Monday, October 6, 2014

Warby Parker: “About Us” Evaluation by Corporate

Warby Parker, a digital start-up headquartered in New York City, was formed in 2010 by four students at the Wharton School who wanted to sell affordable eyeglasses (under $100) and be socially conscious at the same time. The eyewear was initially offered online, with the option of trying five frames at home for five days free of charge. Recently the company opened stand-alone stores in New York and a handful of other cities. Some of the profits are invested in a project called “Buy a Pair, Give a Pair,” which has so far helped make a million pairs of eyeglasses available to poor people in 35 countries. The main About Us page is History.

The Warby Parker site is elegantly simple: easy to navigate and easy to skim, yet meaty enough to keep visitors reading.

Products/Services: A
The History page begins with a story: a problem and how the company’s founders solved it. Bravo! There’s no better way than great corporate storytelling to engage visitors. Then the focus shifts worldwide, to how many visually impaired people lack eyewear and what the economic consequences are. At the foot of the page – by which time visitors are hooked – they’re given the option for pages on the Buy a Pair, Give a Pair project, corporate Culture, or the design and manufacture of Warby Parker frames.

Buy a Pair, Give a Pair explains in simple but persuasive terms the company’s novel way of distributing glasses worldwide: they train locals to give eye exams and sell glasses to their communities. Warby Parker addresses head-on the fact that they don’t just give glasses away to anyone in need. “It’s a sticky fact of life that kind-hearted gestures can have unintended consequences. Donating is often a temporary solution …. It is rarely sustainable.”

How Your Frames Are Made is another well-designed page: succinct text, lots of photos, good organization.

Personality: A
The Warby Parker site has a sense of humor and a lightheartedness that make it a thoroughly enjoyable read. (Monocles: yes! Bagpipes: no!) The Culture page explains the origins of the company name and gives capsule bios of the founders, restricted to information that is directly related to the founding of Warby Parker... except maybe for the inclusion of each one’s favorite karaoke and happy place, which keeps the whimsical feel going. All in all, the Warby Parker site is a great example of our Commandment 3 of About Us pages: “Reveal thy personality.”

Accessibility: B
The Locations page shows retail stores in the United States, which can be narrowed to a list for each city (with street address and map), and then a page for each store (with hours), and a 360-degree view of the store’s interior. However, the company leadership  seems to be unreachable. Aside from contact information for brick-and-mortar stores, there’s only a Help link that gives email, phone, and LiveChat options, without mentioning any specific people.

Warby Parker’s site reminds us that even a mundane object like eyewear can be presented in a quirky, engaging, yet principled manner. Stick to the subject, but let your personality and your passion shine through. And remember that you don’t have to be old to have a stellar business history.

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.