Monday, December 20, 2010

“About Us”: Pumpkin, Inc.

For ten years Pumpkin, Inc., based in San Francisco, has been producing the CubeSat, a kit for building a two-pound “nanosatellite" ready to launch into Earth orbit. The company was profiled in a 2-page article in Forbes in November 2010. Their “About Us” page is here.


The first problem with this “About Us” page is that it’s quite difficult to find. It doesn’t appear on the top or left menus, only at the foot of the page, as “Company.”

Products/Services: D

This About Us page desperately needs--right at the beginning--a brief description in layman’s terms of the CubeSat, with a link for easy access to technical details.

In cutting-edge technology, company history provides some assurance of reliability. Hence this page should mention, for example, how long the company has been in business and how many CubeSats have been launched or are booked to launch. Testimonials about the product and a mention of some clients would also help. Since the Forbes article mentions several Cubesat customers, that information is no longer confidential.

Given the nature of the product, we’d also like to see more photos. Why not emphasize the scale and the do-it-yourself nature of the kit with photos of the kit and the finished product, and perhaps a household object such as a soda can to give a sense of scale?

Personality: D

Pumpkin’s “About Us” page is high on techno-speak, low on information “About Us.” We’d like to see some of the background from the Forbes article, particularly the education and career of the founder, Andrew Kalman, and his connection with Professor Robert Twiggs of Stanford, an innovator in nanosatellites. This information does appear elsewhere on the site--but given that visitors to websites have limited time and attention spans, we suggest a summary on this page, with a link to other pages on the site for those who want more information.

Accessibility: B

The “Contact Us” link at the foot of the page is helpful, but even better would be a final paragraph telling potential customers the next step: “To begin your CubeSat mission, email us (link), call xxxx, or fax xxxx.” Since the company has been covered in a national publication that may rouse further media interest, we’d add, “For media inquiries call xxxx.”


Most of the information that’s lacking on this page is presented elsewhere on the CubeSat site. But “About Us” is the page where a company can give potential customers the Big Picture: tell us what inspired the product, who developed it, how customers use it, what they say about it. On the “About Us” page, it’s not only acceptable to repeat fascinating information buried elsewhere on the site--it’s highly advisable.

Does your Web site’s “About Us” section accurately convey your organization’s history and capabilities? Every two weeks we evaluate one example, grading it in three areas that are key to potential customers: Personality (Who are you?), Products/Services (What can you do for us?), and Accessibility (How can we reach you?). Contact us if you’d like to have your site evaluated—there’s no charge and no obligation. Today’s example was chosen at random; has no ties to this company.