Spike helps Oz businesses crack US market

What it is: Access USA is part of the greater Austrade initiative and can be found at

It offers services, advice and information from Austrade officials, specifically about the US market. The US Access Information Centre offers exporters information on legal check lists, market entry strategies and advice for clients visiting the US.

Aims: Access USA will help Australian businesses enter the large, lucrative and competitive US market.

The Australian Trade Commission anticipates the Web site will provide real, interactive dialogue between exporters and clients.

Austrade hopes the site will move it away from the more traditional marketing mediums of direct mail and brochures.

Who developed it: Australian Web developer Spike Networks created the site for the Australian Trade Commission. Katja McDougall was the producer and had a team of seven.

Development time: From conception to completion it took five months. Spike first developed a "white site" in order to establish what the content was like on the Internet and to work on the navigation of the site. This was running for about two months. Next was the "look and feel" stage, which involved the creation of three different designs. Finally the actual building of the site occurred, which took about 10 weeks.

Technology used: Dynamic HTML was used for the style sheets, basic HTML for the rest of the site and flash technology "to make it a bit more exciting".

Special features: The site was developed for easy navigation, and includes a site map showing every page.

"The content is what drives this site though," said McDougall. "The design is quite functional but the content is very rich and compelling."