Monday, February 2, 2015

Nikon Corporation: “About Us” Evaluation by Corporate

Nikon was founded in 1917 as Japan Optical Industries. It still specializes in optics and imaging products, notably the cameras and lenses for which the company is now named. Headquartered in Tokyo, it is one of the companies of the Mitsubishi Group. The company’s main About Us page is here.


Products/Services: C
Our Commandment 7 of About Us Pages is, “Keep navigation easy.” We've read many fascinating pages on Nikon’s site, but we’re not at all sure we could find them again, or that we haven't missed important material. The problem begins with the main About Us page, where the above-the-fold space is taken up with the teasers for Corporate Information, Responsibility, and Investor Relations. It’s easy to miss the below-the-fold links to Technology and Feel Nikon, pages where the company’s products and innovations have a chance to shine. Smaller images with more explanatory subheads would work better here.

The navigation problem continues with hierarchy of menus and naming of pages. Who would guess from its title that the Life with Nikon page (under Technology) is an overview of Nikon’s cutting-edge technology? Recollections is a great page, in terms of company history and showing the innovations that Nikon has created over the last 98 years. But from the main About Us page, it’s difficult to find.  (It’s under Feel Nikon.)

Likewise, the company timeline, with its well-chosen illustrations for nearly every item, provides a great overview of products ... but it’s buried under About / Corporate Information / History / Corporate History, without any indication in its title that it is, in fact, an illustrated business history timeline. Once found, it offers a thoughtful touch: the option of seeing all or no images, and corporate events or products or both.

Personality: C
Under Corporate Information, the first teaser is for the Message from the President, which covers (in brisk but informative terms) the company’s goals for its imaging products, microscope solutions, medical, and other divisions. Well done, even if the corporate storytelling aspect is a bit dry. Sadly, the bios accessible through the Board of Directors page are the driest we have ever seen, consisting of a bulleted timeline of years and job titles for each person.

Nikon’s Philosophy page, where one might expect a glimpse of the company’s guiding principles, has vague terminology and graphics that don’t elucidate. What company would not subscribe to commitments to “Be pro-active,” “Seek new knowledge,” “Communicate well,” and “Display integrity”? Our Commandment 2 of About Us Pages is, “Thou shalt not generalize.” Statements as vague as Nikon’s won’t hold the attention of fickle web surfers.

Accessibility: D
The Contacts page (accessible from the footer on every page) funnels visitors to either consumer or industrial products, and then to specific products, each with its own contact information. Although there is a lengthy warning about the risk of transmitting ideas to Nikon (“Nikon Corporation has no obligation for monitoring any ideas, concepts, suggestions or comments you transmit to this Site by electronic mail or otherwise”), there seems to be no way to email the corporate headquarters or any part of the company.

Make sure that your content is great, and then make sure visitors won’t get exasperated and leave before they find it. This is especially important for a company like Nikon, as it presumably prepares to celebrate a centennial business anniversary in just two years. Polish that centennial brand name until it shines!

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.