Monday, March 19, 2012

“About Us” Evaluation: Corning Gets a C plus

Corning Incorporated, headquartered in Corning, N.Y., was founded in 1851 by Amory Houghton as Corning Glass Works. Back in 1906, it was one of the first American companies to establish an industrial research and development lab. Innovations include Pyrex cookware, fiber optic cables, and Gorilla Glass for smartphones and other touchscreen devices. Corning’s main About Us page is here.


Products/Services: B

Corning’s main About Us page is rather bland: the photos are attractive but indecipherable, and the text doesn’t mention any of the products that made the company famous.

Corning’s Innovation Timeline (under About Us / Inside Corning) is a great overview of the company’s innovations, with excellent illustrations. The Century of R&D page (under the R&D heading) also makes inspiring reading. But we’d like to see them featured more prominently and perhaps combined. We’d also like the option to view the whole timeline, rather than clicking one year after another.

Personality: C

The company’s leadership page is buried under Investors / Corporate Governance / Our Leadership, with another click required before we see a bio.

Prominent researchers are buried under R&D / Our Culture of Innovation / Our R&D Community, with another click to reach a bio.

The Awards and Recognition page lists 6 subheads; clicking any one of those takes you to another page with more subheads; clicking one of those finally shows actual awards.

We are big fans of hierarchical organization. We swoon over well-written outlines and intelligently bulleted lists. But we also recognize the necessity of a hook to lure people in. The simple fix for Corning’s website is to feature links to all these important pages on the main About Us page – with well-written teasers.

Accessibility: C

The link to the Contact Us page is handily placed on the menu for the About Us pages, and offers a mailing address, a phone, and an online form. We’d like to have some idea where the email was going: there are no choices of department or division, only a Subject line. And as always, we’d like the option of having a copy of our email sent to us.


"Never forget that if you don't hit a newspaper reader between the eyes with your first sentence, there is no need of writing a second one, "Arthur Brisbane, editor of Hearst’s New York Journal, admonished his reporters. Corning’s site has some great material, but we’re given little incentive to drill down three or four layers to find it.

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.