When is a website not a website?
By Colin Britten, National Strategy Director, HMA Blaze
When HMA Blaze were first approached by Seldon Gill to tender for the organisation's new website design and build, we asked the standard briefing questions that experience has taught us usually frame a recruitment and career focused website. Is it simply an online brochure promoting the features and benefits of the organisation? An interactive recruitment and career solution for candidates and clients? Or an additional revenue generating channel for the business?
When Seldon Gill answered "all of the above... and more", we knew the website wasn't going to follow traditional industry parameters. In fact, the whole design and development process was far from traditional.
Firstly, from the outset the project was a genuine working partnership with client, creative and technical teams all positively contributing towards common objectives and without an ego in sight. As I said, a far from traditional process!
Secondly, Seldon Gill's overall aim was to create a media-rich industry destination point, not simply a job board. A place where the Professional Services industry could go for insight, information and intelligence directly related to them personally, their careers and their workplace. For instance, initiatives like the Recruit Toolkit and Career Toolkit provide expert resources for both individuals and HR management that go way beyond simple job listings and hiring tips - they help deliver real world business and career solutions. The Corner Office Group is a password protected online environment that gives senior management access to a whole range of business and career decision-making support resources such as salary surveys and exclusive white papers. The comprehensive Industry Information section will be a major focus from a content management perspective on a daily basis. Real-time and relevance will be key drivers in ensuring that Podcasts, Hot Press and What's on keep the site's finger firmly on the industry's pulse.
Thirdly, the site needed to deliver industry-wide information, but also build a sense of personal ownership and belonging. Hence, multiple interactivity points were high on the menu (forgive the pun!).
Lastly, Seldon Gill were passionate about maintaining a strong sense of fun throughout the site. Industry gossip and sartorial assassinations will certainly be generated through the Review of Social Events section, while careers and reputations could falter or fly at Celebrations and Awards. My bet is that these two sections will prove highly popular and widely bookmarked from a very early stage!
From a measurement perspective going forward, the success of the site will not be determined by the number of visitors, but by retention. In other words, how often visitors return and how long they spend on the site.
Overall, the design and development of seldongill.com has been one of the most enjoyable challenges that both HMA Blaze and Firefly - our technical partner - have undertaken. However, the desire to own a website that genuinely sets industry standards and pushes creative boundaries is more often than not just rhetoric, unless the client is 100% on board and an active participant in the vision. When the client actually provides that vision, great things can be achieved. Such has been the case with www.seldongill.com