Website Design Guideline #2: Webifying Content to Maintain Interest

Content Webification is Determined by a Website’s Functionality in Two Areas: Promotion: How Easy is it to Find the Material? Implementation: How Easy is it to Use the Material?

Content Webification

Publishing on the Internet is different from publishing a book, magazine or newspaper. And it’s different from presenting content/products on TV, at a live event or in a brick-and-mortar store. The Web is a unique medium that, unlike a printed page, TV show or live situation, puts no constraint on content length in order to be cost-effective. Rather, websites have infinite space available for the user to access additional information or to drill down to increasingly more detailed information.

Content webification is determined by a website’s functionality in two areas:

  • Promotion: How easy is it to find the material?
  • Implementation: How easy is it to use the material?

Excellent promotion occurs when information can be discovered and accessed easily through links on the navigation bar, when the material is well publicized on the site and when the presentation on the page is clear and appealing. Excellent implementation occurs when site material is well organized and tools are intuitive and purposeful.

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Content posted online should be organized for the Web—or “webified.” The text should be tightly edited and executed in short blocks of type—perhaps with bulletin lists or other graphic elements to break up the blocks—and include links to related pages or sites and the ability to email, print or save certain material. Whenever possible, avoid the need to scroll down to read the entire page—or at least the most important information on the page. Certainly, too, content should be search-engine optimized, with selected keywords placed appropriately in the text to support online searches and encourage “hits.”

Fully webified content is interactive and takes advantage of multimedia technology. Hyperlinked static pages and the ability to download Adobe Acrobat files are not enough to portray the company as being particularly Web-savvy. Add interactive calculators, checklists and search tools, for example, plus interactive features such as surveys, calls-to-action, forums with editors and experts, discussion groups and other feedback opportunities. To grab user attention—and to reinforce confidence in the company’s competitive position—offer innovative audio and video presentations such as product demonstrations, customer or client testimonials, audio or video previews, excerpts from live presentations and teleconference material.

When forms are posted online, offer the option of securely storing the user’s information. Repeat visitors will appreciate the time saved by not having to fill in the same data on subsequent occasions, while the site owner will enrich its database and promote customer loyalty.

Users love innovative, interactive, webified websites. They dislike old media simply pasted into static HTML pages. And they hate difficult, confusing navigation!

Website Examples

Best Practice Website

WebMD.com Website Design Review


WebMD is webified and fun. Innovative interactive features were present, promoted, and for the most part, well executed.

Not-So-Good Example

CareerCoach.com Website Design Review


With the exception of the changing visuals and the gray fade-out transitions that accompany each click of a navigation link, there is no use of audio or video on the site.

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