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News Release

February 16, 1998
Sandia World Wide Web Site Receives Top Prize in 1997 WebAwards Competition

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Sandia National Laboratories' World Wide Web site (http://www.sandia.gov) has been named the top government site by the Web Marketing Association through its 1997 WebAward competition for corporate web sites.

More than 200 sites were reviewed for a variety of awards by a panel of judges including the news media, advertising executives, site designers, content providers, and webmasters. Site design, innovation, content, interactivity, navigation, ease of use, and use of technology were all considered.

The Web Marketing Association is an independent organization founded with the exclusive purpose of evaluating and recognizing the standard of excellence on the World Wide Web for corporate web sites.

"Winners of the 1997 WebAwards represent some of the best interactive design shops and in-house corporate departments working to extend their brands to the Internet," says William Rice, President of the Web Marketing Association.

"Marketing on the Internet is a competitive environment and simply being there is not enough. The WebAwards winners combined design, innovation and technology to help their companies or clients meet specific marketing objectives."

Additionally, Rice points out, the WebAwards recognize the individual achievement of Web professionals who create corporate Web sites.

Six "buttons" appear at the top left of Sandia's home page. Titled, "About Sandia," "Unique Solutions," "Working With Us," "Contacting Us," "News Center," and "Search," they lead users into other pages that fit into those general categories.

The home page also shows a regularly updated "News Highlights" section, a featured web site, and a link into upcoming events and conferences.

Sandia Webmaster Larry Perrine, also a public information officer, says the labs' web site is proving itself valuable for spreading the word about Sandia's technical accomplishments. "We put our news releases on the web and feature the major technical ones on our home page along with related color photos and art. We even offer downloadable photos and artwork from our News Center page [www.sandia.gov/News.htm], and we know the media are using this service daily.

"Major publications throughout the world can now obtain our news releases and photos the same day we issue them, and publish them the next day, often with a color photo, if they want," he continues. "This saves us a lot of time and mailing expense, and ensures that the news is fresh."

Much of the work that has produced the Sandia web pages' look and feel revolves around the Labs' Advanced Communication Department. Manny Ontiveros, manager, believes strongly that a key to developing a web site that people first notice and then, very importantly, return to is closely weaving what you want to communicate with what visitors are looking for.

"Achieving this balance goes a long way to meeting our goals," Ontiveros says.

"This effort is especially useful as a tool to gauge how effective some of Sandia's web-based communications are," Ontiveros says.

When you look at "top entry" pages, he says, you find what you'd expect: Lots of users enter the site through the home page (www.sandia.gov) or through the page that features a world-famous Sandia-developed html reference manual (www.sandia.gov/sci_compute/html_ref.html).

"And when you look at our metrics," he says, "you find a significant amount of 'drilling' through the search engine. Our continued success will be based on how well we continuously adapt to readily provide the information visitors want in the form they want it. Visitors appreciate flexibility and responsiveness. Our downloadable audio and photo file formats, in fact, are based on direct customer feedback."

Ontiveros notes that data on most frequently downloaded files indicate people are interested in electronic versions of Labs brochures. For example, the electronic version of a Labs booklet, "Revolution in Engineering," has been downloaded in the .pdf format several thousand times.

"I don't think electronic versions of brochures and other printed materials are going to replace printed documents for the foreseeable future," Ontiveros says, "but they are becoming a more and more important alternative."

Another important, and interesting bit of data the Sandia web-watchers have gained are the cities from which web users most-often log onto the Sandia site. Not surprisingly, Albuquerque tops the list. The remainder of the top, however, may offer some surprises: 2-Vienna, Va., 3-Palo Alto, Calif., 4-San Jose, Calif., 5-Columbus, Ohio, 6-Falls Church, Va., 7-Mountain View, Calif., 8-Seattle, Wash., 9-Denver, Colo., and 10-Washington, D.C.

Sandia is a multiprogram Department of Energy laboratory operated by Lockheed Martin. With main facilities in Albuquerque and Livermore, Calif., Sandia has research and develop programs contributing to natural security, energy and environment technologies, and economic competitiveness.

Larry Perrine, lgperri@sandia.gov, (505) 845-8511
Manny Ontiveros, mpontiv@sandia.gov, (505) 844-8535
Rod Geer, wrgeer@sandia.gov, (505) 844-6601

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