Xbox 360 Website Design Strategy

Designing an effective website should be a no-brainer, or so I thought. As I was reading Hoekman’s first 2 chapters of Designing the
Obvious, I kept wondering: “How hard can this be? Where is the breakthrough idea?”, until I got to the part where he advised to design a site that caters to both beginners and experts. And that’s when I hit the pause button. Well, I asked myself, how can one design a website that is easy enough for beginners to navigate but efficient enough for experts to get their answers promptly? Accommodating both styles on the same page can be quite challenging and I honestly can’t begin to even guess a solution at this time (but hopefully by the end of the quarter). I did some research and found literature that focuses on designing an easy website for beginners, and others that teach web design for expert users.  Not both. Surely, web designers have figured all of this out by now (the luxury of living at this time and age)! But when I looked back at Kathy’s slide deck, entailing a massive $81 billion dollars loss for failed complex SW projects, I realized that designing an effective website where the designer analyzes the content to be taught, the task to be performed or the information to be displayed, and defines its structure and functionality, is no easy task.

Let’s talk application – As a marketing manager at Xbox 360, I would like to take the www.xbox.com website as an example, which directs you to the website of the country your are logged in from, in this case, directly to the US Xbox website. That is a good thing. Clearly the site is organized according to business priorities, uncluttered, and visually appealing. Users are clear on the call-to-action, and copy and visuals are designed to be easy to ready and process (not a lot of gamer jargon here). In a nut shell, the site is designed for the beginner or everage user. HOWEVER, where are the hottest retail offers? Where do I go to find the best deal in town? Isn’t this the basis for why we have a website to begin with; to get consumers to buy our products or services?  Understandeablly, Microsoft has tens if not hundreds of retailers they partner with and are bound with contracts. I get that it would be literally impossible for Microsoft (and perhaps legally challenging) to prioritize and choose one or even two retailers to feature on its Xbox home page.. More over, where is the heavy tech language. The juicy details about hard drives and console capacity and such? For example, how do I know if I buy a console in the US, that it will work outside of the US? Is there a specific coverter I must purchase, or a certain set up I have to select before firing up the device? Literally, the consumer will need to resesarch this information on their own and find it somewhere else because it is not easy to find on the site. This is with not keeping to consumers’ wants and needs. It doesn’t demonstrat a positive experience for the expert user.  As a consumer, I want to go to Xbox.com to simply find and compare the best deal on buying a Kinect Sensor or an Xbox 360 game, I don’t want to go through 2 or 3 pages before I am redirected to anoterh page peppered with retailer logos to shop from.  I am pretty sure I am uncovering a dilemma that has been present for many years among industry players, which Wii seem to be struggling with as well. By just glancing at www.wii.com , i am faced with the same dilemma.  Loads of retailer logos to click on to find the price they offer for any specific product. At minimum, both Microsoft Xbox and Wii, should have “compare prices” function or even a link that takes the consumer to a website that does all the comparison and finds the best deal in town. My two cents.

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3 responses to “Xbox 360 Website Design Strategy”

  1. Kat Schroeder says :

    Nice point, Ruba.

    I’m not sure I agree entirely with what I would put on the Xbox 360’s homepage for the expert user, though. Tech talk, definitely, but deals? As a user, especially a high-end user, I don’t think that would be what I want to see. Like you said, there are way too many distributors, and high-end users would already have done that legwork.

    The website has one-click access to forums, which is nice, but you have to wade through several levels of forum menus to find the really intensive discussions the expert user would want. So, you’re right that there is definitely room for improvement.

    • RubaHachim says :

      Yes, I actually changed my mind after the second lecture. I am starting to realize adding the different retailers would only add more layers, and unneeded clutter. Thanks so much for taking the time to read my poast, truly appreciate it.

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