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We're doing a site redesign. The goal is to increase sales and leads.
Business to Business Service.
Though there are some ideas on the design, one in particular, from a non competitive business to business website is very attractive. The reason is - it's made by leader within its industry and has undergone dramatic changes in its marketing. It generates leads at a huge rate(have some disclosed data). Its designed toward EXACTLY same market. Again, we are in totally different, non competing industries, but hunt for the same accounts. (Medium - Large businesses)
Just an example:
- A site offering credit services to medium/large businesses.
- A site offering communication solutions to medium/large businesses.
We do not want to rip the design. But the information structure. Think of it this way - if you take away CSS you're left with links. You can then create new CSS and have a different design/visual outlook.
We want to borrow the link structure. By borrowing the link structure, we would name links differently. Offer our own services, but the overall structure and some ideas behind the sections stay the same.
Page A leads to pages B, X and G. Each one designed with specific messages. Then B page leading to F, K, V, Z pages and so on. We want to partially keep that structure. With 110% new content and link names, visual.
A building. Buildings are planned long in advance, but for this example imagine they're not :)))))
Think of a building under construction. The fundament, the steel beams and steel structure is completed. At this point, builders can put any face on the structure they want. Make exterior green, make interior yellow and put leather chairs. It's up to them to choose what they want to do with the steel structure, but in order to do a complete building, they NEED that steel structure.
Their next step in a building project is to 1) Put In Concrete. 2) Do the exterior design 3) Do interior. At this point, since the steel structure is in place its up to the designers to take the final steps.
In a sense of a site, Steel Beams are the link structure. The concrete is the copywriting. The Exterior is the design of the site. An interior is the message / offer on each page.
We want to rip the Steal beams, but pour in our own concrete, exterior and interior
Everything wrapped in a new outlook, design, visuals, offers etc. The only thing kept is the link structure and general navigation layout(positions of the navigations)
Hope I communicated it clear enough.
The question is?
How legal is it? Do they have the rights to take legal action? Again the only thing is the structure.
Like Google Bot seeing pages. No CSS. Just plain text and links. Only we have different text, link names, design and different product offer.
Would appreciate your answer.
There are whole books written just on the subject of designing information architecture and site navigation, with some excerpts even available with Google Books. What they teach isn't copyrightable, they often use famous name brand sites to illustrate.