Monday, May 14, 2012

“About Us” Evaluation: Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. Gets a D

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA) is in charge of artistic programming at Lincoln Center, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Every year it arranges some 5,000 programs, initiatives, and events, among them the Mostly Mozart Festival and Live from Lincoln Center. LCPA also plays major roles in arts and education nationwide and manages the Lincoln Center campus that is home to ten resident organizations, including the Metropolitan Opera, the New York Philharmonic, and the Juilliard School. LCPA’s About Us page is here.
It is always a bad sign when the Wikipedia article on an organization is more informative than its own About Us pages. That’s the case with Lincoln Center, on whose website high-tech bells and whistles overpower content. The background of each LCPA page is a full-screen photo of Lincoln Center, over which the text is superimposed in tiny white letters against a semi-transparent black background. It’s difficult to read on screen. When printed out, the text appears in pale gray on a white ground, surrounded by part of the photo: a lot of ink, but not applied to what we need to read. Menus heads and subheads duly appear if we hover over them, but sometimes they overlap, obscuring the choices that are offered.
Products/Services: D
The perfect place to display Lincoln Center’s vast artistic scope would be on the History page. Instead, the history is a series of six separate timelines with over a dozen items each. Every head of the organization is listed, every major building renovation or initiative, every major festival … without a single illustration. There’s no emphasis, no way to know if any of the content is more important than the rest.
To top it off, the History page isn’t available as one of the About Us subheads. It’s only accessible from the footer of the main LCPA page, under General Information.
Personality: E
The Board of Directors and Senior Team are merely lists of names and titles, with no photos, contact information, or links – no sense of where these leaders want Lincoln Center to be heading. Surely LCPA could have found at least one inspiring quote from Reynold Levy, who has been its president for ten years.
Accessibility: D
The Contact Us link at the foot of the About Us page is a drop-down menu, with a link for an online form or a phone number. Oddly, there is no mailing address for the administrative offices of LCPA, and no option for queries from potential donors, media, or researchers.
LCPA’s website fails to convey – either through content or visuals - the excitement of an organization that presents some of the world’s finest art performances. Content is held hostage to chic design that might work in a print publication but is all wrong for the Web.
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.