Website Review –

“Here you can run the company’s mortgage calculator and see a list of mortgage banking associations or state agencies. ”

Although this month’s subject is not a lender website, there are a couple of reasons that we selected it. It has some interesting aspects, and it provides information on a variety of industry-related products and services. The web address is, and the company behind the site is, Inc. The purpose of the site is to offer mortgage industry-related entities a high volume place to advertise and provide links to its websites. This is a commercial venture. Yet like a magazine, the total package provides valuable information to the customer in addition to the advertising.

Your first exposure to the site is like stepping into the midway at a carnival. My reaction was, “What do I try first? There is so much here to look at!” Remember that, Inc. is not trying to highlight its company image or necessarily trying to get our direct business. Instead, they are showing us products and services of hundreds of other companies. In the company’s own words, it is “The Mortgage Industry Portal.”

The header of the site holds a stylish option bar with links to the Online Expo, B2B Markets, the B2B Store, and Industry Links. It also includes an AltaVista search engine. The layout yields maximum space for links with the homepage flanked on each side by a column of hypertext options mixed with junior banner ads. A banner ad is a component in a website that represents a link to another website. The link can have the company name, an enticing offer or, as in one example, nothing more than the message “Click On Me.”

The top center of the site offers useful items such as news and money market centers mixed with more business-to-business products and services. The center of the screen is reserved as a display area. Here you can run the company’s mortgage calculator and see a list of mortgage banking associations or state agencies. Other features are Upcoming Events, the Company of the Week, the Player of the Week, editorials, and Mortgage Industry Training.

The site has a chameleon quality because while the basic layout is consistent, the look is constantly changing. For example, the banner ads shift to different places. The design of the site does a good job of mixing proprietary elements with commercial links while giving us the feeling that we are operating in a consistent environment. Most of the direct links to other sites are displayed as a site within a site, employing a trimmed down option bar. Adding a “Home” option at this point, which returns the user to the default screen from one of their links to client websites, retains site integrity. The business-to-business designers wisely avoided animation or other “look at me first” elements because much of the screen space is dedicated to ads. Naturally, each ad is fighting for our attention—with its own theme colors and animation.

Rating this site is difficult because of its complex nature. While most websites are designed with a single theme and one or two objectives, this one tries to do many things at once and keep them all balanced. Because the design does do this well, I would rate it as a good site, one you should definitely check out.

by Thor Skonnard