Remember what websites used to look like back in the day?
Advances in technology have led to several revolutions in website design. Whereas visitors used to have to pick through all of a page’s content—because it was all displayed at all times, probably in flashing red and lime-green text—we now interact with sleek, minimalistic sites that make it easy to find exactly what we want. These sites are more user-friendly, engaging, and visually appealing than the websites of yesteryear.
What’s more, many sites remember our preferences and take us right to what we’re interested in the next time we visit. This is a successful approach; according to research from Accenture, “91 percent of consumers are more likely to shop with brands [that] recognize, remember, and provide [them with] relevant offers and recommendations” than with brands that treat them as generic shoppers. And Gartner has predicted that “by 2020, smart personalization engines ... will enable digital businesses to increase their profits by up to 15 percent.”
But there’s a catch. While companies in heavily regulated industries are required to maintain archives of their online communications, the technology of website archiving hasn’t always kept pace with improvements in web design. If you’re still using static PDF or image files to archive your website, here are seven elements of great websites that you might be missing.
Seven Amazing Website Elements—and What Goes Wrong With Archiving Them
We’ve all gotten so used to hamburger menu buttons and dropdown menus that we hardly think about them anymore. But if you, like FedEx, use dropdown menus to provide access to the rest of your site, how is a static image capture displaying those menus? Theoretically, you could click on each dropdown and capture each screen … but is your archiving vendor doing that? Or is your PDF archive just showing a blank page with no menu options?
Does your website have a rotating carousel that displays different text and images? (Ours does!) These passively dynamic features, like the one on Wells Fargo’s homepage, allow customers to see what options are available without clicking on anything. But a static archive will only capture whichever screen is visible at the time of capture. Again, an archivist could rotate through the different options and capture each, but does yours? And what’s the cost of doing so or the likelihood of error?
- Hover- or Mouse-Over Content
Unlike carousels, which display different content without waiting for user interaction, hover- and mouse-over content require the website visitor to take action. These types of content are simply invisible without interaction, as you can see on PayPal’s site. Is your screencap archiving solution capable of engaging with content to display and then capture each of these hidden features?
- Videos and GIFs
Videos and their little siblings, GIFs, can be far more engaging than static pictures. Lyft, for example, uses video to draw in website visitors. Additionally, videos are a great way to provide educational or informative content, as they can demonstrate how a product works instead of just talking about it. Want to learn more about Factiva, a global news database offered by Dow Jones? There’s an explanatory video that can help. Think a single frame from that video—which is all a static archiving solution will capture—will have the same effect? We sure don’t.
- Interactive Charts, Graphs, and Maps
Many financial services companies provide interactive charts and graphs to explain the performance of their funds over time. With these interactive features, users can select options that interest them and explore those in more depth. But the usefulness of these features isn’t limited to financial offerings; United Airlines, for example, has an interactive map that displays destinations around the United States along with the prices to travel to those destinations. By interacting with any of those destinations, the user can unlock more information about available flights. How much of that content does a single TIFF image file archive display? Not enough.
- Personalized Functions and Fillable Forms
There was another sophisticated feature on that United map. Did you catch it? Depending on your browser’s privacy settings, chances are that United’s website automatically detected your location—based on your IP address—and used the nearest airport as your starting location. But if your archiving solution only logs in from a single IP address, it’s only captured that personalized function from its location. Other websites offer fillable forms and then display personalized, targeted information—which, again, static capture methods won’t collect. To learn more, check out our recent blog about the compliance risks of interactive digital marketing campaigns like Betterment’s “Outsmart Average” campaign, which offers even more sophisticated personalized functions.
The very nature of the internet is its interconnectedness. Users click on links to explore sites and experience how different pages are connected. Without that functionality—or the context it reveals—you might as well be flipping through a paper catalog instead of navigating a modern-day website. Context is everything on the internet, but if your archives don’t let you actually click links and see how content fits together, you’re likely missing out.
Hanzo Captures What Other Archiving Solutions Miss
Convinced that there’s more to your website than meets the eye? Check out Hanzo Dynamic Capture and see how our archiving solution generates not a static image but a fully functional replica website. With our archives, you can explore dropdown menus, view each element in a rotating carousel, check out hover- or mouse-over content, watch full videos and GIFs, interact with features such as charts and maps, capture different personalized functions, and navigate through links to reveal the full context of anything on your site.
Better yet, since seeing is believing, take it for a test drive yourself.