Last week, IBM.com launched a new home page which provides a template for things to come.
We’ll be tracking and reporting on IBM.com’s evolution in the future — but in the meantime, here’s four interesting takeaways worth putting in your hat.
Welcome to “lean forward” part deux
IBM.com joins Oracle.com on the new — and very powerful — “lean forward” bandwagon, which is where the smart money is going. In IBM.com’s case, it kicks off the conversation with an “I want to:“ metaphor crafted around the goals prospects are trying to achieve. Then it spins Web gold by directly converting those wants into crystal clear needs — and then links those needs to a specific product.
Simply put, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Of course, having the right voice helps immensely — and this is where the IBM.com team is channeling a bit of “back to the future” through the liberal use of action verbs — a technique that has fallen in and out of vogue over the past ten years. We’re talking about verbs that trigger the right emotional connections. Simplify. Streamline. Improve. Manage. Identify. Anticipate. Understand. Capture. Analyze. Well, you get the picture.
Content that matters
Which brings us to the other part of the action verb scenario — the content that actually tells the story. Here, IBM.com is bucking today’s awful “less is less” content behaviors by actually providing enough information for visitors to figure out what the company is saying. Good overviews. Interactive content boxes. Screen shots and images that demonstrate value. Sure, there are exceptions — but it’s nice to see that IBM.com realizes there’s a big difference between curb appeal and a meaningful conversation.
It’s all in black and white
In an era dominated by image palettes that rival a circus tent, IBM.com is notable for bringing a new color scheme to the party — black and white photos framed in text and border colors that capture the essence of the headline. The net effect is a virtual oasis of calm in a sea of sites vying to create the biggest and boldest reaction. In the final analysis, IBM.com’s approach isn’t good or bad — but it’s interesting — and very effective.
The death of the mega?
With all of the new designs in play, we’ve been wondering when global mega menus would go the way of the dodo bird — and for good reason. After some great initial behaviors, most have devolved into mega link farms that squander prime marketing real estate.
If the top levels of IBM.com are any indication, great marketing-centric mega menus are finally back in the game. To see why, check out the home page’s category menu (see screen shot below) and let your mouse hover around. Here you’ll see mega menus that give visitors more to do than play whack a mole with a blizzard of links. A nice overview with a fall-off-a-log “go here” button. An offer. Fast path to a trial. Credibility content galore. Add it all up and you have very good stuff.
Offers, offers all over the place — but not a CTA in sight
One of the things that will strike you about the top levels of the new IBM.com are all of the Try and Buy offers that are front and center — a behavior previously relegated to the dark recesses of this site. Classic call to action, on the other hand, is pretty much MIA. The beloved “email, call us or send a carrier pigeon” widget doesn’t make an appearance on new top level product pages and IBM misses a serious opportunity to engage by not having a call to action slider a la Oracle.com. Chat, always a favorite, will pop up if you loiter around long enough — but you can’t trigger a session with a mask and a gun.
The net effect? IBM is squandering the power of its new upper level product pages by making visitors deep dive into old pages that break the spell it is weaving.
But keep your eye out on Q3. If IBM succeeds in herding all of its LOB cats into the same pen (good luck with that), this is likely to be a pretty powerful site.
A picture’s worth a thousand . . .
Of course, there’s no substitute for experiencing the new IBM.com top levels, so here’s a video that will give you the essence of the journey in just over 6 minutes.
Category: Case Study
Class: Website Review, Video
Websites Profiled: IBM.com
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