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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
One of the recent threads was on why Adire subs weren't getting as much positive PR on this forum as the Hsu and SVS subs. Some of the discussion on that thread focused on the Adire web site. Some people liked that site. I was one of those that thought it wasn't up to par with other web sites I've visited.


In the past seven months I have probably made in-depth visits to well over 50 vendor web sites (looking for TV, receiver, speakers, sub, cables, entertainment center, leather sofa, etc.). During this time I've been exposed to web sites that I thought were very good and some that were not so good.


Anyhow, the Adire thread got me started thinking about what a vendor web site should and shouldn't include. Therefore, my opinions on what should and shouldn't be included in a vendor's web site are...


These are the things I think every speaker/sub web site should include:


o Clear identification of the full set of products complete with specs

o Either a tabular comparison of the various offerings or a text description that differentiates the various options. For example, I've been looking for a box sub with certain characteristics in the $800-$1000 range. Each web site should make it easy for someone like me to hone in on the products that match my criteria.

o A vendor-specific forum accessible from the vendor's web site. I have found these to be very valuable sources of information. Obviously, a vendor-specific forum is going to be biased but that's OK (I do find it annoying when a non-vendor-specific forum is biased).

I have discovered the existence of some forums (that were not accessible from the vendor's web site) after I had completed my analysis of that vendor's product set (in at least one case after I had already made a purchase)

o A web page that identifies recent releases (and upcoming releases). As an example, the SVS web site does this very nicely.

o A web page devoted to personal testimonials and links to professional reviews.

o A contact within the company where certain questions (that, for whatever reason, require direct contact with the vendor rather than getting an answer via the forum) can be answered

o A customer-support contact

o If the vendor is a B&M vendor (versus an Internet-direct), then a web page that can be used to locate stores in the area that sell that vendor's products


Other things that would be nice include:


o Online versions of all the product documentation

o A FAQ web page

o A web page for buying used/refurbished equipment (preferably including those being sold by individuals)

o Frequency response graphs and other pertinent technical data


Things (I guess I just have one) that should not be included in the web site are:


o Links to general forums (like this one). This is especially true if the web site doesn't have its own forum. This encourages a takeover of the general forums by owners of that product (witness the number of SVS owners at hometheaterforum).
 

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It wasn't that long ago I visited a web site that had no contact info at all for the company. I wanted to buy one of thier products, but had no way to ask them for a dealer list, prices, or anything. They've changed it since then, but that still shows the lack of foresight some companies have about internet presence.


One of my pet peeves, and this applies to many audio product websites, is the lack of pricing. How do I know if I'm interested in your product if you don't show retail prices? I'm sorry, but one of the major criteria for me is to stay within my budget, and without prices it's highly likely I'm wasting everyone's time.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Az Barber
One of my pet peeves, and this applies to many audio product websites, is the lack of pricing. How do I know if I'm interested in your product if you don't show retail prices? I'm sorry, but one of the major criteria for me is to stay within my budget, and without prices it's highly likely I'm wasting everyone's time.
I agree, I would like to see more MSRP on sites.


Or maybe just a disclaimer: "If you have to ask the price, you can't afford it." :D (Then I can go back to browsing the sites with all the pop-up ads... ROFL. :D )
 

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No MSRP is my pet peeve too. I have to go to audiogon in those cases and see what things cost.
 

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very important criteria for me is usability.....


take http://www.dynaudiousa.com/main2.htm; Its a pain in the ass to try to browse their speakers.... You have to go back, go thru the drop down menus to select the serie, etc.. big pain in the ass...


take http://www.energy-speakers.com/ Thats well done. You go in products, then go in a speaker model, Connoisseur for example, and then go to C1, C2, C3 etc.. very easy and have all the range at the click of a mouse. Now thats decent IMO. Takes 20 seconds & 10 clicks to browse thru the whole speaker range.


For the crappy dynaudio website, takes friggin 100 mouse clicks and 3 minutes.... :mad:


Another bad site example is http://www.ascendacoustics.com/Main/Intro/Firstpage.asp . I like simple, when it dosen't take 5 minutes to find what you're looking for... Ex: You want to see what speakers they have... You click on Our products. A page of text loads.... No friggin product list or anything... WTF... You look for the speakers, they're not there.... Just a CBM-170 on the side... wtf.. they only have one speaker?! "Our loudspeakers offer a refreshing change from the norm" WTF WHERE ARE YOUR SPEAKERS?!?! Oh wait... There's a stupid little grey text menu which appars where the links are... :rolleyes: DUMB if you ask me... Make it OBVIOUS...


Another BAD site: http://www.wharfedale.co.uk/ Pain in the ass to browse thru their speakers.... You want to see their Opus.. You click on products.. then wtf.. WTF is Home DJ?! Cinema?! Home cinema?! Anyhow.. Hi-Fi... then u see the pics of like 4 speaker ranges, you click on Opus, and a stupid pdf loads...................................................... I DONT WANT TO SEE A PDF I WANT TO SEE THE DIFFERENT OPUS MODELS.......

So forget Opus, I"m gonna check out Diamond series.. Go to diamond, page loads, but then again, they NAME the speaker models but don't show them... uh gee thanks........


Most speaker sites I've seen are really annoying... http://www.bwspeakers.com is also annoying... what kind of res do they use?! 320x280?! And when you click on a speaker, they put the description in a 100x100 box where you have to scroll down and up to read... Yet about 75% of the space in the window is empty.... Bleh, bad site...


I like simple, easy to use websites. Here's another good one IMHO: http://www.totemacoustic.com/english/index_eng.htm . You want to see bookshelves you click bookshelves, floorstanders, floorstands, want to see a particular model, you click on it.... Want to see pictures, click on gallery on the top. Simple, easy to use, very nice IMHO. Could have a little more info on it though...

http://axiomaudio.com is also nice. Want to see their speakers, click products, and wham, you have ALL the speakers there accessible at click of your mouse. Even has nice touches: See the speaker in white/black/cherry, etc.. Grills off, on, they show the prices, very nice site too!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
My pet peeve is a vendor web site that doesn't have its own forum but instead directs others to general forums like this one. SVS does this and I have stopped reading hometheaterforum because of the disproportionate number of SVS backers on it.


Grandarf, you obviously have some clear cut ideas about how you think vendors should set up their web sites. I would like it if you could quantify (maybe in bullet form) exactly what you like and dislike (e.g., you should be able to view the entire product set in X amount of time with no more than Y clicks).


Having spent a lot of time at the various vendor web sites, I would like a nice list of do's and do not's to come out of this. I know a fair number of individuals that work for the various vendors (especially the online vendors) peruse these forums and, maybe, one or more of them will pick up on this list and actually use it to make their site more friendly for the next set of visitors.
 

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Besides the lack of pricing info (my biggest gripe), I dislike forums that seem to think the use of an unusual technology is going to impress people. The pop-up boxes, wierd frames, etc are all example of same.


Another flaw is too much navigation before you get what you need. Click for pictures, click on each picture, click again to make it big enough to see. Back back back, then click on specs which pops up in a window you have to size scroll close. Back back click into the Cart before you can see pricing.


Back back back back to get to the product page to look at another model, then do it all again.


Sheesh!


Also, sites that try to hide the secondary links. Ever tried to figure out how to link directly to the Klipsch forums? I finally did, but they're obviously trying to furce the user to hit the main page on every access.
 
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