Foaming at the Mouth

You’re furious. Your heart pounds, the sweat breaks out on your forehead, and you’re gnashing your teeth. You may be in the grip of “Web rage,” according to researchers at GlobalSpec Inc., an online database of technical products and services. The company defines Web rage as the overwhelming feeling of frustration engineers get when their online search takes too long. The condition, it seems, often takes just 12 minutes to manifest itself, and sometimes as little as three. And when it does, the online merchant should be prepared for disaster. There goes a mouse click — and a possible sale!

But all isn’t lost, says GlobalSpec president John Schneiter. Manufacturers and retailers can build search tools that enable technical buyers to find what they need fast. Some of Schneiter’s tips: Classify products by specs; add parametric search capabilities; return only relevant results; and present database-driven content in HTML format as users request information. This last technique is particularly important, he says. If product and component information are stored in database tables, content can be updated without programming, information remains consistent, and human error is minimized. (And, we might add, Web rage thwarted.)