The functionality of a website is the interactive part of the site - that which allows the visitor to respond in some way, thus turning the visitor into a customer. Types of functionality include:
- Shopping Cart - ecommerce
- Formmail - form that gets emailed
- Database Form - form that deposits data in an online database
- Viral Forms - tell a friend, etc.
- Online Credit Card Processing
- Even the basic Email Link
A website without functionality is a one-way street. Since the Internet is designed to allow more than one channel of communication, it is pointless to have a website that does not provide some form of visitor interactivity.
That said, there are some important rules when deciding what type of functionality is best suited to your purposes:
- Don't ask for visitors to disclose more about themselves than your information is worth.
- Keep it simple or you'll lose too many potential customers half way through.
- Don't require too many steps or visitors will get lost and give up.
- Don't include functionality just because you can; it needs a purpose.
So how do you come by this functionality? In the recent past you had to be friends with a programmer who could knock out little or big web applications for usually pretty hefty fees. Today, however, web functionality can be bought off the shelf. There are hundreds of programs out there - from shopping carts to full-blown Content Management Systems - that can be purchased for a fraction of what they used to cost. In fact, some are even free.
Just Imagine uses a suite of such applications that suit us and our clients quite nicely. We select specific functionality to fill specific project needs. It might be a shopping cart or a module that does nothing but manage Frequently Asked Questions. A small monthly charge is incurred and as the vendor improves the software, upgrades are made automatically and, usually, for free.