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Ideal model of a site of the design organisation in the Internet
Unfortunately, for the majority of heads of the companies, creation of corporate representations in the environment the Internet is simply fashionable tendency. It is no wonder that corporate sites frequently are very seldom updated. It is obvious that it is time to companies to change the relation to the Internet cut-away.

By the way, in a world rating of the best commercial sites the domestic companies tail after the list. Experts of two European agencies – Bowen Craggs and H&H Webranking agree in opinion that the majority of the Russian firms needs not to finish at all, and completely to update the Internet pages. Perhaps, it is a quite good occasion to recollect laws of the organisation of effective virtual office.

Let's consider legislators of an Internet fashion.

Recently experts of European agency Bowen Craggs during research of sites of 60 large world companies have published a corresponding rating, in which sites of the largest Russian corporations – “Gazprom” and “Surgutneftegaz” have appeared on last places. And best of the Russian sites – the oil company “Lukoil” – it has appeared only on 52nd place from 60. Experts have noticed that web resources of the given companies differ old-fashioned design, neglect to consumers and competitors of vacancies.

And who is considered the favourite on whom to equal? The most effective corporate site recognises an Internet resource of German corporation Siemens. The second place is given site Shell (Great Britain) and the third – BP (Great Britain). Other corporate sites “legislators of an Internet fashion” which have entered into first ten best: IBM (USA), General Electric (USA), Nokia (Finland).

Naturally, Russians not unique whom have criticised. To sites of the companies from Saudi Arabia (www.stc.com.sa, www.alrahjibank.com.sa, www.sabic.com.sa) are made very beautifully, but, as a matter of fact, they empty, mark advisers. Japanese have reproached with clumsy design and muffled presentation of a brand. For example, it is difficult to read the main page of a site of telecommunication corporation NTT (47 place) because of a flesh-roller and a chaotic mash of text and graphic elements. And on the site of company Honda which have occupied 42 place, too large pictures complicate perception of useful references.

It is interesting that the Russian experts in marketing do not agree with a low estimation of domestic corporate web resources. About modest design an explanation idle time – first, the design is a matter of taste. And, secondly, all Russian companies work in regions where speed of connection with the Internet very low, therefore on sites heavy multimedia forms like flesh-animation are not used, differently such site simply will not open. And vacancies on a site do not place, probably because wishing to work in big russian corporations and so more than vacancies, it is good still if on a site there are staff department phones.

Let's consider the reasons of a low estimation of the Russian Internet representations.

The Russian web resources in the West do not favour for following reasons.
First, they are not user-friendly enough. In other words, unreasoned navigation on a site which should be more logical.
Secondly, the quantity and quality of the information leave much to be desired for investors.
Thirdly, uselessness of the contact data.
Fourthly, section “often asked questions” (FAQ – Frequently Asked Question) does not operate.

That the corporate site of the company became not simply a signboard, it is necessary to solve some problems.

To learn visitors “in the person” counters which will show statistics of attendance of web page, and also a geographical arrangement of readers, their search inquiries and so on will help. By means of this data you can study in details an audience of your resource that will allow to guess with accuracy wishes “yours” the client. After all all to what we aspire – to become it necessary. He will find out the important information in us for itself(himself) or will make the order. The second plus which gives constant tracing of characteristics of readers of a site that this tactics helps to estimate efficiency of various courses on attraction of clients. Without marketing not to manage, after all you should think out constantly something new to keep people. It is necessary to notice that the counter can be invisible not to break the accepted design of a site.

To fans to communicate it is possible to offer chat in a forum. On an Internet resource it is possible to place and the management blogs, which hosting is free. It is good to provide still a heading “ask a question to the expert”. Certainly, among visitors of a site it is a lot of also your potential employees – high quality experts. If to give the chance to competitors to fill the resume directly on a site, valuable shots will find you! Naturally, the site support service should work and day and night. After all visitors come on web page at any time.

Besides employees, the site will find to you clients. Really, sometimes the corporate site is created only for the purpose of search of new clients. However that at inquiry yours the reference to your resource took the top positions in search system, it is necessary for you to advertise the resource also on other sites, forums, catalogues etc. For example, through the conclusion of partner programs on an exchange of references between different sites.

Such form of co-operation as an exchange of news is effective also. Thanks to RSS-channels subscribers and numerous mass-media instantly receive news and can broadcast them on the sites in a mode of real time.

Important condition “appeal” pages – convenient navigation on a site. The user should find quickly that is necessary for it. In the menu there should not be more than 12-15 directions. Then will choose necessary easily and on a site nobody will lose the way.

Try to think over as much as possible also all sections of a page. The known rule of three clicks says: the site structure should provide to users transition from the main page to the necessary information for three clique on the reference. The most popular ways on site simplification – to establish return buttons on the main page, to create a sitemap with all sections or “to hang up” a search window on main or on each page. Give the chance to users to adjust a kind a site “under itself” altering the menu.

Dream up about design. Why, for example, in registration not to use drawings of children of employees? However ornaments should be moderately as the site is corporate. Pay attention to convenience of reading of the information. Do not forget about unity of style.

Let's consider criteria of a choice of an information portal and a corporate site.

Under the scheme of representation of the information, its volume and a category of solved problems it is possible to allocate following types of web resources:
- Internet representations of owners of business (trade and the services not always connected directly with the Internet):
     – the site-cut-away – contains the most general data about the owner of a site (the organisation or the individual businessman). An activity kind, history, the price-list, the contact data, requisites, the journey scheme. Experts place the resume. That is the detailed card.
     – a representation site – so sometimes name a site-cut-away with the expanded functionality: the detailed description of services, a portfolio, responses, the feedback form etc.
     – the corporate site – contains the full information on the company-owner, services/productions, events in a company life. Differs from a site-cut-away and a representation site completeness of the presented information, frequently contains various functional tools for work with a content (search and filters, calendars of events, photo galleries, corporate blogs, forums). Can be integrated with internal information systems of the company-owner (CIS, CRM, accounting systems). Can contain the closed sections for those or other groups of users – employees, dealers, counterparts and so forth
     – production catalogue – is present at the catalogue the detailed description of the goods/services, certificates, the technical and consumer data, responses of experts etc. On such sites the information on the goods/services which cannot be placed in the price-list takes places.
     – Internet shop – a web site with production catalogue with which help the client can order the goods necessary to it. Various systems of calculations are used: from transfer of the goods by a cash on delivery or automatic transfer of the account by fax before calculations by means of plastic cards.
     – a promo-site – the site about the concrete trade mark or a product, on such sites takes places the exhaustive information on a brand, various advertising actions (competitions, quizes, games, etc.).
     – a site-quest – the Internet resource on which competition on solving of sequence of the interconnected logic riddles is organised.
- Information resources:
     – a thematic site – a web site giving the exhaustive information on any theme.
     – the thematic portal is very big web resource which gives the exhaustive information on certain subjects. Portals are similar to thematic sites, but in addition contain a handshaking with users and allow users to communicate within the limits of a portal (forums, chats) is an environment of existence of the user.
- Web service – usually solves a concrete user problem directly connected with a network the Internet:
     – search services
     – post service.
     – web forums.
     – blogging service.
     – a photohosting
     – video storage
     – a bulletin board.
     – the catalogue of sites

Within the limits of given article we will mean under corporate a site the following (not the structural description of sections of a site, and functional further follows. That is under “section” we understand not the individual reference (the button) to the certain information, and the semantic continuum which registration on each site can be absolutely different and represent a variety of design decisions):
- Presence on a site of semantic section “about the company” where it is is short given the information of a following order – firm history, its basic mission, spheres of interests, work strategy in the market (relations with clients, competitors, suppliers), etc.
- Rather detailed description of production.
- A price sheet.
- Ways of communication.
- Probably: section of news, forms for it-lajn of the order, registration, a forum, references.

That is the general philosophy of a resource is under construction on accurate and a complete description of activity of the individual company. The basic difference of an information portal from this sort of resource, in our opinion, consists in essentially other focus of representation of the information. First of all the information portal contains the description of PROBLEM. The information portal is the resource giving to visitors the exhaustive information on the chosen problem (being in a close connection with a firm field of activity). The information portal should contain following semantic sections:
- The detailed description of the basic problems connected with activity of firm. For example, if the company is engaged in performance of design works within the limits of projects “turnkey” in the given section the information contains about: designing history, technical characteristics of objects projected by the company, the detailed description of all existing variants of the documentation, application sphere, algorithms of a choice, criteria of estimations, etc.
- A forum where interested users can share experiences, ask each other questions.
- Ways of communication with experts with whom it is possible to discuss specific technical problems.
- The comparative description of production (technical characteristics, criteria of a choice for the decision of a specific target, the price) on categories, the majority of firms Spb/Rossii/blizhnego – the far abroad.
- Forms for it-lajn/off-lajn ' communications with firms/orders ' production.
- A forum for discussion of work of firms, qualities of production, conformity to the prices, rendered services, other information.
- References to thematic sites, sites of the companies.
- The form for registration of consumers.
- The form for registration of manufacturers/suppliers where the following information will be presented: changes in macroenvironment (the legislation, etc.), a microhabitat, etc.

In brief having designated the basic concepts, we will pass to a question on a choice of this or that resource. We consider that in a situation when networks are not present a qualitative information portal about your field of activity (that now there is all less often), for maintenance of steady competitive advantage it is necessary to be guided by creation of a high-grade information portal. The only thing about what it is necessary to warn – it is not necessary to do it half. If you make the decision on creation of an information portal, do not try to combine it with functions of a corporate site at all.

The information portal is created for two target groups – firms of manufacturers and suppliers, and for their clients. We will consider possible pluses and minuses for each group separately.

Let's consider consequences for the organisations performing design works, and suppliers:
- The uniform information network that does business by more transparent is created. The organisations performing design works, have an opportunity to observe and analyze actions of obvious and indirect competitors, to find potential partners and customers, to use a uniform database of the design organisations and clients. All it should impulse development of all area, and, hence, increase profit. Also the similar resource structures available information environment in the given field of activity that will positively affect in the course of acceptance of strategic decisions.
- Possibility to supervise an input and an exit of the organisations performing design works, on the market.
- Possibility on the basis of the given resource of creation of association.
- Increase in probability of creation and maintenance of partner relations with customers, interaction improvement.
- Use of the uniform catalogue of production will allow to do conclusions about those reasons or other changes in demand/offer.

- Decrease in expenses for training and adaptation of new designers.
- Decrease in expenses for the decision of typical technical problems of clients.
- Decrease in expenses on Internet advertising of a corporate site of the design organisation.
- Revealings of the organisations performing design works which conduct dishonest competitive struggle.
- Improvement of quality of performance of design works as a result of a competition.
- A platform for creation of elements of a brand.

The corporate site, unlike an information portal has generally intrafirm character. I use fashionable now the term which has come to us from psychology, a corporate site “introverted” while an information portal – “extroverted”.

The information portal will involve visitors as will give the chance to them not how many and not only simply to order production, but, as does its attractive, to receive a lot of necessary and the helpful information.

However, creation of such portal demands very serious investments – creation of the site (to think over structure, a content, design, etc.), allocation of the big disk space for the maintenance of a database of the companies, site maintenance – constant updating of the information, tracing of questions and forums, carrying out of various analyses of the data, etc. Therefore, probably, creation of a such resource it is necessary to charge to a command of the experts including experts in marketing and technical experts not one, and several firms (most likely indirect competitors or participants of one distributive channel). Further, when the portal will be created, to invite to take part in work and other firms. By the way, the firms which have refused cooperation most likely represent or poor-quality production, or use dishonest methods of competitive struggle that, in case of their consent, is inevitable “has emerged on a surface”.

But what to do, if in sphere where you work a similar resource it is already created? Probably two ways. The first, as a matter of fact repeating everything that has been described above, it if in the course of the analysis of an existing information portal you have found out that it is made poor and does not carry out the functions – you had a potential possibility to correct a situation. We do not advise you it to miss. The second if the resource is made qualitatively and carries out “the duties assigned to it” – as soon as possible to join it.

As to a corporate site in itself – it is certainly necessary to do it. And the reference to it should be placed on an information portal. An essence that the information portal and a corporate site should supplement each other. If the orientation of an information portal outside (communications with clients, suppliers, direct and indirect competitors, intermediaries, etc.), a corporate site to a greater extent directed inside the company and serves more internal communication function. As a matter of fact, very much not many will really interest stories and philosophy of your firm. But here is how familiarising of the employees, one of mechanisms of creation of the rallied collective of adherents – a qualitative corporate site can strongly help with it.

So, summing up this short review, we can tell that an information portal and a corporate site – the different parties of one medal which are carrying out multidirectional communicative functions.

Let's consider tendencies and forecasts.

Above we have described ideal models of a corporate site and an information portal. Now we will try to show, how these models are transformed in the conditions of the Russian validity. We will result concrete examples of Internet representations of the Russian and western firms, we will try to compare their substantial party and the form of granting of the information, and also we will allocate components, characteristic for this or that model of an ideal Internet resource.

For consideration we have chosen three sites, concerning sphere of performance of design works. Before the beginning of our analysis, it would be desirable to underline that all below-mentioned is especially personal opinion of the author. Any criticism does not concern activity of the companies which Internet representations we will consider. This or that kind of representation got out the concrete company for maintenance of the needs on advancement of the goods and services. We carry out the analysis proceeding from comparison of a concrete Internet resource with ideal model of a corporate site or an information portal.

As the above described ideal models of a corporate site and an information portal are the certain abstraction, the generalised description received as a result of the analysis of concrete Internet representations in basic western of the companies the purpose of the below-mentioned analysis is demonstration of how the given ideal models are transformed in the conditions of the Russian validity.

We will begin with site consideration “The portal of schemes and drawings”. Proceeding from the name it is clear that the given site – the demand for the information portal devoted to problems of performance of the design documentation. A site basis is the subject authority offered visitors where it is possible to familiarise with offers of the concrete companies. Possibilities to spend it-lajn are not present comparison. The only thing that it is possible to make – to open the information on production of the companies in several windows. But also then – the high-grade information for comparison of offers is not present. In our opinion, the basic helpful information which can be received, it is the list of the companies, trading themes or other goods, some representation about specificity of activity of the company, approximate representation about its assortment. The information on production of the presented companies is not standardised – most likely it is that information which the companies send on a portal. How much we could understand (proceeding from the analysis of the information present on a site and conversations with representatives of the companies the information about which is on a site), owners of a portal do not trace an urgency of the information on the companies, that is at change of assortment or other information at the concrete company presented on a site, representatives of the company should contact ranking officers of a portal and make changes. Without estimating, this approach is correct or not, we will tell only that in our opinion, owners of a portal should be interested in that on their site the actual information on the companies has been presented only, otherwise we consider that the rating of the given portal will fall. Leaving aside, say, that, proceeding from our experience a little, for the Russian information portals the similar approach in general is characteristic – the impression is made that owners of portals argue as follows: This business of the companies placing the information on our portal that the information on them was actual. We give them a place (and it is frequently free) for placing of the information on the company and should not be engaged in tracing of its urgency. Probably, similar approach is justified by something – really, the companies are interested in that the information on them, accessible to users of a network, was actual and reflected last changes in its activity and assortment. But the given approach is ideal system of mutual relations to which it is necessary to aspire. For the information portal which basis of activity is attraction of the greatest possible quantity of interested visitors, tracing of an urgency of the given information should be, in our opinion, a priority.

Further. On “The portal of schemes and drawings” following sections are presented: a banner exchange network, library, thematic bulletin boards, contacts, portal news, the review of the press and branch news. On last section it would be desirable to stop especially. In our opinion, the publication of the freshest of news of branch in which the portal works – pledge of prosperity of a portal (it besides concerns a question on an urgency of the given information).

We will not analyze further a substantial part of a site, otherwise we would be compelled to analyze the information, with reference to concrete branch. Same does not enter into problems of our article. We will tell only that the presented information in sections which we have not analysed here, in our opinion, corresponds to needs of visitors of a portal.

Let's formulate the basic conclusions:
- The given portal does not give possibility for high-grade comparison of the goods of various suppliers.
- The presented information has incomplete, fragmentary character. It is often irrelevant.
Accordingly, most likely, as it seems to us, the majority of visitors will often not come back to the given site – possibility of a high-grade choice of production is not present, it is possible to look only coordinates of firm and then already to contact it, the fresh information is not present – special necessity often to visit a resource is not present.

At once we will make a reservation. We have estimated the given resource from the point of view of its conformity of ideal model of the information portal directed on consumers of production. If, for example, founders of the given resource placed emphasis on advancement of a network of banner exchange then to estimate the given resource follows by criterion of its efficiency to the set parametre. But then it is created for the firms working in sphere of work with schemes and drawings, instead of on their clients. And what for the emphasis on the subject authority – not clearly is placed. That is, estimating a portal, it is necessary to consider its target audience still. If it is end users of production then the given resource, in our opinion, is an example not till the end of the thought over portal. If for the companies-manufacturers then accents are incorrectly placed. If, as it occurs in Russia practically always, the site is initially focused on both these groups then the form of representation and the information maintenance should be qualitative others. It is necessary, that using a resource (be it the representative of the design organisation or the final customer – the factory manager), could identify without effort, what information is intended it. We consider that the given resource under the form of representation of the information is a little chaotic, not to mention the maintenance.

But once again we will underline that it is possible to give a definitive estimation only in that case when conformity of a resource to that appointment which was put in it by founders will be clear. Probably, given portal completely corresponds to the purposes put before it.

Now we will give an example successful, in our opinion, an information portal. The given resource also concerns designing area – “Union of the Russian Designers”. It is a news portal. It is impossible to tell that he answers all parametres of a high-grade information portal. But its purpose – maintenance of users of a portal with the fresh and high-grade information of concrete branch. One of the basic pluses of the given resource – accurately outlined target audience (it not customers, and freelancers and the companies performing design works and other companies-suppliers, connected with the given branch, for example, the same subcontractors of building materials). The information presented on a site, gathers from many sources, is constantly updated. There is a possibility of company registration and reception of additional services by them.

Now we will address to an official web-site of the company “Челябэнергопроект” which performs design works. For needs of our analysis we will designate the following the sections presented on a site. At the moment of a writing of article it: the full information on the company (“Today” “The management” “Partners and customers”), company strategy, the competence and services, the helpful information (“Articles” “Photo gallery”), the contact information, company and branch news. Apparently, on a site are presented as sections, characteristic for a classical corporate site (the information on the company, the competence and services), and for an information portal (branch news, the general information on designing). That is the given resource cannot be carried neither to ideal model of a corporate site, nor to an information portal.

We consider that a similar resource – not an individual example. The similar situation is characteristic not only for Russia. It is a transitive variant from a corporate site to an information portal. But here it is necessary to rebuke the following. Saying to that the similar form of the organisation the representation Internet is transitive from a corporate site to an information portal, we at all do not mean that firm “Челябэнергопроект” will gradually change the resource, and it will look or as a corporate site, or as an information portal. Speaking about a transitive variant, we mean the following: at the given stage of development the Internet of technologies not only in Russia, but also all over the world, the general tendency to globalisation which is better is appreciable and has the more potential in conditions the Internet – technologies, will gradually lead to occurrence of high-grade information portals. For the given moment as it seems to us, in sphere of Internet representations the following will be characteristic. Leaders of the market will be focused on creation of powerful corporate sites with elements of information portals. To such giants as Microsoft or Intel is not present special need to be engaged in advancement of production through information portals. The information portal – at present is some kind of the tool for averages and small firms to conduct high-grade competitive struggle against leaders of the markets, to advance the in search systems. For this reason we wish to underline that if averages and small firms will duplicate to the friend at the friend the information for the purpose of fast creation of an information portal they will not achieve the big success. On the other hand, we are convinced that originally, with development in Russia information portals with possibility it-lajn of comparison and the choice of production most convenient and useful to given user (not important physical person or corporation), most of all in “to war” for the consumer averages and small firms will participate. The large companies will especially not feel at the beginning pressure from information portals. Only about time current, when averages and small firms “will understand among themselves” and, probably, will unite the efforts then leaders of the market can face real threat from outside information portals. As a matter of fact, the information portal is a territory of joint activity small and moderate-sized firms against leaders of roars. But this theme is beyond our article.

Thus, at present developments of Internet technologies in Russia, we consider that recognised leaders of the market will be and should be guided by creation and maintenance of a powerful corporate site where elements of an information portal will be used.

Thus, if to consider existing western tendencies in development of Internet technologies, it is possible to say that in the future information resources of the Internet will be focused exclusively on ideal information portals where all will be collected best of corporate sites existing today and information portals of today.

Essence of the given forecast in the following. If at present the leaders of the market having powerful corporate sites can compete to success with information portals (on today's information portals though there are goods as leaders of the market, and averages and small firms, nevertheless, in our opinion, the information portal of today is frequently focused on “averages” on the importance of the company). For them it some kind of possibility to conduct competitive struggle against leaders-singles.

As to corporate sites at present almost all of them are focused on clients of the companies. In our opinion, eventually this situation will change. To involve and keep the client, it will be necessary for company to give to it not only the information on the company which is frequently uninteresting for the client, and to give it minimum of news of the market, other services which are a prerogative of an information portal.

In our opinion, classical corporate sites will lose eventually popularity in process of growth of information portals as the last will give all information necessary for the user, and visiting of one information portal will correspond on utility degree to the laborious and tiresome analysis of tens corporate sites. Necessity to visit them accordingly will disappear. As the given tendency will gain in strength, corporate portals, in our opinion, will be reoriented on internal needs of firm.

The similar situation in the future as it seems to us, can lead to competition occurrence between information portals in one branch. The competition will go on completeness and timeliness of the information on concrete branch, degree of friendliness of the interface, quantity and quality of the given user of additional services, quantities of parametres on which users I can compare their interesting goods etc.

It will result, in our opinion, in occurrence of specialisation in information portals in concrete branch: news, systems of comparison of the goods, the portals focused on consultations on technical questions etc. Specialization in portals will be more and more narrow. Users will be compelled to visit some specialised portals on one branch that will be not especially convenient. Occurrence of the metaportals (megaportals) uniting in resources of specialised information portals on concrete branch will be a result of similar specialisation as it seems to us.

Thus, on a site there should be an information on social responsibility and care on environment, so important for the western investors. On a virtual page of the company vacancies should be published also. Consumers should have possibility to ask a question and to receive on it the answer. The site should be good both from the informative point of view, and from the point of view of design. Well thought over structure of a site – a success basis. A primary factor of a productive site – exhaustive volume of the information for employees of the company (a corporate web-site) or for clients of the company (an information portal).


Sources:
1. Emanuel A. Corporate web-site or information portal//Internet marketing. – 2003. – #2 [http://www.reklamaru.com/content.php?id=435]
2. Zubkova U. In search of an ideal corporate site [http://www.klerk.ru/soft/articles/83221]
3. Wikipedia: the web-site [http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/Веб-сайт]

The author: Челябэнергопроект
Date: 03/23/2010

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