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Death {of,by} Toolbar

February 24, 2011 at 7:30 am PST

We got some spirited input from many of you about the toolbar on the bottom of Cisco.com pages.  While you can collapse it to move it out of the way, a number of our visitors have asked that we remove it all together. Our own tests have confirmed that it’s more of a problem than a benefit.  So, we’re removing the toolbar from Cisco.com in mid April.

In the meantime, you can click on the arrow on the toolbar to collapse it. It will stay collapsed until the next time you delete your cookies.

Expanded state:

Expanded Toolbar

Collapsed state:

Thanks for sending us all your feedback to make Cisco.com a better site.

P.S. The toolbar saga is an interesting one, and at some point in the future I will post a long story about the design and project lessons that we learned from it.

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Downloading, Carts and Java

February 22, 2011 at 4:44 pm PST

More than a year ago, we introduced a feature in the Cisco.com download flow that allows you to download multiple images at once, which are stored in a cart.  This feature was created at the request of customers and partners, some 42% of whom told us they really needed multi-file downloads.  At the time, the cart feature only used Java, which was a challenge for some users. But back in October we introduced a “non-Java” setting for the cart.  Even though this has been active for a few months, I thought I would point it out in case you haven’t noticed it yet.

Here’s how it works.  If you want a simple list – rather than the Java-based Download Manager – just look for the “Non Java Download” option when you get to the download cart screen:

If you select this as your default, you’ll see the following screen instead of the download manager.  No Java needed. This is all customizable by you!

We’re continuing to work on the download flows in order to support a wide range of download scenarios. I know the Cisco.com download team would like to hear from you about specific needs you have around the download experience, and if you leave a (polite, honest and thoughtful) comment here they will read your comments and can follow up with your directly.

P.S. Just so you don’t complain that I’m a complete Java-hater of some kind, here is my coffee cup :-)

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WebEx.com Gets a Nice Update

February 22, 2011 at 6:10 am PST

Visitors to WebEx.com will notice the site has been updated recently with a brand new look, including streamlined navigation and page designs. In style and format the site is now more similar to Cisco.com, using bright saturated colors, the same page width, and many identical elements.

The new design and structure will make it easier for visitors to find information about WebEx products:

  • A simpler navigational structure replaces previous complex menus.
  • Product and Overview pages are more visual, easier to scan and read, and rely on screenshots and videos to illustrate ease-of-use, features and benefits.
  • The “How To” section with short video clips and a new webinars section—Together@WebEx—are both accessible directly off the top navigation bar.

The new site is a first step toward other improvements in the works. WebEx.com is now on a platform that enables quicker updates and ongoing user experience enhancements. Over the coming months, content on the site will continue to be updated and optimized to address the needs of a variety of visitors. And new subscribers will see big improvements in a simplified purchase process, too.

And last but not least, European visitors will see similar makeovers on WebEx European sites, coming later this year.

Oh, and, as you probably know if you’re a WebEx customer, the online service itself gets new features and improvements regularly.

The new online experience took many months for the WebEx.com team to conceptualize, design and test, and involved groups within the Collaboration Software Group Online and IT teams, and Cisco Solutions Marketing. It was fun collaborating with the designers on WebEx.com as we worked on some of the common design elements across Cisco’s sites.

Enjoy!

P.S. Thanks to Amelia and the WebEx.com team for the pictures and notes. It really was great watching this update come together!

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Supportive Support for Small Business, too

February 17, 2011 at 6:45 am PST

Yesterday, Bill Skeet posted an update on a list of improvements we’ve made to the main support experience on Cisco.com. In a related effort, we’ve also been working on some simple but important updates specifically for small business, and have just re-launched a Small Business Support and Resources page at cisco.com/go/smallbizhelp. Some features of this new page:

  • Highlights the Small Business Online Chat Support option
  • Phone support hyperlinks direct customers and partners to appropriate Support Center based on product
  • Community support hyperlinks direct customers and partners to appropriate Support Community based on product
  • Provides customers and partners with advice to expedite their support calls
  • Calls out ‘how to purchase options’ for customers and unregistered partners
  • Provides links to Open Source information
  • Go URL shortcut (cisco.com/go/smallbizhelp) – easy for customers and partners to remember and easy to include in docs and correspondence
  • Fast search ‘recommended content’ already in place for this page

Let us know how you like these updates, and enjoy!

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Home page tune-up

February 15, 2011 at 6:53 am PST

It’s a little thing, but over the past couple of weeks we’ve done some tuning up of the Cisco.com home page:

  • It loads faster
  • Menus and other interactive functions become active more quickly
  • A few tweaks for iPad users

Enjoy, and let us know what you think.

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