Recently, Five Technology worked with a partner to design and implement a responsive web design, one that adapts to whatever device it is being accessed from. It was a industry portal website design for Automation.com, which acts much like an online magazine for professionals in the automation engineering industry.
Our strategic partner assisted with all of the graphic and user interface design work, while Five took care of the CMS integration and extensive custom programming required for a site of this magnitude. Upon completion of the design files, we sliced them into CSS and integrated the website into our custom content management system (CMS), the Site Management Console. Once that was finished the Five team began the long and complicated process of entering and organizing all of this online magazine website content.
Automation.com serves as an information hub and online publication website for the automation engineering industry. Automation companies and professionals use Automation.com to post and read news updates, post and apply for job opportunities, enter and search automation directories, post and learn about new products, and even buy online training materials and books through its eCommerce capabilities. Continue reading to hear about its incredible capabilities.
Portal websites contain A LOT of information that is pulled, submitted, and managed from many different places, people, and systems. This caused a great need for us at Five to organize and design the website to be easy to navigate, but very powerful. We paved the way for easy navigation through the design and implementation of four primary things: Mega Navigation, Portals, Popular Tabs, and Related Content.
Five implemented a powerful mega navigation that remains constant throughout the entire website. The mega nav allows for easy navigation throughout the website no matter where the user finds their self. This powerful tool contains the six main components of the portal web design. It also entails a drop down navigation menu for each component so that the user does not have to click through multiple pages to finally find their destination.
Alongside the mega nav efforts, a portal bar at the top of each page supplemented our goal of easy navigation and a well organized portal website. These portals provide easy navigation to the horizontally sliced divisions within the automation industry. This way users can easily jump to their desired division, or portal, and easily find what they are looking for. Each portal contains a drop down menu containing the main components of each portal for even simpler navigation.
Five implemented a tabs component on the homepage of this portal website that was programmed to automatically pull featured and/or popular items into their designated tab so that users can easily view the most popular items from each content type right on the homepage. This acts much like the table of contents, or featured articles and items of an online magazine. This created even easier navigation for users. In some cases users will not even have to navigate through the website to find what they are looking for if it is a popular enough or featured item.
An important responsibility of an industry portal is to ensure there are minimal dead ends. The primary navigation schemes above get the user to the information they are looking for quickly, but upon completion of reading the article we used related content to keep the user involved. The portal software is smart enough to pull in content items related to the piece of content you are reading by grabbing others that might be associated to similar things. For example, the same type (news, event, etc.) of content, or content that is associated to like portals, etc. The goal is to keep the user engaged on the site for as long as possible, and related content certainly helps to achieve this goal.
Automation.com entails many capabilities and functions for both individual subscribers, who are usually automation professionals, as well as companies in the automation industry. As a highly functional portal website and online publication, it was very important that both subscribers and companies had the ability to easily search and find information, as well as contribute information of their own.
Companies within the automation industry have the ability to set up a company profile on Automation.com. Through this profile they can submit press releases, promote featured products, and offer resources, white papers, and training supplies all for a low, per submission cost. Subscribers and other companies can then share these submissions via a variety of social media outlets.
Subscribers have many capabilities as well. They can apply for jobs, be associated with a company, catch up on news and new products, and if they are associated with a company they can submit items as well. They can also post job profiles and even bookmark content. For example, if a user is especially interested in a specific company’s news updates they can bookmark its news page for easy future access. They can edit their profile and access everything from their dashboard.
Advertising is a crucial part to any portal website, or online publication web site, as they depend on advertising fees as a major source of revenue. Automation.com was not any different. We had to design a way to layout ads in an organized and professional fashion without looking too cluttered, not to mention where to place ads for responsive elements. We also wanted to provide Automation.com with an easy way to manage its advertisements. Through the OpenX application Automation.com can easily manage all of its advertisements. The website was designed to then automatically pull advertisements and featured products from the OpenX server into specified zones that were designed on each web page.
eCommerce has also been a source of revenue for Automation.com so it was important to design and implement strong and secure eCommerce capabilities into the website. Subscribers can easily purchase online training manuals, books, and other merchandise.
Other various items are also automatically pulled to the homepage based on relevancy, popularity, and promotional efforts from other companies. Featured products are submitted by companies from all over the industry and then pulled monthly onto the homepage to promote them. Companies pay for these featured product submissions through the online magazine web site’s eCommerce capabilities. White papers and events are also pulled onto the homepage based on when they were submitted, most recent appear first, and when they are occurring.
As you can see Automation.com is a very complex and powerful online magazine web design. Yet it is very well organized and easy to navigate for all users. This online publication website was a very enduring and complicated project, but we feel that it was a total success. Automation.com was very happy with it too.
If you have an online magazine website or portal website that is not meeting your standards, contact Five today to start enhancing your web presence and improving overall business performance.
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