Ford is one of those companies that displays an enduring resistance the ails that are all too typical of the modern manufacturing industry as a whole in the United States. After a period of stasis, they began to reinvent themselves in terms of technology and image. No less is true of their online presence. In the project to tell “The Ford Story” they turned to the content management system, WordPress.
The Ford Story site focuses on sharing compelling stories and information not only from within the company but from its large and passionate base of consumers. To do so, they harnessed the powerful features of WordPress and its extensions.
The home page of the site features a “mash up” of information and sections from deeper in the site, to provide an always fresh landing page of content. This sort of custom, dynamic presentation of information is one of WordPress’ big strengths over more static and inflexible web platforms.
Even though this could create an overload of information for visitors, The Ford Story site maintains an airy feel by incorporating strategic whitespace and not becoming over-obsessed with old-fashioned print concepts such as “the fold”.
In a strong recognition of the need to showcase user interaction (social networks, visitor comments & interaction, etc), this information is placed in a front and center role on the site. User comments are collected from articles deeper in the site and displayed on the home page to show activity that might otherwise be missed and to highlight community involvement. Additionally, social statistics and sharing opportunities for Facebook and Twitter accompany featured articles. The Ford Story even embraces the fastest-growing “new kid” on the sharing block with Google +1 functionality.
Large expanding menu sections and a tasteful fixed footer help further reduce potential clutter while keeping additional functionality and content just a mouse click away.
A real jaw-dropper is the wealth of still images and video clips the site packs. These are well organized into categories (a feature built into all WordPress installs), making it easy for users to find those topics and products that interest them most.
Above all the site breaks the corporate web site mold of dense, static content and avoids the trap of impenetrable and unintuitive architecture.
I'm the front-man of It's WordPress. I come from a diverse array of backgrounds, enjoying the opportunity to expand my knowledge base and skill set by re-inventing myself. I enjoy environments that focus on emerging information, technology and concepts. I put on the technical hat in my early 20s and never really looked back. I'm love technology and the internet, as well as the outdoors and avidly hike, kayak and camp every chance I get.
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