engine friendly (although ensuring your site surfaces in search engines is one of the most important components to Web effectiveness). Have a validated Web feed and make it easy to find, particularly if you have frequently updated content. Understand that your audience may not want to come back and check the site every day. Let them decide when and where to read, view, or listen to the latest update — on a feedreader, on your site, on an iPod, or somewhere else entirely. Feeds put your content wherever it needs to be. And don’t forget to create content-type specific feeds for videos and podcasts, like the feed listed on the IBM Web site for IBM podcasts and this site on iTunes with an IBM iTunes podcast feed.
- Provide answers: Most people navigate to a Web site with a question. The first goal of any Web site is to provide the answers on the page, by creating content that people can actually use. But when the answer is a little more complicated, the site has to make it easy to get answers, when, where, and how the customer wants. On the IBM Software site, many pages display a number to call or an option to ask via Web interface for a Call back, a quote, or a response e-mail, such as on the Rational Change and release management offerings page. In some cases, IBM site users will even get a pop-up with an offer for live help from a real person.