Lloyd Robert Borrett


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Are we there yet?

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Omniton goes online 

Off and on over recent months, I have been building a web site for Tim Norton's technology business and strategy consulting company Omniton. Well last Monday the site went live at http://www.omniton.com.au

There are still a few things to be finished off, like client testimonials and better pictures of Tim, but on the whole the site is pretty complete. It will take some time for the site to be indexed by the major search engines, and the site search won't work properly until Google has done that, but that's just the way it is.

Site Implementation Description

The site uses very few graphic files, which makes it quick to load on low bandwidth connections. Cascading style sheet (CSS) sytles have ben used much more than on any site I'd built previously.

With the omniton site I have tried a new navigation design principle. Like many sites today I've used a menu tree at the top of the page which lets users navigate to almost every page on the site. And of course there is the plain HTML menu at the bottom of the page that can be used to navigate to the beginning of each main section of the site. Nothing new about that.

But I've also placed the context based navigation menus on the right hand side of the page instead of on the left as is commonly done today. The scroll bar is on the right, so that is where users typically have their mouse to move up and down a page. By putting key navigation options near there, it's easier and quicker to use them. The other benefit is that it moves the important content to the left side of the page. Thus when users print pages out, nothing is lost. I don't know about you, but I get so frustrated when I print out a page and I get the navigation details, but the content I want is cut off.

I understand the main reasons why most sites use the left column for navigation. But I figure if the page design is fairly clean, simple and uncluttered, users will still see the menus on the right clearly, and be able to use them more easily.

Well anyway, so far it seems to be working and feedback to date has been encouraging.

One thing I am considering implementing is a mail list system for the newsletter subscription and distribution. Right now it's a manual process for the admin team. Implementing something like Dada Mail, MailMan or such would make it a lot better. Plus having an automated subscription confirmation and unsubscribe process would make life easier for everyone. Any suggestions from those that have done this before would be most welcome.


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