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E-BUSINESS MODULE U 51024 - WEB SITE DESIGN


E-BUSINESS MODULE U 51024 - WEB SITE DESIGN


INSTITUTE FOR INTERNATIONAL MANAGEMENT AND TECHNOLOGY

E-BUSINESS

MODULE U 51024



WEB SITE DESIGN

A web site is meant to be good where the balance between the forms, functions, content and purpose are maintained well.

The primary four aspects of a web site are content, technology, visuals and economics. These aspects build a web site pyramid as the content provides the bricks we use to build the pyramid, but the foundation rests solidly on both visuals and technology, with a heavy reliance on economics to make our project worth doing. (Powell, 2000)

As internet is growing rapidly and the amount of usage has increased over decades, the "Intercontinental Hotels" web site is phrased in the interest of its customers to locally access their products and services at their door step.

CUSTOMERS

Customers being of due importance, a company should identify its customers and then target the products and services accordingly.

The target market that the "Intercontinental Hotels" focuses is generally Business Travelers during the weekdays and Leisure segment during weekends.

This group of hotels chain provides a loyalty program that caters to all segments.

Stressing over the 12 factor theory discussed by Parker, 2000 to judge whether a web page is a good one or an average one -

  1. SPEED

This determines the time the web site involves loading. The case study web site takes 2-3 seconds to load entirely, which lays as a first good impression. The visitor does not have to wait too long to get access to the web site.

  1. SITE PURPOSE

The web site clearly specifies its purpose of selling its products and services through the mode of internet. This hotel wants to widespread its brand and become the first choice for the guests and hotel owners.

  1. ENGAGEMENT

This shows the benefits and the information the organization offers the customers. This reflects over the short term and long term benefits offered to the visitors.

  1. NAVIGATION

With the wide range of hotels and services this chain provides, the web site supports an easy accessibility. This reduces the level of difficulty for the visitor to return back to the previous web page. The visitor can easily move around the web site and connect to different links and further connect back to the main page. This web site provides simple navigation for people who are not even well versed with computers.

  1. REGISTRATION

There is an appropriate link which registers the visitors for updates and new schemes. This helps in reminding the customer back about that company and makes them feel important to be informed. This acts as a promotional tool as it allows the user to book online.

There exists a different set of users which are already registered and are welcomed back with their names which gives a personalized touch.

  1. USABILITY

It is easy to use the web site as there are appropriate words used to specify sections. The site does not use long sentences or jargons or slang which make it simple for the visitor to navigate.

  1. TIMELY

The web site does not specify its last updates which reflect wrong on the visitor, as he wants to be aware of the life of the information present at the web site. The visitor even wants to know about the responsiveness of the company towards the quality of information provided and the guarantee it gives.

  1. DESIGN

The web site is eye catchy and attractive. It provides a graphical representation of their products and services. It gives a human effect to the web site as it shows chefs working to serve the guest and the emotional level of the guest with the services provided. It is colorful web site with a visual tour around the hotels of this chain. This web site provides a theme in accordance with the combination of colors used in the logo.

Its competitors Radisson Edwardian, has a very dull web site. It does not include too many pictures and is not attractive.

  1. CUSTOMIZATION

The customers can customize their stay to a certain level. During the initial stage of booking, the visitor can mention its requirement and has the authority to specify additional services. The hotel then approaches the customer to confirm the special requests.

A registered visitor even has the accessibility to view where he stopped the last time.

The web site gives the customer the opportunity to create their own trip with their special requirements.

  1. TECHNOLOGY

The web site is updated regularly with the technology. It gives a great combination of visual tours, scroll down menus which its competitors do not provide. The web site designer kept in mind that with the involvement of images the speed of the web site could decrease but, with a proper balance this factor was eliminated.

  1. CALL TO ACTION

The visitors are requested to leave back feedback about the web site or any other experience with the Intercontinental Hotel. Incase of any queries, the visitors are welcomed to enquire. There exists a caption right in the middle of the website as "Customer Care" which allows access to their inquiries.

As experimented for this Web Design section, an enquiry mail was issued at the web site during the weekend and the response was still received with 37 seconds of the mail sent.

  1. COMMUNITY

The web site does not provide any community building but, gives the opportunity of asking questions and making the customer feel loyal to the company. This makes the customers feel important and thus, they become more faithful.

COMPETITORS

  • Hilton Hotel
  • Radisson Edwardian Hotel
  • Radisson SOS Hotel
  • Four Seasons

The web site provides a suitable search about any guest doubts, the customer services, the hotel owners and developers, the various investors, the way different hotels are under development process and the methods of media used.

The URL of this web site is not too long and is easy to remember. As soon as the visitor types www.intercontinental.com , they get connected to the intercontinental hotels group web site where they have an easy and free access. This web page is further linked with the Intercontinental Hotel Park Lane, London by just typing in the name of the area.

When conducted a search at www.google.com, intercontinental hotels group web site does not appear on the first page of search. A search at www.yahoo.com and www.ask.com, do not recommend this web site as their first few options.

The web site even deals with M-Commerce as it allows its users to access through the wireless.

QUALITY OF INFORMATION

The information and the content available at the web site are accurate and secured. This web site gives an overview to its visitors about the company and its services. Thus, the information imparted is genuine to gain the trust of its customers. Due to diversity in the needs of the customers, their set of information varies.

Therefore, the web site gives a complete guarantee of the information provided and runs a customer service where the different needs of the visitors are addressed.

SERVICE QUALITY

  • TRUST

The trust factor is built with the reliability of content available to the visitors. The web site of Intercontinental Hotel Park Lane is a copyright and promises to deliver appropriate information to its users.

  • EMPATHY

This is related to the direct customer service provided to each individual solely. This web site provides the option to its visitors to have an interactive conversation with a customer service executive. This is a customized service provided by Intercontinental Hotel Park Lane, London which its competitors do not practice.

SECURITY

The degree of security is highly looked into. The website is supported by "Trust-E" to protect the confidential information of the customers and protects children's privacy programmes.

This helps the customer to trust the website and safely disclose its credit card details. The web site allows free access to it without any formation of cookies as requested by visitors.

LANGUAGE

This web site is user friendly as it has no language barriers. The web site provides admittance in 22 different languages as opted by the user. This helps in the access of all types of users irrespective of any language. This feature is not adopted by any of its competitors in spite of "Hilton Hotels" who only provides 5 choices.

Site maintenance is required on a regular basis where the files are checked for any broken links. (Powell, 2000)

As states by Lynch & Horton, 2001 the web site hierarchy followed by Intercontinental Hotel Park Lane, London is -

FUTURE & RECCOMENDATIONS

The future of web suggests that many web sites will be as critical to users as water, power or the telephone, making information the fourth utility.

Web site design industry will mature to meet requirements, and those designers and developers who lay foundation for future online communities truly will be living up to the title "Information Architect". Users will increase their demand for quality high impact web sites. (Powell, 2000)

With the increasing development in this sector, and this increasing competition the company should largely focus on the Web Site Design to maintain its uniqueness and distinctive effect over others. This group is focusing now upon involving environmental policies into the hotel chain.

In this article it is clearly visible that the internet usage has an extensive increase over the years. With this drastic increase, the Intercontinental Hotel Park Lane should build strong focus on the web site to empower over its competitors.

The web site should set up a Fire wall to set limit network traffic while registering and revealing the personal details of a user. This would ensure and remind them that they are entering into an area where confidential information would be required.

Being a dynamic environment, there are changes being made quite frequently. The website should provide proper dates as to when the site was last updated. This would help the customers to know that the information they are utilizing is how old and relevant. As stated by Lynch & Horton, 2001 a web site needs to be maintained and updated regularly to keep the web site alive. The author mentions that "the site should not be left stale by starving it of resources as you disappoint the audience built."

The web site should have the facility of building a community, which would help various customers to interact with each other and discuss about their perceptions about this group. This would help in earning a good word of mouth and widespread their brand.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

India Online Overview (Online) (Cited 4th October 2007) Available from <URL: https://www.emarketer.com/Reports/All/Emarketer_2000464.aspx?src=report_head_info_sitesearch>

Intercontinental Hotels Group and Resorts Hotel Reservations (Online) (cited 5th October 2007) Available from <URL: https://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/ic/1/en/home>

Lynch, P. and Horton, S. (2001) Web Style Guide - Basic Design Principles for Creating Web Sites (Second Edition), Italy, Italy, Yale University

Powell, T.A. (2000) The Complete Reference - Web Design, New York, The Mc-Graw-Hill Companies Inc.

Rate a web site (Online) (Cited 3rd October 2007) Available from <URL: https://www.newentrepreneur.com/Resources/Articles/Rate_a_Web_Site/rate_a_web_site.html>





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