Monday, December 10, 2012

“About Us” Evaluation: Cartier Gets a D minus

Cartier S.A., French jeweler and watch manufacturer, was founded in Paris in 1847 and is still headquartered there, although the Cartier family sold the business in 1964. The company is famous for providing its fantastically beautiful and expensive products to royalty and celebrities. Its corporate history probably glitters as well. But Cartier’s About Us page is .... well, that’s a problem.

The Cartier site is elegant and attractive, but exceedingly difficult to navigate because of the unusual layout (main menu at the foot of the page) and the unconventional headings. Looking for their About Us page, we had to choose between Show Me, Guide Me, Tell Me. We chose Tell Me, then Living Heritage. Oh, but that’s just a picture of a gorgeous emerald necklace. Click the Patrimony link? That takes us to a page where we must choose between Cartier Collection, A Vision of Heritage, or Bibliography. Hmm, Vision of Heritage? Another page with another list, telling us about the company archives and the company’s collection of Cartier jewelry ... but not about this company’s business history or current executive team.

Products/Services: D
These pages have some gorgeous photos of Cartier jewelry, but the photos and text are cramped into small boxes in the center. About half the screen is dead black. There is no option to see more text at a time. When we were done with the few words on page 1, we twiddled our fingers a couple seconds more while a new page loaded, so we could read the few words on page 2.

Accessibility: E
Suppose we want to order a set of custom cufflinks for a nephew’s birthday via email. It’s not easy: no email is listed on any of the pages we’ve visited so far. Clicking Sitemap (in tiny print at the foot of the page) takes us to a page with Customer Services, and thence to a Contact page: but why make it so difficult for us?

Personality: E
We couldn’t find any information on these pages about who runs Cartier. If company executives prefer to keep that information private, then the logical option is to stress the 165-year company history through a lusciously illustrated timeline ... but we don’t see that, either. So many corporate storytelling opportunities squandered!

Mesdames et Messieurs: We know you’re not selling bling on street corners, but you could be a little less understated and a little more content-rich, and still be classy.

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.