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Web Product Searches

What manufacturers' web sites have the best product search tools? What do you like most and least about those search tools? How would you ideally like to search for products on amx.com (your current options are to use the Product Finder or the AMX Web Remote search field - both on the Dealer home page)? Your insight are most appreciated!

Thanks,
Suzanne

Comments

  • mediapilotincmediapilotinc Junior Member Posts: 82
    IMHO the best manufacturer site is Extron's (www.extron.com)
    Extremely easy to find anything you need fast by offering multiple methods of search (by model number, by function, by document type, etc.) and when showing a product's page they also show related products like rackmount kits, power supplies.
    Almost anything you need to support current and old products is available.
    They also provide great articles on the technologies they sell, together with troubleshooting guides.
  • DHawthorneDHawthorne Junior Member Posts: 4,584
    I can tell you what I don't like about the AMX product search :).

    It's too difficult to find items unless you already know specifics. Say, for example, you are looking for a specific AMX product, but you don't remember the model number, or even if it is still a current product. Where do you look? When going through the product tree, the target box lists model numbers with no descriptions - you have to click each likely candidate in turn and read the full description. A search may or not be helpful, because if it is discontinued, the search will come up empty. If there was a browseable listing with all the products and a summary description, you could at least scan the category and see what is there. The full official price list has this information in that kind of format, but that's not convenient if I'm at a customer's house looking for a solution to a job issue.

    This is a much bigger problem for Tech notes. There desperately needs to be an index of all the available notes; searching only finds things if the search term you use is worded exactly the same as it is in the notes. Often I'll find my issue was addressed in terms I never would have thought to express it in, but by the time I stumble across that, I've already been forced to develop another work-around that consumed my time unnecessarily. And what about just being able to pre-empt an issue because you read a tech note in advance of having had that particular problem?
  • Thomas HayesThomas Hayes Junior Member Posts: 1,164
    I have to agree BIG time with Dave, unless you know exactly what your looking for it's very difficult to locate. Check out www.elmocanada.com they have theirs setup in different cats. so all you have to do is click on the general product and it takes you there. From there they list the products in that class along with a picture and a link that gives all the info about that certain product.
  • ipssheldonipssheldon Registered User Posts: 106
    The best product searches are ones that bring up links to all possible information for a product on a single page. For instance, while a manual and data sheet are nice, a product page should also include links to a devices protocols, sample program (if one exists), sample TP screens, modules, etc.

    Extron comes to mind as one company that does this. An example of this on the AMX site would be the new Lutron H48 interface. If I remember correctly, you can search under lighting and get information and/or a manual through a typical product search. But you have to go to Inconcert to download the module. Everything should be in one place, with easy direct links to everything that pertains to the product.

    Thanks for asking.

    Sheldon Samuels
    IPS Resources LLC
  • Joe HebertJoe Hebert Junior Member Posts: 2,154
    This is a bit OT but it does relate to searching the AMX site.

    May ?I Agree? for the rest of my life that once I Log In I also agree to the AMX License Agreement that is presented at the front door of the InConcert center? Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye. :)
  • Danny CampbellDanny Campbell Senior Member Posts: 311
    I agree (hahaha) with Joe on his "I agree" post.

    Also, I think that Christie Digital has a pretty good site for finding anything about their products.

    Danny
  • Joe HebertJoe Hebert Junior Member Posts: 2,154
    I?m in the same camp as everyone else that I?ve read up to this point (including my evil twin) so I don?t have anything new to add other than another manufacturer web site to look at for an example.

    http://www.advantech.com lets you browse by category and then drill down to a specific product and from there you can jump to a download page for all the pertinent data and software related to the product.

    Bottom line for me is more emphasis on browsing vs. keyword or model # search. Aside from being able to browse Tech Notes as Dave noted, I?d also like to browse Netlinx modules (and soon Duet Jar files) and not be limited to just the 30 most recent. It would be great if we could page through them.

    It?s probably too late in the game but it would be helpful if the pdf file names were something more than just a number.

    Thanks for inviting our opinions.

    Joe
  • JoeJoe Junior Member Posts: 98
    I agree about Extron's website, very easy to find anything, either by part number in the search box, or by name on the shortcuts drop down. They even give you a "Discontinued Products" link if a particular model number isn't listed.
    As far as the Tech Notes on the AMX site, I inquired a few years back (before forums and the new website) if there could be a downloadable database, or at least a zip file with every tech note in it. It could be updated like the IR libraries (or not!) every 3 months or so. The workaround I have discovered is if you put 'TN' (no quotes) in the search box, it will give you all of the tech notes on the site (because every tech note starts with TN).

    Joe
  • HARMAN_Suzanne YoungbloodHARMAN_Suzanne Youngblood Administrator Posts: 68
    Additional Search Question - Product Finder

    Thank you all for your input thus far, and please keep it coming!

    It appears that you need two ways of searching - one if you know the model number you need, and one if you do not. If you do not remember the modeol number, the current Product Finder helps narrow down your product search by clicking through the category menu located in the left box. It sounds, however, as if this "category search" is not being used. Is it the categories, the interface, both, or something else?

    Thanks again for your help!
  • I really like the new sorting on the consultant pages, it seems to think more like I do, however it seems to cull the groups down to much.
  • mediapilotincmediapilotinc Junior Member Posts: 82
    Suzanne,

    I think multiple search options are required. I can think of the following:
    1) By model number (eg. NXC-COM2)
    2) By part number (eg. FG2022)
    3) By type of device (eg. Netlinx RS-232 card)
    4) By device function (eg. data communication)
    5) By generic tree structure (eg. Netlinx - Controllers - Control Cards - Data - NXC-COM2)

    At least as important is what is presented when the device is found: Each and every related mounting option, power supply, cutsheet, technical document, programming tool, module, code sample, firmware, related tech note, firmware history, etc. should be there.
  • JillJill Junior Member Posts: 44
    Joe Hebert wrote:
    This is a bit OT but it does relate to searching the AMX site.

    May ?I Agree? for the rest of my life that once I Log In I also agree to the AMX License Agreement that is presented at the front door of the InConcert center? Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye. :)

    Perhaps an 'I agree' should be agreed to when a person joins the AMX 'dealers, users' before they are given any access. (This would also lower any possible damage to ones eyes) :):)
  • AvophileAvophile Junior Member Posts: 70
    I would also like to have the accessories that are and are not included with a device listed right up front. I do not like having to open the data sheet to find what power supply is included. It seems like a great deal of energy in training is devoted to explaining how to calculate using shared power supplies, and the product bundling reflects this by making power supplies optional. I think the products should ship with a default power supply, with an option to upgrade to a larger one if necessary. It would also help with proposals, as right now I have to either list the power supply as a line item, include it in the price of the device, or pay for the power supply myself if I forget to include it somehow. I wonder what percentage of jobs actually use shared power supplies. It seems like there are better reasons for using dedicated power supplies for each device (redundancy, simplicity). I apologize for drifting off topic, but maybe someone can explain to me an advantage to sharing power supplies, besides the possible cost savings (which to be accurately calculated would have to include the time and effort required to calculate the power load and to run the appropriate cabling).

    Thanks
  • Joe HebertJoe Hebert Junior Member Posts: 2,154
    Some Clown wrote:
    This is a bit OT but it does relate to searching the AMX site.

    May ?I Agree? for the rest of my life that once I Log In I also agree to the AMX License Agreement that is presented at the front door of the InConcert center? Cross my heart, hope to die, stick a needle in my eye. :)
    The new web site doesn?t make me agree anymore.<rubbing hands together> AMX fell for the trap. They?ll never catch me now! <diabolical laughter>

    Joking aside and back on topic, I think the new product pages are WAY better than before. I particularly like the rotating 360 degree images for some of the products along with the filter and search options.

    It?s good to see some of the suggestions posted here were taken into consideration and implemented. Nicely played AMX.<wiping brown stuff off nose> :)
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