Suhel Khan's Blog

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What according to you is the most important aspects one should keep in mind while designing a corporate website?

“I believe that the art and science of designing corporate website is different from our normal web design approach. For a simple fact that the target audience of our corporate website is different. I want your help in identifying the most important aspect an organization should keep in mind in designing a corporate website. “

This was the question and the background which i requested my fellow networkers at Linkedin to answer. I would like to thank all of you who have taken out time to help me figure out the answer. Through this post i thought of sharing your views with other people who might be haunted by the same question. This post is the culmination of the series of question which i started on this blog, for your reference the questions were:-

1) What is a corporate website and How organizations loose there brand
value through there corporate websites ?

2) What is online branding and how can corporate websites become an
effective brand touch point?

3)  Ten corporate website design tips you shouldn’t miss

The response of the question was overwhelming, 23 people in total responded on Linkedin and some 43 people on other social media networks.

If you want me to remove your entry/link or you like the articles or you have something to add, then please do remember to leave a comment.  It’s a great motivator for a blogger. :)

Colin T

Owner, Scot Wed Photos

The most successful on-line company in the world is probably Microsoft.
Look at their website and learn :-)

David M

Legal consultant

Before you can even begin to think of a design, you have to decide how the website fits into the general marketing effort for the corporation. You have to be able to say precisely who you expect to use the internet to find information about your organization. Why should they be looking for you on the internet rather than through more conventional trade directories and other longer-established systems? Only when you know who might be looking for you and what they would need to know to convert interest into action can you begin to design.

Ryck M

Director Business Development

Like any other marketing tool, you must first decide what your objective is for the web site. Is it an e-commerce site, is it a lead generation vehicle, is a customer support portal, is it to create corporate or product awareness? Let your goals for the web site direct you to what you need to include and which should be featured prominently on it.

Sourabh H

Partner, Startsmart Consulting

The objective. Which in turn is driven through the business model – a website must fit into the company/organization’s business model.

He had an interesting article to share with us on the role of website design in estrategy. Click here to read the article.

Ainslie H

Consultant, Webmaster @ Midlands Minerals Corporation

Keep in mind your audience and what they want to get out of the website. For example, if your company is public and has or wants to attract investors or analysts, the area of your site that’s dedicated to investors should contain the key information that these visitors will be seeking on your company, and this should be easy to locate and access. If you are a consultancy, you might want to have a prominent link to your case studies and white papers, so potential clients can see how you work. If you are selling different product lines, you want to present them in a sensible way that isn’t confusing to people searching for information and prices.
Important information that your visitors will come to the site for should be easily accessible from the home page. This could be through links to other pages, for core information, or through direct links to things like news releases and annual reports, to keep your home page looking fresh, and show people that your company is active in the market. People get bored very easily, and if they have to click more than 2 or 3 times to get what they want, or if they layout of your site is confusing, they will leave and go somewhere else.
Websites affect first impressions in a big way. You can be the greatest company in the world, but if the person who visits your site doesn’t know anything about your company and has a poor user experience, they will often judge your company’s capabilities based on that.

Bruce R

Owner & CEO at dataccess.net

The most important aspect in the “design” of a corporate website is to insure that the design accomplishes your goal. Are you trying to inform the user about what your company does? Are you trying to promote your company or its products? Are you trying to sell products?
The design has to fit your goal. Good design will guide the user to where you want them to go on your website.

Adam K

CEO, Traction   |  Adams Blog

Quality graphic design is a minimum standard. So, ensure you have a design team that can provide that.
Bit the definition of design is “problem-solving” so you must be strategic.
Strategically, you must ask:
Who is your audience?
What are their objectives in coming to your site?
What are your objectives for your site?
Once you’ve answered those last two you can establish a hierarchy of navigation and content that bridges the final two and makes the user experience an intuitive path that mutually fulfills both sets of objectives.

Rohit K

Manager-Key Accounts Vitage Technologies Pvt Ltd

1. Corporate website shall be in sync with Corporate Brand Strategy
Colors used shall be in sync with Logo and corporate colors .
Brand colors should emphasize the philosophy and strategy of the
corporation and shall be as per brand Objectives laid down by the company.
2. Accessibility:
Should not be browser specific
Key words should be keyed in meta tags making it acceptable for registering in all major search engines
Shall be updated on regular basis and easy updation functionality be made available .
Typographically clean and readable text -Font type,color

Michael Lee J

Social Media and SEO Consultant

I am going to make this nice and easy for you… Only 15% of people buy from corporate websites. that’s What i think

Tori P

Principal Designer at Red Queen Design Studio

Great design is great because it identifies and accomplishes a purpose. There are engaging, gorgeous, eye-popping websites all over the web that fall flat at boosting sales, drawing in new clients, or accomplishing other goals because those goals were never defined in the first place. The first thing to do is identify in as much clarity as you can what the purpose of your website is and let the design flow from there.
The most important questions to ask yourself when defining this purpose:
–Who do you want to visit your corporate website? How old are they? What do they do, for work and for fun? What’s their income level? What products appeal to them?
–What are they coming your website? What do they want to do there? What information are they trying to find? How can you make it as easy as possible for them to accomplish the goal they came for?
–What do YOU want them to do? Maybe they came to your site for basic information, like contact information, but you want to draw them in so they’ll explore your company’s mission and philosophy, or maybe make a purchase from you.
Form follows function. If you spend time at the beginning of your project thoroughly identifying the users you want to target and the experience you want their website to have, your design should follow from there.

Dan D

President/Creative Director, Newton Associates

This applies to both content and design. Think of all the types of visitors who will come to the corporate site — prospects, customers, investors, vendors, news editors, etc. — then, be sure that the home page features clear navigation choices for each audience, then apply them globally throughout the site.

Kiran V

Social Media Marketing Evangelist,Managing Partner for dotndot.com

Below are the most important points.
1. Content
2. Simple design
3. Privacy policy
4. Easy Navigation
5. SEO Friendly
6. Sitemap
7. Clear information about service or a product.
8. Flexible contact options

iliyas P

SEO/SEM Expert, Web 2.0 Marketing, SEO, SEM, PPC, Social Media Marketing at Galaxy Web Links Ltd.

You first do keyword research for that website and give image name as SEO friendly like web-development.gif, jpb or .png etc, Pleas you h1, h2 tag in headings, proper navigation, SEO friendly page name etc are the main factor.
Please make site for users not for Search engines.

Kimmo L ( Kimmo’s blog )

Copywriter, Transcreator, Marcomm Consultant

As always, most of the important things have already been said, but I think one important aspect is missing: the back-end.
In other words, what will happen when a visitor to the site wants more information or wants to make a purchase?
However good the site design or content, it will not produce the desired results unless the contact interface is easy and any query is answered promptly.
Also, if the site gives contact telephone numbers, they should be ones where human beings answer directly. Nothing is more irritating than wading through a maze of voice menus (if you want this, dial 1, if you want that, dial 2 etc) only to end up talking to an answering machine.
I understand these points may be hard to accomplish if you’re hired just to “make a good website”, but nevertheless, it is important.

Helen B

Freelance web content services

I will assume that by ‘corporate website’, you are referring to the site (or that section of a site) that a company’s stakeholders go to for information such as financial results, business overview (‘about us’), employment opportunities, press information and so on.
The most important consideration in all effective communications is the target audience(s). For a corporate site, this would generally include (at least) shareholders (private and institutional), media, current employees, potential employees and suppliers. Ensure you do thorough research to identify what these groups would like to receive from your website.
If you’re referring to the most important aspects of a website’s design, you need to strike a balance between design and content (they go hand in hand). Both are equally important for creating a pleasant user experience and enabling visitors to find the information they want. Follow up your audience research with some usability testing.
Remember, however, that without good content, a website cannot survive on good design alone. Well-written copy creates a professional, credible impression of a website and the organization behind it.
Good content ensures that your website is accessible to both human visitors and search engines. The key is relevant, easy-to-use copy, supported by effective headings, alt tags, meta data, other alternative text and so on.

Shilpi Gupta
Executive-HR

Thanks for giving an opportunity to share my views on the subject matter. As the theoretical aspects has already been touched by the maverick people in their comments mentioned in LinkedIn. The most important (the least taken care of) thing when go on deciding about the corporate website is the

1) Target audience as you rightly mentioned in the question. Corporate have to broaden there approach when they go on deciding about the target audience, it could be potential clients, potential employees, current employees, TPO of the institutes, Students pursuing academics, Shareholders, Stakeholders, Vendors ,etc.

2) Emulating the existing websites or doing R & D on the existing ones will only stop the creative juices to pour out. So kindly don’t do any R& D before you start the business on the designing part.

3) Break the rules & the monotony: As I proceed with my assignment of hiring a designer I got to see ample artworks & online creations they all seems to be emulation of the others (almost all have the same layouts). Breaking the monotony & coming up with some unique design would definitely multiply the finger tapping frequency on the website.

Vijay Bhaskar

Business Excellence Analyst, Unisys

Demographics -
Get data on the existing website (if there is one) on the users who access, types of browsers, resolutions, top entry and exit pages etc. Remember that in many companies, the usage of tools, OS etc are controlled by their IT department – based on the cost and management of the need of the company.
In case it is a new site, get to meet the potential users and create the various personas (the details of these can be obtained by a simple google search – click here to see an example). Once this is done, you would know what and how you need to design.Purpose -
Generic Site – for the entire world – IF the site is to be designed for the rest of the world to see (you would get the details when you create the personas), then you would have to hear the voice of the customer and plan accordingly – remember that demographics are very crucial in deciding where you need to place what content etc.
If it is an Intranet – for the use of its employees – this would present you with a whole lot of new challenges. Please note that the main purpose of any Intranet is to make the life of the employees easy by providing them information and as a means to complete their actual job. So if an employee spends a lot of time searching for information on the intranet, he/she is wasting their time. For example, if it takes 10 mins to search for an information, and if there are 1000 users in the company, then the website would be hogging on 1000*10 mins = 10000 mins = 166.6 hours = 20.8 man hours per day is spent on searching for information on the intranet. which is approximately 416.6 man hours per month (a month with 20 working days). This would be a sheer waste of time for the employees and the company. So the intranet is to be very efficient. IF the time on the intranet can be reduced to 3 mins per user per day (from 10 mins per day), there would be a huge saving for the company.

The demographics does help and that should be the main tool for anyone who is designing any kind of a website should use. In case there are no demographics available, personas are the most crucial step and ensure that the new site that you would create (intranet or otherwise) has the required addins to track and provide user demographics.

Hope this helps. All the very best.

Tyrone Tellis

Media planner at Initiative Media

Hi Suhel,
First do a paradigm shift look at it from a user’s point of view. WIIFT?
What’s In It for Them? are you giving them what they want and how user friendly is the site in terms of navigation, look, feel, text style etc

Melinda Varley

Editor (acting) at utalkmarketing.com

Usability
Appearance
Convergence
Engagement

Alexandra West

3D Media Marketing and Online Lead Generation | Alex’s Blog

These are the things I see in the best Corp Websites:
1. Easy to Find the Info you are looking for
2. Easy to Connect (Live Chat, full-staffed 800#, etc…)
3. Easy to understand How to Do Business with the company
4. Social Interactivity (links to Forums/Facebook Groups/etc…)

Amit Mishra

Sr. Internet Marketing Professional

Dear Suhel,
It’s a valuable question you have put across. I agree that science of designing corporate website is completely a different approach. Corporate website must have following significance:
a) It should be a replica or more of that whatever it is in actually. Many corporates fail to deliver what they are when it comes to their web presence.
b) The design should entertain the user in its class.
c) Case Study, brouchers and white papers should be placed clear enough.
d) The graphics color option should match the corporate color family and must use variety of its shade.
e) Website should completely accessible to its user. So, many times website navigation path fails to take user to the goal point.
f) We must have web2.0 support to get user reviews and user generated content.
g) The design prospect will complete only if we have exact user profile in mind and then only we can use graphics, rich media and web 2.0 elements to entertain and engage the user. And I am sure that this enhanced combination can lead a visitor to be a prospect.
In last line I must summarize my statement that a Site which can entertain and engage the customer with it’s pleasing graphics, clear navigation, short goal paths and interactive instruction will be a real corporate website which will lead you towards online brand building or to say an “IDENTITY”.

Nerissa M

Brand Management professional


First you must determine the objective of the website. Is it to inform, strengthen the brand, generate sales, obtain investors, etc.
Second, based on the objective, determine the target audience(s). Then design the website that will engage the intended audience. For each web section, keep the intended target in mind and build the site so that it will be appealing and useful to the ultimate user.

Joseph Franklyn M

Owner, Corporate Performance Artists

Corporate sites exist to answer questions, so good navigation and highly efficient search are the most important aspects.

Brad T

Software Entrepreneur

Information quality.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Information_quality

From Wikipedia:
The generally accepted list of elements used in assessing subjective Information Quality are those put forth in Wang & Strong (1996).:
Intrinsic IQ: Accuracy, Objectivity, Believability, Reputation
Contextual IQ: Relevancy, Value-Added, Timeliness, Completeness, Amount of information
Representational IQ: Interpretability, Ease of understanding, Concise representation, Consistent representation
Accessibility IQ: Accessibility, Access security

Cecilia W

Owner, D’Alessio & Wacholder Soluciones Tecnológicas

I think it’s all been said, so you might start polling results ;o)
Anyway, my standards for corporate web design are:
-Ease of use
-Speed
-Easy maintenance and updating
-Clear content, clear access to content
-Unobtrusive design, thought for service rather than for show
-No intro, please

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3 comments on “What according to you is the most important aspects one should keep in mind while designing a corporate website?

  1. Alexandra West
    February 20, 2009

    Great compilation of insights and feedback, Suhel. Best of luck with your book!

  2. johnstevens
    June 22, 2009

    Very good comments, thanks men.

  3. Peter
    June 26, 2009

    I found Suhel Khan’s blog very informative. The article is professionally written and I feel like the author knows the subject very well. Hey buddy just keep it that way.

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