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McAfee.com

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Company: McAfee Inc., Santa Clara, Calif. Target audience:  CIOs and IT professionals; security professionals, consumers  Key Web executive:  Steven Shapiro, director of Web product management  No. of employees who work on the site: Undisclosed  Last major redesign: 2003  No. of pages on site: 5,500  Web developer: In-house


McAfee.com isn't like most other corporate sites. On any given day there's a good chance that a significant chunk of the company's customers will be checking in. The site acts as a repository and conduit for the many security patches and information alerts that pop up on what seems like an hourly basis. "If there's a big threat or vulnerability [announced], we can get inundated with people coming to the site to understand: Is this a big threat? Am I protected? Our backend has to scale," said Steven Shapiro, McAfee's director of Web product management.

This is one reason that McAfee.com has support information a layer down, sharing home page space with product information. And when there's an active threat, this information takes center stage, Shapiro said. "If there's a threat, information is displayed big and red. We give clear links for downloads and quick access to our virus library. We've tried to focus on our customers' key pain points."

This is a theme, according to Shapiro. McAfee developers, working from customer and prospect feedback, have removed anything deemed superfluous. And content writers have honed in on presenting this material, which can be confusing and dense, in a way that's easy to understand. The best part: It's all free-a perk that helps build loyalty and create sales and leads.

Going forward, users can expect another update that will boost the visibility of contact information, Shapiro said.

"You've always got a challenge: to present a depth of information while making it easy to understand. These two things are not always going to be in line with each other," he said. "We're always evolving to bring a feature set in line with these goals."


 Expert 2¢

Jakob Nielsen: I particularly like that there’s an updated list of security threats on the very first page a business user sees [after the home page]. … It’s useful to people who are looking for information about current threats. Second, it builds trust in the site  … And third, it builds a sense of urgency in acquiring the products that can protect you from these threats—something a static brochure can never do. Bravo for taking advantage of the Web’s nature as a real-time medium. Kate Everett-Thorp: McAfee does a wonderful job communicating the obvious: You need a trusted, intelligent company to handle your security. … McAfee‘s site is easy to use, globally efficient … Well done.

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