[Viewpoint] Redesigned Web site propels PCT forward

Features - Technology & Internet

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May 31, 2005
Brad Harbison

In early May, PCT unveiled its latest enhancement in the ongoing evolution of PCT Online (www.pctonline.com) — the site was completely redesigned and updated with exciting new features.

Since it was launched more than a decade ago, PCT Online has become a leading resource for pest management professionals looking to stay on top of their businesses. Its up-to-the-minute news, interactive message board, article archive, product sections and other functions (e.g., MSDS/Labels) provide PCOs with a powerful, easy-to-use tool. So why mess with a good thing?

One reason is quite simple — appearance. It’s been three years since we last redesigned PCT Online, and we thought the site needed a more contemporary look. So we chose an orange-red color scheme and added new graphics and fonts that are both eye-catching and help bring out the textures of the other elements on each page. Also, to enhance the visual aspect of our homepage, we now have the capability of running larger photos or images with our lead news story.

Another reason for the change is more subtle. The phrase "information overload" is most commonly used to describe the vast amounts of information (and disinformation) available via the Internet. But that phrase also can be used to describe Web site designs. Throughout the years, one of the most common negative comments we received about our site was that it was too "busy." To some extent, this is to be expected. After all, we continuously add new resources and functions to the site and this content needs a home.

Our challenge was to come up with a design that would make this information easily navigable and also provide us with the flexibility to continue adding new functions and features. We think we’ve accomplished this with our new design. Located at the top of every Web page are rollover navigation bars. By moving your cursor over these navigation bars, drop-down menus appear. Currently, there are 45 categories located within these drop-down menus and more will be coming. This allows us to better segment subjects. For example, our news drop-down menu is segmented into categories such as national, regional, international, legislation, people and supplier news.

PCT is excited about our redesigned Web site. It was a long and involved process that relied heavily on your input, as well as our own past Internet successes and failures. The end result is a Web site that we believe provides you with better resources in a more easily navigable format.

The April issue of PCT featured an incorrect news story about Residex. Customers should go to the company’s new Cranford, N.J., address to pick up supplies. PCT apologizes for the error.

The author is Internet editor of PCT magazine.