DDB Stockholm have been behind some excellent creative work, including some fantastic viral videos (Who hasn’t seen the piano stairs?). Their new website is a step forward showing that they understand that your website is just one part of your web presence – one part of your distributed website that exists across multiple platforms and services.
But, it falls short of ticking all the boxes. Here are 5 examples of where they have missed a trick…
1. Flash based
A similar result could have been achieved (plus improved performance/less CPU-drain) with other technologies (eg html, css & ajax). For a recap of this bugbear of mine, see this post on Why flash based site suck.
2. Loading time
We may not be using 56kbps modems anymore, but loading times are just as important as ever.
It’s not only humans that bore whilst waiting for pages to load (and we bore very quickly), search engines bore too. Slow to respond and slow to load pages will be penalised.
Just the index.html file on ddb.se is 148 KB. The entire start page (non-flash version) is 1231 KB (1057 KB of this are the various images used)
OK, perhaps not up their amongst DDB’s target audiences, but making a web site accessible isn’t an optional extra.
It should be standard practice for everyone producing web sites. Granted, a non-flash version of
the site exists, which of course is a Good Thing, but accessibility doesn’t stop at “alternative content when flash disabled”.
An easy win. All the major search engines love eating up sitemaps. Combine a sitemap.xml with robots.txt and you’ve made it so much easier for your content to be indexed. A valid and correctly linked RSS feed is an important part of the package, but it’s not a sitemap.
rel=”me”. This is just as important for companies as for individuals in order to consolidate and confirm official identities across multiple sites and platforms. By cross referencing your various pages, you help join the dots for search engines (and visitors). Other microformats are of increasing importance; Geo-tags, contact details, product information. The sooner you make use of them, the quicker you’ll have the data indexed.
What is required…
These things are not overly complicated, new, expensive, or unavoidable. What is required is a web project manager with a good broad knowledge of the how the web really works, plus a quality web master/web manager. A web site manager isn’t a code-monkey or a copywriter, but someone who understands your web strategy, your target audiences, and the Internet – and who can make sure your web presence keeps on ticking all the boxes long after launch.