Design for three differing client bases


I hope maybe this thread will be of interest to other`s who might have the same problem as I will no describe.

I run a site for my brother where he markets a chair design for three differing types of clientele, namely dentists, special needs children and office factory workers.

Our issue is that we find that office workers dont want to se on the home page pictures of dentists using the chair, dentists dont want to see special needs children etc etc. We have a mixture of text and graphics which in the end seems to confuse the end users.

I am wondering if anyone has had a similar issue like this before and what their suggested solution is. Three separate sites, some sort of seprate entry area for each type of end users or ?

Any comments and or ideas would be appreciated.

^Yeah although their current page is very different from the one I saw (that was maybe 6 years ago). And, I don’t see anything on their pages til I turn on Javascript, ARGGG.
I did notice a new sidebar on the right appears with product-specific links. This would be the exception to navigation I mentioned: between the main page and the specific page, the main site navigation should not change place or form… but a new navigation that is specific can appear (a nice idea).

You could also check out other companies, maybe larger ones, who are known for making several distinct products. They may not all be good sites but they’re all mostly tackling the same issue you are. I have also seen companies do what Pachey mentioned, and that’s also valid if your hoster isn’t a screw-up regarding redirections or mod_rewrite.

Checked out X-Rite and I think there are definitely ideas we could use from what they have done. In essence they go for a more corporate image on the home page and then you select the area of your interest from there.

Hi Thanks for these ideas. In a way I want to move away from mixing the differing topics on the home page as I believe this is what is currently putting people off. Maybe this depends on the actual product as to how people view this.

I agree with this - much less confusing for users and cutting out all the stuff they don’t need. I would also add that you can have a separate domain for each of those and point it to the page, eg redirects to (cheaper than having separate hosting).

Or you could just follow the convention of having a navigation menu at the top of the page describing the markets your targeting (so it may have something like… Blog / Dentists / Special Needs / Factory Workers / Contact)… just because they don’t want to see other markets intended for the product doesn’t mean you shouldn’t list them so people can pick whatever section best meets their needs. Most websites offer multiple services (like SitePoint offers books, videos, etc), just because people interested in books aren’t interested necessarily in the other stuff doesn’t mean they shouldn’t list them in the same navigation. :slight_smile:

I’ve seen company websites where the main page at the main url was styled and done for the corporation itself rather than any particular product. If you chose a specific product group, you would go to a section of that site

where the design is different (things like navigation and footer did not change, but main splashy image did) per specific product group.

In things like email campaigns etc you can always just send the specific url to keep things easier on clients. Each sub will have the exact same ability to find site-wide pages (terms and conditions etc), so nobody sent to one specialty has any reason to go to the main page.

The site I remember doing this was X-Rite, however that was a long time ago. At the time, they had pretty much only one product for xray film, and a separate set of products for dentists (which had nothing to do with xray film) and a third section for commercial printers. Almost all their products are “colour matching” (excepting the oddball film developer machine) but commercial printers and cosmetic dentists were two separate target groups.

So, the main index page would focus on the company, and that it does “chairs”. However you choose to allow someone to select a group of products (if it’s really that stark, three obvious links is certainly a fad in web design for a few years now), just keep the main parts of the site (company name/logo, main site navigation (even if the navigation choices change) and footer the same. This way, users don’t have to re-find everything going from the main page to the specialty page.

Hi Stevie

Thanks for this, I have been thinking along the same lines, but have been struggling to come up myself or find examples of other sites where this has been done to a good effect. Alot of what I have found doesn`t really work for me. Have you anything immediately to mind where you feel things work well ?

A good way to go would be to have a page or section for each target group, where you can show appropriate imagery and extol the benefits of the chair to that particular group.

On the home page, you could have 3 large images - one of your chair in dentistry, one of children with special needs sitting on your chair and one of office factory workers on your chair. All with appropriate supplementary text, of course. That way, visitors can choose whichever theme is most appropriate for them, and won’t get sidetracked or put off by the “wrong” pictures and features.

Although we normally rant and rail at people who use splash screens, I think this kind of issue is a perfect example of combining navigation with a splash screen to achieve a good outcome.