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Adventures in web design, corporate edition

October 15, 2007, 10:42 am

I’ve carped long enough on Angel‘s sorry excuse for web functionality, so let’s talk about web sites for companies. I’m looking for a good differential equations book for next semester and was recommended to Arnold Publications, a UK-based textbook publishing house, by a colleague who loves their statistics book. So I sauntered on over to arnoldpublications.com, as listed on the back of that stats book. Here’s what I got in my browser:

arnold.jpg

That’s it… just a big silhouette of some guy named Arnold looking bravely into, I guess, the sky or the future or something. This is with my browser at full size. Is this a joke site? Or a T-shirt? Or what?

Then finally I noticed the scroll bar on the side, telling me there’s more stuff below the fold — you know, where my browser doesn’t display when I first access the site. Rule for web design, and selling stuff in general: If you want to sell stuff, put your stuff where it can be seen — no, put it where it is impossible not to be seen. Here’s what’s below the fold:

arnold-2.jpg

OK, here’s where the links to their products should be and their online store. Right? Well, not so much. Here’s the entire text on the web site. Check out the last paragraph.
arnold-3.png

Wha?

Sure enough, clicking on the link (“hotel reservation”) takes you to an Expedia.com-type site where you can get hotel reservations. What this has to do with being in the textbook publishing business is anybody’s guess. And the first person to locate the links to their textbook descriptions wins a prize.

I guess they do business, and web design, a little differently across the pond than we do here.

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