What You Need to Know About Optical Laboratory Web Sites

By Christie Walker
Each year, LabTalk sponsors the Optical Laboratory Web Site of the Year Award contest. Over 55 lab Web sites are reviewed in the first round of judging. This group is narrowed down to 20 sites and turned over to a panel of judges who select the top ten. As a testament to how difficult this has become, we had two ties for 5th and 6th places. As the sites improve, the difference between first place and tenth place is only a few points.

This year, Sutherlin Optical took home the top honor winning the 7th Annual Optical Laboratories Web Site of the Year Award. The three Sutherlin brothers, Steve, John and Mike, were on hand to claim the coveted trophy at VisionMonday’s Top 25 Lab event held on Friday evening, Nov. 10, during the OLA conference in Orlando.

Sutherlin Optical’s new design and features were just what they needed to put them in the top position after six straight years of making the Top Ten list. “We have always felt a great honor in that we have been recognized by the judges each and every year since the inception of the award. This year is really special though because, after months of hard work doing a complete makeover of the site, we finally reached the pinnacle. Kim Scheidler, our director of education, deserves all of the credit,” said Steve Sutherlin, president, Sutherlin Optical.

This year Sutherlin Optical worked on creating a better site, including changing how they could update the pages so new information could be added instantly. “I think we already had a good starting point with our existing site, but have always wanted to make it better. We didn’t want just a face lift, but truly a better site,” said Sutherlin.

In addition to the Web Site of the Year Award, eleven laboratories were honored, including two ties for 5th and 6th place, and all were presented with certificates at the event. Check out the top ten sites and the judges comments.

Top Ten Web Sites for 2006

Sutherlin Optical • www.sutherlinoptical.com

Excellent info for ECPs. Look and navigation of site is fine. A huge improvement over their site of a year ago. Soderburg, Inc. • www.soseyes.com Like the download center, which has price lists and other info. The retail price calculator feature is unique. Pull down menus at top are good, lots of categories. Really like education with online seminars and the download center featuring prices and forms. Is a bit slow to navigate.

Heard Optical • www.heardoptical.com

Very easy to navigate, nice look, simple. Tabs at top are good.

Katz & Klein • www.katzandklein.com

Put together nicely, clean and easy to get around. Good search mechanism, separates ECPs from consumers. (Tied for 5th)

Walman Optical • www.Walman.com

Great look and feel. Easy on the eye, easy to navigate. Easy links to on-line ordering. Great glossary of optical terms.

Homer Optical • www.Homeroptical.com

Good drop down menus at top, full of good info. Like the way they separate menus for ECPs and consumers.

(Tied for 6th)

Diversified Ophthalmics • www.Divopt.com

Nice looking site, not very exciting. Good order forms.

Advance Optical • www.Advanceoptical.com

Love the virtual lab tours. Also like the newsletter, which offers an incredible archive of back issues going back more than 20 years. Very clean-looking site, easy to read and find info. They actually have a blog!

Aspen Optical • www.Aspenoptical.com

Has some good attributes like ordering online or checking on the status of orders.

21st Century Optics • www.21stcenturyoptics.com

Videos on coating lab, Rx lab, and customer care are interesting and informative. Unique section about optical news and news about 21st Century. Like the links to eye care pubs.

Toledo Optical • www.toledooptical.com

Like the safety eyewear section and the Managed Care info for ECPs.

Laramyk K • www.Laramyk.com

The “tips and articles” section is great. A wealth of lens and dispensing info from a variety of expert sources. Also like the “ask the lab” section.

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Labtalk-November/December 2017