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Cisco.com: Did you notice?

If you’re an astute visitor to Cisco.com, you’ll notice a couple of our prominent pages have gotten some nice functional updates. .

First, the all new Support & Downloads page, which went just through some tweaks, streamlining, and a mobile-friendly update:

JuneSupport2015

Some new functions on the new Support & Downloads page:

  • Quicker searches for downloads and products
  • Easy focus on top product categories
  • Quick, visible access to open support cases, recent downloads, and recently visited products in support
  • “Responsive” so it works nicely on smartphones (along with more than 7,000 mobile-friendly model support pages underneath)

Also, not too long ago, we created a new Products & Services gateway page:

JuneProductsRoot1015

Among the things we’ve updated on the Products & Services page:

  • More readable with bigger fonts (so you don’t have to squint)
  • More pictures (so you don’t have to read so much) (but still loads fast)
  • Clearer linkage to the handy Products A-Z list
  • “Let Us Help” available even as you scroll
  • Better information on financing options (which you really should check out)
  • “Responsive” so it works nicely on smartphones
  • Linked more obviously from the body of the recently updated Cisco.com home page

More to come on the background on both of these designs. Enjoy!

P.S. Smartphone views of these same pages:

Products:

JuneProductsMobile2015

Support:

JuneSupportMobile2015

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Yes, a New Cisco.com Home Page

We’ve updated the design of the Cisco.com home page. Not just because we wanted to, but for you. Here’s a point by point overview, starting with the desktop/laptop version:

Home Page Desktop May 2015

  1. Same top of page navigation. We’ve keep the same top of page categories, and “mega menu” navigation, as these work very well today. (Yes, we’ll continue to tune these every so often as we have been.)
  2. Quick Tasks. This new element is based on your feedback about your most important regular tasks on journeys on Cisco.com. Since these items are most important to you, we figured we’d put them front and center for easy access. Expect these tasks to evolve over time as we learn more about how people are using them. And, in the future we’ll have different top task lists for Partners, employees and other roles.
  3. The “marquee.” This graphic at the top of the page is a staple of corporate home pages, and we actually toyed with several designs that eliminated it. But in the end, in our testing and reviews, we found that it actually serves a pretty strong purpose to orient visitors and cue them to big announcements or happenings. One innovation: We are personalizing this area, so that over time you may see something different than your neighbor (and more relevant to you).
  4. Let Us Help. We’ve added a linkage to chat online or call so you can get information about our products, services and solutions right from the home page. This follows scrolling down the home page, in a way that we hope is unobtrusive.
  5. Product showcase. Visitors to our site love products, so we’ve opened up a space to showcase featured products. Here, we have used a “carousel” approach because products have enough of a draw to get active engagement (notice that we dropped the carousel we used to have above on the marquee. But here, we think it adds breadth.)
  6. Products link. There’s a prominent link to a newly designed “All Products” page.
  7. “Offers.” Folks in marketing call these “offers” but you can think of them as showcased items that may be of interest specifically to you. We personalize the list based on what you’ve expressed interest in previously.
  8. Watch this space. This is a space for more information that we’ll be experimenting with over time.
  9. News. The new news feed is easier to read, and shows news and announcements from Cisco.
  10. Blogs and Communities. Some of the most interesting information from Cisco is on our blogs, and the content all of you contribute in our communities. This new component gives us a place to showcase these fresh topics right on the home page.
  11. Social sharing. Those social sharing widgets you’ve come to expect on home pages. (This would be a great time to share the new home page if you like it, by the way. :)  )
  12. The “fat footer.” We’ve made no changes to the fat footer on the page, which has been very effective and helpful and gets 4-6% of the click-throughs on our pages. One question we had was whether visitors would click through, with the longer page. Based on our early usability testing, the answer seems to be yes, and people seem quite engaged in scrolling when they are drilling down to the information they’re looking for. We’ll be watching the metrics on this area carefully to make sure it’s still “discoverable” and well used.

The Smart Phone View

For the mobile view of the home page, the it’s the same information, but rendered slightly differently:

Home Page Mobile May 2015

  1. Same header and menu. We’ve retained the same header and “hamburger menu” as before, as it’s been working well
  2. Let Us Help. The same linkage to chat online or call, but in a more compact form for mobile.
  3. Quick tasks, in a more compact form. Interestingly, this text only version tested very well for phones, but got lost on the page for the desktop view, so we used icons on the desktop and text for phones.
  4. Featured Products, in a more compact, swipable form for mobile devices.
  5. News feed in a compact form.
  6. Blogs & Communities in a more compact form.

Thanks!

Thanks to all of you who participated in the multiple rounds of testing and have also given use feedback in the last many months – if not years – on your needs for Cisco.com.

P.S. If the last version of the home page is a distant memory, here’s a picture of it:

Earlier Home Page

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Feed Your April 1st Appetite with These Retro Cisco.com Pages

It’s fun seeing some of the quirky examples of home pages on web sites today, including Amazon’s retro “April 1, 1999″ page.

I can’t think of a time we’ve ever done anything like that on Cisco.com, mainly because we don’t want to distract customers from the jobs they’re coming to do with us.  But, if you are craving some old school Cisco.com pages, here are a few:

1992: Cisco Information Online (CIO) – Telnet/Modem Only:

Modem-1992

1994: Cisco Information Online Web Site:

CIO-1-1994

Mid-1994:  Cisco Information Online Web Site Stellar Motif:

CIO-2-1994

1995: Cisco Connection Online (CCO):

CCO-1995

1996: Cisco Connection Online (CCO):

CCO-1996

Prize for the best comment below.

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Mastering Design, One Red Dot at a Time

One of my favorite designers, John Maeda, believes that the most successful tech companies of the future will really be design companies.

When John’s somewhat bold prediction is put in the context of this quote from Steve Jobs, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works” – it’s easy to see that John is right.

So if the future successful tech companies will really be design companies, what does that mean for all the “non design companies” of today (read: most tech companies and especially most IT tech companies)? This is an opportunity for all tech companies to understand the real value of design.  I believe that change has to start at the top, so for Silicon Valley, it means business leaders have to come to grips with this transformation. Not just hiring more UX people, or opening a “design center,” but embracing design as a way to lead your entire company.

It should come as no surprise that I place such high importance on the Red Dot awards.  They are a validation of amazing design quality from beyond the technology industry.  Our products in the Collaboration portfolio have won six Red Dot awards in the last 18 months – that’s as many as Cisco has won in all its 30 years.

Last week, I found out we won two more. Our newest video endpoint and the flagship of the Collaboration portfolio – the IX5000 – just won a “Red Dot Best of the Best” 2015 award, the highest distinction in Red Dot’s product design category. In 2015, only 1.6% of the nearly 5,000 submissions received this top prize.

The Cisco TelePresence IX500

The Cisco TelePresence IX5000

Read More »

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Our spiffy new tablet app

In case you missed it, Cisco now has a tablet version of our flagship app.  And it’s great. Some new features include:

  • Products use a ‘touch’ visual navigation structure
  • Quicker navigation through ‘bookmarking’  without the need to login
  • Video Datasheets delivered via the tablet app
  • Comprehensive Internet of Everything and social media coverage
  • Partner content, such as incentives, promotions, and support
  • Push notification services
  • Faster updates to navigation and content from Cisco in real time

Get it at:

Some pictures:

2_products 4_video 1_homepage

Enjoy!

 

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