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Hall Of Fame8 Corners of ECommerce
industry is on
the verge of
into a thousand
fragments due to
the knowledge explosion
and the proliferation
of new technologies.
There are no
more grand theories
that hold sway
over the entire
It's better to
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Too Good to be True?
The eMail certainly raised a laugh in the office.
SureSite, based in Columbus OH, assured us that "The Instant Web Publisher...enables anyone with a web browser to create a professional looking business web site in less than 10 minutes..."
Yikes! If only we'd known! We could have avoided floors covered with index cards...spouses and children begging for attention while we tried just one more time to "fix that table"...
The mail got better:
"The Instant Web Publisher requires no knowledge of HTML programming [sic] or graphic design. The Instant Web Publisher features thousands of combinations of graphics and layouts to make everyone's web site unique and professional looking..."
Our resident graphic designer rued his years at college and his apprenticeship in the Academy of Hard Knocks.
Seriously, however, the pitch was a blatant come-on for an ISP. A visit to the site bore the thumbprint of HomeSite 2.5. The "professsional looking" site is simply selected from a number of templates and adds in some mix'n'match graphics.
But it begs the question as to how far the level of professionalism one brings to one's site is degraded by pitches such as this.
Design - and in particular graphic design - is the art of presenting information to the best possible advantage. It must simultaneously engage, stimulate and inform. It requires a rapport between professional and client.
And, in the case of the Web, a thorough understanding of the limitations of the medium.
Those of us who are concerned to maintain high standards of Web design must be angered and disturbed by claims such as these. --John Blower
Who's Pushing Whom?
According to a recent bulletin from Hurwitz Group, "...most Internet users do not need push technology...".
The bulletin makes the point that only a small proportion of people stand to benefit from "pushed", time-critical information, whilst email and phone will prove adequate for the majority of workers.
We find ourselves in agreement with Hurwitz.
After all, do you want to be interrupted every few moments by a fragment of information on a topic in which you were interested a few months or weeks ago?
We may even get to the point of being somewhat aggravated by both the message and the messenger.
While "push" has been hailed as the ultimate web application (for the next month or so...), we wonder whether a lot of the hype is generated by those who appear to benefit. In the short term.
Let's face it, only a minority of people - and a very small minority at that - have jobs or occupations which are totally dependent upon the prompt delivery of time-sensitive material.
In fact, as Hurwitz points out, "push technology will be most useful for delivering, upgrading and managing software within organizations at a lower cost."
Look before you leap before jumping on this particular bandwagon. --John Blower
"According to a Recent Poll...
"...many sites rely more on Search Engines than ads."
Presumably to generate traffic.
A company based in Chicago, NetGambit, apparently surveyed a "cross section of about [sic] 1500 site owners" for a survey.
The study, by all accounts, demonstrated that "...more than 70% of the participants said they generate at least 20% of their traffic from search-engine listings, with the balance coming from advertising and other forms of promotions, repeat visitors and other sources."
This seemed pretty self-evident. Still, we duly visited the NetGambit site to garner some information on the survey. Like how were the lucky 1500 selected, and what methodology was employed.
Nary a word about the survey did we find.
What we did find, however, was a large pointer to PositionAgent. PositionAgent is a search engine ranking and monitoring service, developed by...NetGambit
It's a pretty nifty service. Feed in your URL and a few keywords, and within seconds, your ranking in the major search engines is displayed graphically.
You can try for free, but you need a subscription to use the service regularly. The site is, incidentally, packed with tips on how to improve your rankings in the search engines, so it's worth checking out.
However, we have to question the validity of such an obviously self-serving "poll" in the absence of data to support the apparent finding.
We're open to clarification on this point. --John Blower
No, we're not talking about those acrimonious conferences that Judge Ito, Marcia Clark and Johnnie Cochran engaged in during the OJ trial.
Rather we're referring to those bands of color that adorn the left-hand sides of (far too many) pages these days.
We wonder who invented them...
By far the most ubiquitous is the yellow sidebar favored by c|net. It seems to crop up everywhere, from Macmillan Publishing to well - you know who...
There's nothing inherently wrong with them, of course.
But let's take a quick look at how they are used, and to what purpose.
In these cases navigation and content are divorced from the bar, and architecture and functionality aren't really affected.
As a stylistic and design device, the sidebar has a lot going for it. But only if it is supported by a firm architectural foundation.
In other news, it's always gratifying to see our advice heeded. A site we mentioned last week, Wordswork, appears to have undergone a make-over. Ticker tape and annoying rotating icons have disappeared.
And there's a sidebar... --John Blower
Take a look at the Archives. We've indexed all the past issues with topic pointers.
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