As many of you know, we ushered in much stricter usability standards this year – and have been putting our eBusiness index Websites through their paces.

This week we completed our Website usability review of – and learned a couple of interesting things about this site’s new life in the private sector.

Today's soft products-services, solutions, training, and industry marketing–are buried alive on this site. Hardware–laptops, servers, printers–are front and center.It’s all about selling iron. Once upon a time Dell fancied itself a full service enterprise provider. A one stop shop for hardware, software, and the services and solutions that knit them together. Fade out today and soft products – services, solutions, training, and industry marketing – are buried alive on this site. Hardware – laptops, servers, printers – are front and center.

That said, does something that few sites do. It actually connects its industry marketing prose to real products and solutions optimized for the target industry. It’s an uninspired zone to be sure, but one that has more real value than most.

Social media goes to the back of the bus. One look at our evaluation results will tell you that social media is alive and well on most Websites. Except, it seems,

With the exception of its communities and a couple of corporate marketing areas, is blissfully bereft of social media options. Don’t ­bother to tweet, Facebook or Google+ in the site’s product marketing and services zones. Ditto’s “big picture” stories about cloud, converged infrastructure, and desktop virtualization – assuming, of course, that you can actually find them.

Training is a red headed stepchild. Finally, we have training, which is an odd duck on For starters, 13 training packages are considered accessories that buyers can throw into their shopping cart while they are buying a product. That’s in addition to a separate training microsite that operates in its own galaxy – and can’t be found on with a mask and a gun.

So where does shine? Let’s say it all together now: ecommerce. It is the absolute master of the complex sell. Choosing technical options. Adding accessories. Plopping down your money at the checkout counter. With good and best practices scores across the board, nobody – and we mean nobody – does complex ecommerce better.

Oh, and one other little moment of brilliance you shouldn’t miss: How converts a search request into a selling experience. Type the term “laptop”, “desktop” or “tablets” in the search box and you’ll get that product’s shopping page – not a classic search results list. Since a picture’s worth a thousand words, you can check out how it does it below


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