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Have You Looked at Your Web Site Lately?

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Have you visited your own Web site lately? Have you tried to
navigate around it?

If you’re like many of us, you probably haven’t.
After the initial excitement of developing your homepage and adding
some stuff to your site, you probably just continued to add and add
and add. I know we did.

Last week I attended a meeting at Ingram in Nashville. It was a
focus group meeting of users of their iPage Web site.(The iPage site helps publishers track their sales through
Ingram, among other things. More on this later in the article.)The group I participated in consisted of publishers and
representatives of the publishing industry. Ingram had previously
had focus groups with librarians and booksellers. It was during this
meeting that I began to better focus on what we hope to achieve at
the PMA homepage and finally how to go about doing it.

I discovered that the redesign and reconfiguration of the PMA
site was not going to be as simple and as rapid as we had previously
thought. That was a bit disappointing. However the uplifting part of
this rethinking was the development of a better way to go about
redesigning the architecture of our site. We had already figured out
the four primary users of the site and had developed a road map of
the areas that were “most important,””important,””least important,” and of “no
importance” to them (in our opinion). This, at least, began to
give us a basic idea of how to make areas more easily accessible to
the primary users.

After this meeting, however, I rethought the process. While we
may have made some good decisions, it’s still important to
allow the users of the site to have input on areas they use the
most, sometimes use, seldom use, or never use. So beginning here,
may I ask you to tell us the areas you visit on our Web site “most often,””occasionally,””seldom,” and/or “never.” This will allow us to
structure the right architecture to make your usage of the site
easier. Look at the areas listed below, and please rank them based
on your usage of our site. E-mail (pmaonline@aol.com) or fax
(310/374-3342) your responses back to us at PMA.

The site areas are: the Member Roster, Newsletter, Marketing
Programs, Catalogs, Surveys, and the Resource Directory. If you want
to note something else, please write “Other” and explain
your answer.

We are going to be adding advertising very shortly to our site so
that you will be able to have a one-stop shopping area for vendors
within the publishing community. We hope you will find this helpful
as well.

Now, the big question. What else that is currently not on our
site would be extremely helpful to you as a publisher? Please
briefly send this information to the above addresses and we will
consider it in our restructuring of the site.

What we all agreed to at the Ingram meeting was that quick
downloads are a must; graphics must download easily or not be used.
The file folder approach ala many sites (see Amazon.com) is
preferred; a menu on the left-hand side with buttons leading you
into a deeper, more defined structure is also most requested.

For all publishers who currently utilize the iPage Web
site (and for those who have not yet begun using it), there will be
some new announcements regarding this program at this year’s
Publishing University. In previewing part of it, I found the program
to be extremely exciting. You will now be able to track by
geographic area and by type (bookstores, specialty, etc.) how and
where your books are selling on a weekly and monthly basis, as well
as being able to check the stock on hand at each individual
warehouse. Their Web site department is also wishing to get front
covers of all books carried by Ingram onto this site. They want the
cover to be e-mailed to them as a TIFF file. You should send this
TIFF as an attachment to: christopher.birdsong@ingrambooks.com. They
are also interested in receiving TIFFs of your Table of Contents, so
send that as well.

I came back from the Ingram meeting charged with energy on the
redesign of our site and also with a better long-term picture of
when we could expect the changes to begin. A complete restructure
would not be as rapid as we anticipated, but when it is finished, we
hope it will be useful to all the users of our site. Perhaps
this might help you sit down and look at your own site with new
eyes—those of your users!

 

 

This article is from thePMA Newsletterfor April, 2000, and is reprinted with permission of Publishers Marketing Association.

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