"We are delighted with the results," said Al Ramadan, executive vice president of marketing, Macromedia. "We are big believers in eating our own dog food. The new macromedia.com embraces a hybrid strategy that utilizes the strengths of HTML and Flash, and was built with our new MX 2004 products including Dreamweaver and Flash."
Harley Manning, principal analyst with Forrester Research, stated in a recent brief that companies can learn from macromedia.com's upgrade effort, which used the power of personas, web analytics, and heuristic evaluations to vastly improve quality at breakneck speed. As a result, an evaluation of the new site came in at the highest overall score he and Forrester ever measured.
As macromedia.com is a critical business tool for Macromedia, the new site is both a showcase for and a testament to the power of the integrated Macromedia MX 2004 product family. Macromedia used Dreamweaver(R) MX 2004 and Macromedia(R) Flash(TM) MX Professional 2004 to create a more flexible website that combines the best elements of Flash and HTML to deliver a great user experience.
With deep support for Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) in Dreamweaver MX 2004, the layout, look, and feel of macromedia.com's 40,000 pages are controlled by a handful of style sheets and templates. The switch to CSS also means site-wide changes can be made with less staff requirements in days instead of weeks, and that alternative ways to display pages, such as printable pages, can be built right into the CSS template.
Flash was used to enable the site to maintain a broad, flat architecture with highly-tuned rollover functionality in the global navigation, as well as to deliver rich Internet applications like the shopping cart, on-demand seminars, and Macromedia Exchange.
The site was architected to address six key profiles of users who visit macromedia.com and the seven most common user tasks. Combining those profiles and tasks enabled the team to address the 27 most common user and task pairs, which were then prioritized. These pairs were compared to various user scenarios and the design and information architecture of macromedia.com were tested against all of these requirements.
"We worked very hard to deliver a more strategic, effective site, so it is rewarding that our hard work paid off with this score from Forrester Research," said Les Schmidt, senior vice president, Macromedia. "We redesigned macromedia.com using our own products to make the site more manageable internally and useful externally. As a result, the recent enhancements have helped Macromedia to more than double its in-store conversion rate."
The site earned the highest possible score in more than half of Forrester's 25 "tests." The firm rated the performance of macromedia.com in various scenarios. They approached the site as certain users with specific goals might, such as a "hard core HTML developer" who must determine whether a specific Macromedia product meets their needs. Also praised in the review were the site's effective use of graphics and easily recognizable navigation elements -- all created with the latest versions of Macromedia products.
For more about great experiences built with Macromedia products, please visit Macworld booth #717.
Experience matters. Macromedia is motivated by the belief that great experiences build great businesses. Our software empowers millions of business users, developers, and designers to create and deliver effective, compelling, and memorable experiences -- on the Internet, on fixed media, on wireless, and on digital devices.
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