Monday, March 3, 2014

CSX Transportation: “About Us” Evaluation by Corporate

In 1980, the Chessie System and Seaboard Coast Line Industries merged to form CSX Transportation, a railroad network now headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida. CSX controls about 21,000 miles of rail, mostly east of the Mississippi River. Incidentally, they have one of the cleverest typography-based logos we have ever seen: check it out at the upper left of the screen capture below. The main About Us page (“About CSX”) is here.


Products/Services: B
The main About Us page offers an overview with a well-chosen set of four topics, each briefly explained and provided with a link to further information. The Company Overview page is also concise and well-focused, with the short paragraphs and headings that are so vital when dealing with the short attention span of readers on the web.

Our Commandment 6 of About Us pages is “Honor thy visuals.” CSX has some great photos of trains, but other types of images would be a useful supplement. For example, on the Company Overview page, why not bolster the statistics on railroad mileage, port access, etc., with map showing CSX routes (a consolidated version of the state-by-state maps such as the one on this page), plus graphs of products shipped and fuel consumption per ton for rail vs. road freight?

As noted in Our Evolution and History, CSX dates its beginnings to the founding of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad in 1827. The Interactive Timeline, covering nearly two centuries on ten separate pages, is disappointingly focused on consolidations and mergers, offering no overview of the company’s role in the national and local economy. A little more corporate storytelling, please: such a long, rich history should be used to enhance the company’s reputation for growth and reliability. 

The impressive list on the Awards and Recognition page would be more likely to be read if it were broken up with illustrations, such as the logos of the organizations that gave the awards. We could find no page for press and media mentions of CSX: an odd omission.

Personality: C
The CSX Leadership page offers brief bios of management and the board of directors. These don’t give a strong sense of who’s driving the train and where it’s heading. On the other hand, there are options for downloading a CSX screensaver, ringtone, or calendar. Offering this rather than better bios is an odd choice of priorities.

Accessibility: B
The Contact page starts with emergency contact information and spells out what is considered a railroad emergency: well done. Under TellCSX are a wide variety of options with online forms for each.

If you’re counting your company history in centuries, make your history work for you by using it to show (in text and visuals) what your company has accomplished and where it’s heading.

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?). To talk about your About Us page, contact us!
Today’s example was chosen at random; has no ties to this company.