Progress and experience is a good thing. It helps us learn about ourselves and how other perceive us. In the world of competing for business in numismatics, progress and experience helps those who sell coins and offer services improve how they communicate to us, their customers and constituents. Today, we are going to look at the websites that those of us who live part of our lives online visit for our numismatic fix.
Earlier this year, the Royal Canadian Mint updated their website. Prior to their current update, their site was written using Adobe Flash in a way that felt limiting to someone who visited the site to browse. The updated site has a more exciting look, fresher colors, and is better for those of us who like to browse. And speaking of browsers, this version does not use Flash in the same way as the old site. Your experience will be faster and more responsive than the previous RCM design. It is clear that experience has allowed the RCM to progress to a new design.
Not long ago, The Royal Mint updated their website. Although The Royal Mint did not need an update, they chose to change the basic theme and go with a simple design with a black background. It give the site a regal look, which is in tune with The Royal Mint’s vision of itself as one of the world’s oldest mint. However, navigation of this site is a bit quirky. There appears to be extra clicks required to find products and while the look is nice, every page has an image on top that distracts from the presentation by pushing to coins down. This image may only be a minor annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless.
Here in the United States, there have been changes in the website for the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. The bureau with one of the best domain names (www.moneyfactory.gov) appears to have hired website designers that have graduated from Web Design 101. The site is is clean and professional looking with easier navigation making it easier to find information about the BEP. From the front page, the site is about the bureau and its functions. Sure, the last major even of the BEP is the redesign of the $5 Federal Reserve Note in 2007, but it allows the BEP to highlight its limited accomplishments.
With the new design, the BEP has created a new store front with its own domain name: www.moneyfactorystore.gov. The new store is easier to navigate and find products. The categories have been cleaned up, the unavailable products have been removed, and the premium series can be purchased by series or individual Federal Reserve banks. Buying individual premium products by Federal Reserve Bank was not possible with the old website.
Moving away from the government, the Professional Coin Grading Service has redesigned its website again. This time, rather than rely on the black and gold theme of their logo, PCGS is using a lighter blue theme to highlight their service. While this design is better than their previous designs, it is not without issue. For example, there is something about the front page layout that bothers me. The banner is too large, there is too much space between the banner and the page contents, and menus at below the main content are too low. If the PCGS web designers can lower the height of the banner, close up that extra space, the lower menus will move up on the page and not feel as if they are an after thought. Making these fixes could change the A- design into a solid Grade A design.
Of course the one website that is in dire need of updating continues to have the same design since 2000. The US Mint should update their web presence, especially their online catalog.