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Chapter 1. Customer-Centered Web Design > Company-Centered Design

Company-Centered Design

A style that used to be quite popular among Fortune 500 companies is what we call company-centered design. Here the needs and interests of the company dominate the structure and content of the Web site. The fatal flaw is that what companies think should be on a Web site is not necessarily what customers need or want. You have probably seen Web sites that are organized by internal corporate structure, with sparse information about the products and services they offer. These kinds of sites are derisively termed brochureware. They contain little useful information and completely ignore the unique capabilities of the Web as a medium. Brochureware sites are acceptable only if they are a short-term first step toward more sophisticated and more useful sites.

Another example of company-centered design is the use of jargon known only to those in the business. One of our friends recently wanted to buy a digital camera. As an amateur, he wanted a camera that was easy to use, one that would help him take clear pictures. But instead, most of the sites bombarded him with terms like CCDs, FireWire, PC card slots, and uncompressed TIFF mode. The fact that he didn't know what these terms meant embarrassed him. He was put off and confused. The companies had made the wrong assumption about their customers' knowledge. None of them answered the simple question of which camera was best for amateurs. This is an example of why company-centered design is almost always a bad style.

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