Editor's Bookmarks - November 2010

Each month RECORD reviews building product related web sites and blogs that might be of interest to our readership. We visit each site, kick the tires a bit, and share what it is about and how it functions. Please let us know if there is a site you've found particularly useful, well-designed, or easy to navigate. — Rita Catinella Orrell
Blu Dot sells its affordable, Good Design brand furniture via a fun, revamped website. Clear navigation buttons in rectangular boxes – “Let’s Shop,” “Check out our blog,” “See our latest ads,” etc. – balance juicy colors that might otherwise overwhelm a homepage. Large format photos, like those on the top of each category page (beds, seating, lighting) spoof trendy shelter pubs. Most importantly, the site is easy to shop. Items are separated into intuitive categories and details and prices are easy to see. The site extras make it more than just an online retailer, though. Check out Blu Dot’s ads, which riff on juvenilia, kitsch, and SMS-speak. And download a free desktop clock with a different image for every minute of the day. (The iPhone version of the same app costs $0.99.)
American Standard adds a new micro-site to its roster of helpful widgets with American Standard ProSite, a souped-up tool to make it easier for professionals to spec, order, and install the brand’s products. The homepage evokes a new car’s dashboard with a simple registration form. Visitors can create and name “projects” to save online, add products to them, and then download to a computer or send via email. Navigation is easy – an index on the left-hand side of the page displays categories: Bathroom Products, Kitchen Products, Specification Services, Resources, and Water Savings. Product searching is customizable to achieve detailed results (for example, search for sinks made in the U.S. only, by height, and color).

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