Looking at two of the biggest websites in the UK RightMove.com and AutoTrader.co.uk, the one thing they have in common is the quality and quantity of well structured data. This allows their web developers to create great functionality and an extremely well designed application.
Fig 1 - Filter a huge dataset to find exactly what you want
The screenshot above shows that within AutoTrader.co.uk the user has very quickly found a car through selecting from a number of questions.
Interestingly, within this blog service (BlogSpot.com), these blog posts are well structured and may now be viewed in many different ways. Select constructioncode.blogspot.com/view and you can see all of the posts presented in some wonderful ways. Equally, the same content can be displayed differently depending on the device the blog is viewed on (PC/Mac or mobile device).
Fig 2 - Blogspot View functionality
Fig 3 - Blogspot mobile device
At RIBA Enterprises we strive to do the same. Improve our data. And then provide excellent functionality and usability on top of this. A current example of this is with our manufacturer product data. This is structured to quite a fine level: (1) Product name, (2) Product reference, (3) Optional properties, (4) Default properties, (5) Third party approvals, (6) Links to literature, CAD objects and CPD.
By finely structuring this data - it allows us to display the same data in a number of different ways in a number of products:
Fig 4 - The Zest cubicle at ribaproductselector.com
Fig 5 - Specifying the Zest cubicle within NBS Scheduler
Fig 7 - The RIBAE data for the Zest cubicle on the manufacturer's own website
The work we are currently doing with our products and services follows this principle quite strongly. To keep an eye on our NBS 2012 developments and how the structure of the data gives huge benefits keep coming back to this blog.