Anatomy of a Brilliant Site

Written by Stefene Russell

I love Not only because it sells Bomex separatory funnels, mug warmers, and gallon drums of plastic ants; not only because they have a great mascot named Jarvis; and not only because their URL is a clever play on words ("sciplus," sounds like Bugs Bunny saying "surplus." Surplus is their specialty, with an emphasis on science. In this short little url, they get both aspects in there--and turn it into a punchline to boot). I just digrepparttar whole thing, all around. I visit them to see what nifty gadgets they're hawking this week, but their hilarious catalog descriptions keep me coming back just to readrepparttar 134758 content. "So," you may be asking, "who are these guys, anyway?"

Sciplus is actuallyrepparttar 134759 online incarnation of American Science and Surplus, which has been in existence (in some form orrepparttar 134760 other) for most ofrepparttar 134761 20th Century. In 1937, Mr. Al Leubbers was just hanging around Chicago, working for Western Electric. He happened to be an optics buff, so when he noticed thatrepparttar 134762 warehouse next door was tossing out large numbers of reject lenses (Ping! Wentrepparttar 134763 lightbulb over Al's head) he askedrepparttar 134764 company if he could buyrepparttar 134765 rejects. They told him he could have them if he'd please just *take* them away. Al and his wife Buddy spentrepparttar 134766 next several weeks polishing lenses atrepparttar 134767 kitchen table. They placed an ad in Popular Mechanics, and started unloading them at 10 for $1, and American Lens and Photo was born. The company expanded to embrace general surplus after World War II, and becamerepparttar 134768 American Science Center. They officially became American Science and Surplus inrepparttar 134769 early 90s, and have been online since '95. Though they're not a strictly e-business (they have real stores in Chicago, Geneva, and Milwaukee) I think anyone who's serious about having an online presence (especially if you're selling stuff) should take a look at what these cats are up to-because a business dedicated to "discovery and invention...[and] having fun alongrepparttar 134770 way," intuitively understands how to build an almost perfect site.

Want to know what their secret formula is? Well, part of it is an inborn, twisted sense of humor, but they're also clever businessmen. Launch your browser, pull uprepparttar 134771 site, and let's takerepparttar 134772 ten-cent educational tour...

1. Navigation: Their first brilliant move? They created a template page, so that all their pages would have a consistent look and feel. When you're cataloging as much information as sciplus, you need to have a template, not only for practicality's sake, but for navigation's sake. They don't make their users re- orient themselves every time they click to a new page. But that's not to say that static is always good. Hit "refresh." Notice anything? That's right. Their featured products rotated. When you first brought uprepparttar 134773 page, you may have seen goo-goo-googly plastic eyes, hex keys and assorted plastic drums. Now you're looking at dino stencils, glass bowls and coffee grinders. They've programmedrepparttar 134774 page to rotate up different!

They've also put their most important links atrepparttar 134775 top (ordering, sale items, what's new) and then listed everything else onrepparttar 134776 left-hand side ofrepparttar 134777 page. Also notice that these side links are broken down into categories:repparttar 134778 product listings are atrepparttar 134779 very top, and then broken off in a box, we getrepparttar 134780 fun (but less essential) stuff. We have "Help forrepparttar 134781 stymied surpie," "Who is Jarvis?" and "Items flying outrepparttar 134782 door." Below this are links for email updates and a check for users to be sure thatrepparttar 134783 site is secure.

But go back to those product listings. Click on "Containers." In orange, you'll see a complete listing of pages for every product that falls underrepparttar 134784 header of "containers." That way, a user can immediately jump torepparttar 134785 page they're looking for, but not get lost in infinite sub-pages, because that left-side nav bar is always there to help them get back out again. Sciplus has thousands of items, and this is an ingenious way to make their content "transparent" no matter where a user is onrepparttar 134786 site.

10 Concerns To Have Before Creating A Members Only Web Site!

Written by Larry Dotson

1. What will berepparttar title of your member's only web site and will it have a subtitle? Will you have a logo, slogan or graphics for your member's only site?

2. What type of content will you include in your member's only web site? ebooks, articles, software, interview transcripts, etc.

3. Will your member's only web site host a member community? message boards, chat rooms, online classes, online consulting, etc.

4. Will you berepparttar 134757 only content provider or will there be other providers? Will your ask other members to contribute related content to your member's site?

5. How will you allow people to navigate, find or search for information in your members only site? Links, search engine, index, table of contents, etc.

Cont'd on page 2 ==> © 2005
Terms of Use