Voice recognition specialist JP Computing has a well-designed site. It's simple, easy to use and, most importantly, makes effective use of white space. It may seem like an old-fashioned design concept, but if it's not broke, why fix it?
Navigation is by bars on the left side of the page. And you get a pretty cool sound every time you click on a bar. The Web and graphic design page has examples of design components that JP can supply.
Material on the site includes product information and pricing, JP's support and training services, and contacts. There's also info about product updates. Another page has links to other sites, including printer drivers, system component suppliers, search engines, useful sites, entertainment and news, as well as files on the JP server.
Ford has a new Web site that can only be described as "smick". The site is truly interactive and is actually quite fun to surf.
A lot of the best features are, naturally, Java-based. For example, different images appearing in a rear-view mirror as the mouse scrolls over menu items.
One of the biggest drawcards of the site is the virtual showroom, which was developed to "take the legwork out of buying a car".
The home page is designed around a speedometer-like dial, with the arrow of the dial pointing to the selected menu item.
One of the most interesting things from a design perspective is "surround vision", which is an in-car camera that scans the car's interior allowing viewers to sample colour schemes, check the rear legroom or view the dashboard online.
The site also features an "Accessorise your car" section which allows users to preview individual accessories for a Falcon or Festiva which they can "add" to the car. Users are able to calculate the cost of various options, such as air-conditioning or mag wheels, on the site.
It doesn't end there. Users can also choose a colour for the car and instantly see what it will look like.
The Ford site was developed in conjunction with Fluid Interactive Communication.
All up, the Ford site is approximately 2000 pages. It is hosted on a Windows NT server that is linked by a 2Mb connection.
It is the first site in Australia to fully integrate dealerships into its corporate Web address. It has links to more than 100 Ford dealer sites.
The dealer sites were created using an SQL server with a Microsoft database at the back end and page development using Ultraedit-32 at the front end. The result is most of the site uses Active Server Pages that are updatable using a database. Dealers who have opted for an "enhanced" site can also showcase their used vehicle inventory on their sites with a significant amount of detail for each car.