Monday, February 28, 2011

“About Us”: EMC Corp. Gets an A

EMC helps companies design, build, and manage information infrastructures: in other words, they provide hardware and software that help an organization keep its vital information safe and accessible. The company employs about 40,000 people and has 400 offices in over 50 countries. EMC’s main About Us page is here.


Accessibility: A

The address of the company's headquarters appears on the main About Us page, along with a link to an elegantly simple page that gives contact information for EMC’s locations worldwide. The Contact Us link at the upper right on every page takes visitors to this same page.

Products/Services: A

We have seen About Us pages for major corporations that overwhelmed us with information. We like EMC’s because the main page gives us a broad overview, and once we dive into the sub-pages, we always have a side menu to tell us where we are in the hierarchy.

The Corporate Profile page is well organized, with a summary of the company’s services followed by sections about customers, leadership, and global reach. The use of subtitles to set off these sections is a simple technique that far too many website writers fail to use.

One minor suggestion for improvement: the Corporate Profile page offers a Pocket Guide to EMC in PDF form--a well-designed overview. It should be featured prominently on the main About Us page, under “About Us Highlights.”

We also like the Milestones page, which lists major steps forward by the company not annually but monthly, back to 2000. In a high-tech company, this conveys both longevity and progress: qualities that harassed executives seeking to preserve corporate information ought to appreciate. However, we wonder why the Milestones page goes back only to 2000. Also, we were frustrated by all the digging required to find the company’s founding date (1979).

Properly presented, history is a powerful selling tool. We are perplexed that the Milestones page isn’t listed under the “About Us Highlights” on the main About Us page: it only appears on the menus of the sub-pages.

Personality: A

Despite its size, EMC does not come across as a faceless mega-corporation. That’s largely due to the prominent presence on the site of Joe Tucci, chairman, president, and CEO. A quote from him appears on the main About Us page. The nicely designed annual letters to shareholders (accessible under “About Us Highlights”) are narratives that explain, from Tucci’s point of view, where the company has been and where it is heading. Like the Milestones page, the annual letters stretching back to 1997 portray EMC as stable yet progressive.

The Awards and Recognition page (also under “About Us Highlights”) is another great way to put a face on a giant corporation. At a glance, it tells us what others think EMC does superlatively well. EMC’s awards page is particularly well designed. Each award has the logo of the organization that presented it, a one-line description of the award, and a link to the media story about the award. Thus the awards page is visually interesting enough to hold our attention, and also sends us to positive media mentions of EMC.

A similar technique is used on the Executive Team page. Each executive has a picture and a title, and his or her name is a link that leads to a bio. We particularly like Joe Tucci’s bio. Rather than being a list of his present and previous positions, it incorporates EMC’s goals and Tucci’s role in guiding the company toward them.


For visitors in a hurry, EMC’s main About Us page is efficiently laid out to give an overview of the company. The Milestones, Awards, and Executive Team pages all help give a personality to the corporation, while still keeping the visitor focused on EMC’s products and services.

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.