Whenever we think of the ideal corporate website design, the first thing that comes to our minds is a handful of sister sites, each intended to interface with a different segment of the public.
Corporations tend to have the the need, and the resources, to do all these facets correctly, which can lead to some truly gigantic projects.
Take IBM.com for example, which includes one sub-site that serves as a comprehensive resource on all things technology. We’re not savvy on the final bill, but we imagine that aspect of IBM’s corporate website design expenses cost them a cool million, easily – and that’s a site that sometimes exists for no other internal purpose than garnering good public opinion!
So, corporate website design it a lot more than a header-heavy, dapper-looking layout with an About page and a Mission Statement. Much, much more.
Below, we’ll talk about a few of the special styles of website design that go into a complete corporate site, and how to implement them correctly.
The Function-Driven Site
In corporate websites, there tends to be a definite need for a big, scalable knowledge base. Corporations thrive on communicating the most-modern answers to many thousands of questions, both internal and external. Everything from detailed articles on minute topics, to simple call scripts, must be categorized, easy to find, and secured properly so that only the right employees or members of the public can access them.
Today, corporate website design is almost synonymous with custom programming projects, and it’s here at the function-driven portion of the project where you see that most plainly.
The line between the public website and the corporate intranet is often only drawn in the code itself, meaning that anyone can login from any location and access in-office materials, or gain access to employee features dealing with any part of the site.
In short, if you’re going to bid for a corporate website design contract, you’d better have competent programmers on staff, or at least competing for space in your Rolodex.
The Action-Driven Site
We often refer to the sales portion of any website as the “action-driven” part of the site. This is where customers come to buy, or get after-the-sale support. It’s also where affiliates come to do business, and so forth. So, as with the “function-driven” portions described above, a corporate website’s action-oriented parts are going to require programming in most cases.
Not just programming, but top-notch, and highly-customized programming. Few corporate clients are going to have any interest in a so-called “ready to go” e-commerce solution.
This is the part of the project where business logic is king. The corporation’s business priorities are going to be found in every part of the design, the code, and the language.
Because of that, this is the part of your corporate website design projects that will require the most familiarity with modern, best practices. This is true both of the design and programming aspects of the project. The near-infinite number of mission-critical details, and ways those details must come into play during automated business actions, means that your development tools, practices, and processes must be ready for any kind of change, insertion, or re-thinking, at any stage.
Continue to part two, where we discuss the other sections of corporate web design, and talk about some specific issues relating to legal website design: Corporate and Legal Website Design.