IBN: Defining Excellence in Electronic Recruiting

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Characteristics of A Great Website

8.6 Net Awareness

Net awareness is a major component of good Website design. Websites are generally not isolated representations for small companies standing alone in a marketplace. They are more like nodes in a network of Websites with similar or related content. One way to think of such a network is to consider the advent of the component stereo sound system.

In the 1960s, following the development of stereophonic record albums, the consumer electronics industry experienced a major Renaissance. Until that point, high-fidelity sound systems were all integrated into a single unit that generally included a record changer, speakers, an amplifier, a radio receiver and perhaps even a reel-to-reel tape player.

Initially, there was market resistance to the idea of mix-and-match components for stereo systems. Although the consumer could, with the assistance of the salesperson, design an optimal sound system, the additional technical knowledge that this was perceived as requiring was seen as a market barrier. Ultimately, the decentralization of stereo-equipment development created a massive surge in the global consumer electronics industry.

The Web has similarities to a component sound system. To create an effective Website, its designer selects a combination of the desired components, directly mixing elements of the Website with links and pointers to portions of other Websites.

While this idea goes against the grain of traditional corporate strategy, the mix of components indicates that the Website is part of a larger picture and that its designer (or the firm providing the Website) has a sense of how the Net is structured. or Net awareness. Good Net awareness shows, and it lends a special cachet to a Website.

In the end, whether for a user of a Website or a stereo system, it's all in the mix.

This is an excerpt from the 1997 Electronic Recruiting Index.
It appears in Chapter 8 of the book.
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