Viewpoint: What Makes A Winning Web Site?

High-frequency-electronics suppliers rely heavily on their web sites as a liaison between them and their customers. An effective web site can increase a company's sales, while a weak site can cost business. But what defines a good web site? Sophisticated graphics can be impressive and eye-catching, but can slow the time required to load a site into even an up-to-date computer. Libraries of data sheets can be useful, but only if the information can be readily searched and accessed in a simple and timely manner.

Compared to commercial, e-commerce sites, the web sites managed by most high-frequency-electronics companies are at best functional if not showy. Some of the best can offer graduate-level educations in the form of white papers, application notes, and archived articles. But some of the worst show inactive menu items or "dead-end" links with no information or terminus.

For the first time, the December 2004 print issue of Microwaves & RF will attempt to rate some of the best web sites in the microwave industry, in a list of the first annual Top 25 Microwave Web Sites. Based on extensive on-line visits by the editors, this list will size up industry web sites for their speed and ease of use, organization, search functions, and content (including the additional "goodies" that engineers crave, such as downloadable software and application notes). Explanations will be provided for why each site is on the list, along with its strong points and weak points relative to other sites in the industry.

As a bonus to Microwaves & RF UPDATE readers, this list will be continued throughout the year in a newsletter item called "Site of the Month." This new editorial feature will review a web site of special merit each month with comments on why it was singled out as the outstanding site for that issue. Stay tuned!

Please share your thoughts with our readers by contacting me at: [email protected]

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