Enterprises are launching “corporate portals,” gateway sites that act as an entryway to both a company’s Web presence and its intranet. In this column, Web consultant Kelly McKnight gives his opinion on a corporate portal, highlighting strengths and weaknesses that may translate to your company’s Web presence. The following index provides an objective look at the site’s features.
Kelly’s thoughts on the TiVo Web site
No matter how well a site works, no matter how much interactivity it contains, and no matter how user friendly it is, if a site has bad graphics, it’s a bad site.

The fact is, viewers don’t see programming. They use it, but they don’t see it. But as the saying goes, first impressions are lasting impressions, and the TiVo site left me with a very bad lasting impression.

At first glance, my eyes were pulled to the TiVo logo. In my opinion, the TiVo logo looks like a demented Mr. Tooth decay. Being bracketed by the AOL, Blockbuster, and Direct TV logos gave this refugee from PeeWee’s Playhouse some strength, but the damage was done.

The rest of the content on the home page did not tell me what TiVo was. I had to drill down three levels to finally find out what they did. (They are a personal TV service, allowing you to watch TV in a more customized fashion.) Having to go so deep just to find basic information is totally frustrating.

Yeah, I can hear the site designer selling the graphics to TiVo: “It’s a new product, so we want to appear friendly and non-threatening.“ Well, the site is both of those things. They just forgot that they had to sell something.

How about a diagram demonstrating how TiVo works? You know, something showing the TV-to-TiVo-to-receiver-to-cable line connections? Instead we get Mr. Tooth Decay.

The online remote was a nice interactive feature, but it was too little, too late.

The verdict
I could write more, but why would I? To borrow a phrase, a Web site is a terrible thing to waste. In my opinion, the TiVo site is exactly that—a waste—and I don’t feel like wasting any more of your or my time on it.

Kelly McKnight is a principal of Via Internet Studio , a consulting firm that specializes in corporate Web site design, Internet marketing, and e-commerce. You can reach Kelly by e-mail here.

Now it’s your turn to review TiVo ‘s Web site. Just click on Rate this Site! and you can help separate the good from the bad from the ugly. It only takes a minute or two to complete your rating, so don’t waste any more time—rate this site now! For Kelly’s rating, scroll below and click to page two.