An Object can be almost anything. Commonly, it may be an illustration, but it might also be a piece of code, a program, a spreadsheet, a text document or maybe a website URL. It makes sense to organise these objects where they provide a common source to be shared and used in a variety of ways throughout the application. Once this basic concept is clear, the benefits of classification, organisation and management of information challenges many of the common practices adopted by web designers, whose focus is usually more on graphics than on the structure and organisation of information.
The management benefits
One of the greatest benefits of considering various items of information as objects is that each object needs to be created only once. In the case of text, this eliminates most of the potential for re-keying errors that would occur if the object had to be reconstructed in different places. It also greatly reduces the time to create, maintain or replace it, as and when required. Once the master object has been updated, it is the new version that becomes available immediately to any part of the overall structure to which it is linked. The same is fundamentally true of other objects like pictures, specification tables and so on, where a single version can serve different pages or views, for example where a thumbnail and “hero” version happily coexist to make identification and updating easy.
Another significant benefit is the ease of controlling and making available “authorised” versions of information that can be downloaded by the user from a website (or maybe an Intranet in the case of restricted material). A brand that has been skilfully created over a number of years has too much to lose by allowing rogue versions of its brand identity. Businesses with staff located in different states, or perhaps resellers/agent will be well accustomed to finding numerous unauthorised versions of practically every item of information either because the local staff thought they knew their market best, or merely wished to practice their design skills. One International marketer found nearly 100 different versions of the corporate logo alone. Adding insult to injury was the proliferation of “home-grown” sales flyers, display-headers, terms of trade and other material created by well-intentioned but fundamentally misguided persons.
Yet another benefit is the ability to use the common objects as construction elements for flyers, sales bulletins, advertisements and so on, without having to start fresh. In fact, PDF versions of these items on an appropriate “resources” page goes even further towards making the company website an integrated marketing and sales tool.