Monday, December 15, 2014

Tiffany & Company: “About Us” Evaluation by Corporate

Breakfast at Tiffany’s made the grand store at Fifth Avenue and 57th Street in Manhattan a household word, even among those who don’t aspire to one of the company’s diamond engagement rings. The original “fancy goods” store was established in 1837 by Charles Lewis Tiffany, who soon turned the emphasis to jewelry, then made the name famous by purchasing the French crown jewels and giving reign to the astounding design talent of his son, Louis Comfort Tiffany. Tiffany’s is now a publicly owned company headquartered in New York City. The main About Us page is The World of Tiffany.


Products/Services: B
Tiffany gets high marks for visuals, but middling marks for ease of use. The images on  The World of Tiffany page sprawl over a lot of screen real estate. For the sake of luring visitors to view other pages (Pioneers of Design, Dazzling Discoveries, Magical Windows, etc.), it’s more effective to have a collection of smaller photos that allow a one-screen overview.

The left navigation bar on the main page has numerous choices without an obvious sequence. It’s difficult to find one’s way back to memorable pages – for example, the one showing the gorgeous diamond necklace worn by Audrey Hepburn when promoting Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Sometimes further information on a piece pops up with a mouse-over; sometimes (as on this page) not. Our Commandment 7 of About Us pages is, “Remember to keep the navigation easy.” The photos are the jewels of the Tiffany pages; their setting needs some polishing.

In other respects, the Tiffany’s site is a good example of corporate history as marketing. The video on founder Charles Lewis Tiffany (great archival photos!) segues at the end into a promotion of Tiffany engagement rings. The Timeline has great visuals, too, although it’s short on text.

Personality: A
The “personalities” on this site are the company’s founder and the its famous designers, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Jean Schlumberger, Elsa Peretti, and Paloma Picasso. Each designer has at least one heavily illustrated page, with an emphasis on innovative style and spectacular pieces. Well done!

Accessibility: D
There seems to be no way to contact the Tiffany’s except through its retail stores and customer service.

Even if your visuals are amazing, don’t neglect the other basics, such as enticing text and well-thought-out navigation. And if your business history overlaps cultural history, as Tiffany’s definitely does, leverage that. Include some corporate storytelling on every page.

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.