This week’s volunteers for the Site Review Monday post is Clay and Terri Nichols, founders of Bungalow Software.

Bungalow Software has some 22 products designed to help people who have suffered a stroke, brain injury or from aphasia help regain their ability to speak and communicate. Bungalow has been a successful micro-ISV since 1995.

Generally, Bungalow Software gets it right, but I see a few minor and two major omissions that I’ll cover below which, in my opinion, would help more people find these very important products.

The USP:
(The Unique Selling Proposition a.k.a “the elevator pitch” should be the first thing the visitor sees, communicates the value of the product and must immediately be relevant to the visitor.)

Bungalow gets this right:

The first thing your eye is caught by is this USP. It’s concise, differentiates itself from other approaches that are either for the patient or a speech therapist, and that’s good.

The first of my minor quibbles is that the text for the menubar, and the USP, should be bigger.

Benefits and Features:

Instead of dumping feature bullets and product names on Bungalow’s home page for some or all of their 20-odd products, Clay wisely focuses on the credibility issues after a briefly reinforcing the USP.

Credibility Markers:

If you are selling health-affecting software, credibility is your number one issue. Does it work? There’s simply no such thing as overdoing how you establish the answer to this all-important question. Bungalow does a good job on this, but could – and should – go much further.

Right now, one testimonial is sidebarred on the right, and there are two links to the Success Stories page. I don’t think this goes far enough. I’d recommend right off the top:

  • A big button under the existing testimonial “More Success Stories” that should be the second most important thing on the page.
  • Reduce in size the Contact information which takes up 2/5s of the page and use that room for other success stories.
  • Change the text color of the testimonial to a more legible black and a larger size.

There are two other things I think would further dispel the natural doubts that arise for patients and caregivers looking for help. They will take more time and effort, but will, in my opinion, be well worth it.

  • Video. Show me someone using the software, with cuts between the screen and them. I am by no means a producer – people like Tom Clifford are the pros in this. But a five minute video – essentially a before and after – would electrify your market, could be leveraged in many ways (yes, I mean YouTube, seminars and conferences), and be worth the investment.
  • A Blog. Clay and Terri know a lot about speech therapy – Blogging about what’s new in this area (there were according to Google 1,232 news stories and 178 blog postings in the past day about speech therapy), and applying their expertise to talk about what’s important would be a real service and a real brand builder. A blog could be done in the “traditional” way of a separate WordPress or TypePad blog with a link in the menubar, but in this case, for this audience, I’d recommend thinking about building your blog into your home page, not as a separate page. What’s more, with the growing rise of RSS, a product like FeedForAll would let you serve an RSS feed directly from your home page.

While RSS may be “too sophisticated” for the patient part of Bungalow’s market, it decidedly is not for the speech therapist market who – with a few screen shots of IE or Outlook – could partake of a valuable information source on an ongoing basis provided by Bungalow.

Visuals:

Frankly, I think the visuals are not doing justice to the programs. First, unless you happen to click on the screen shot in a given product’s page, you’d never know there are more screen shots available:

This kind of software – multimedia – cries out for interaction – screen videos are the way to go. Admittedly, with 20 products, converting to screen videos is a lot of work.

Either get and get proficient with a proven screen video product like TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio, or you might want to outsource this to another company like VTDemos.com (note: I’ve used TechSmith’s SnagIt for years and bought Camtasia a few months back for my, an yet unfulfilled, screen demos. Also, I while VTDemos.com has a good demo, I have no direct experience with them.)

In either case, a visit to Tom Clifford‘s blog is in order, as well as other blogs on the subject. Video has its own language and syntax.

The Bottom Line:

Bungalow software does a creditable job addressing its market with its site. But today, video – both of products and of people – make practical a whole higher level of interaction with that market – one their competitors from what I see don’t yet get.

On a second note, with a good blog about a problem domain Clay and Terri have obvious expertise with, I would predict that within six months Bungalow Software would rise in visibility in Google’s results not just for “Speech therapy software” (they’re already second or third), but for the much broader search term, “Speech therapy” where they lag 3 pages back.

One final thought. It seems to me this product line is ripe for internationalization. While there are Spanish editions of some of the products, why not take Bungalow’s proven success to the global market with dedicated pages in Spanish, French, German and Japanese?

2 Comments

  1. Thanks Bob.
    Great review. Lots of good ideas.
    Right now, development is a higher priority than marketing so most of these will have to wait.
    But… there was some good “low hanging fruit” in those suggestions, which I’ll try to implement soon.

  2. You are so right about video demo’s. I link to a youtube demo (or several) would help so much. I am currently researching a viable help for an 80 year old friend who is a stroke victim. I have been to the Bungalow website, and so far as I can see their software is just what the doctor ordered, but, the investment is considerable. (computer, software 2 or 3 modules?) It is very difficult to commit to that much money for someone on such a limited income without demonstrated results. I hope the Nicols will re-consider at least the Youtube suggestion. Thanks

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