Palm, the company that more or less started the mainstream PDA movement, has an interesting little feature on their Investor Relations page called the “Shareholder Briefcase.” It is nothing too complicated really, but a nice touch in the realm of user interaction.
The Shareholder Briefcase is a way for an investor or potential investor using the Palm IR site to collect several documents or files as they explore the information available and determine what they want to take with them to research further. In many ways, it operates very similarly to the shopping cart feature on most e-commerce sites.
Of course, such a feature requires a user to register. Actually, it doesn’t, it could easily be handled by cookies, but that wouldn’t work across multiple browsers or computers, and why pass up the chance to get an obviously interested person’s contact information?
Once registered, the user can navigate the IR portion of the site at their leisure. When they find something that interests them, they just click the “Add to briefcase” icon. This keeps the user from having to click and open every PDF file, DOC file, or PowerPoint file they are interested in while they are on the site. Instead, the user keeps a running list of what they have found of interest and then when they are ready, they can either download all the files, or even email all the files to themselves.
Either way, the users of the Palm investor relations web site have a great way to collect all that information and then go through it at their leisure instead of maybe skipping important information due to time constraints, or worse, forgetting a useful document that they wanted to review, but did not open initially.
Can something like this work for any Investor Relations page? Yes. The software to handle something like this already exists in many formats. It may actually be possible to use your company’s existing shopping cart software with just a few modifications to handle functionality similar to this.
You can never go wrong giving the user another way to get what they need.
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