Corporate Eye

Bringing the Mall Experience to your Corporate Site

How can it possibly be half-term again already? I’ve brought four young teens to the Trafford Centre. I’m in Carluccio’s with coffee, while they shop.

Relevant? I think so. Ask yourself: does your corporate site match up to the mall experience?

A mall is:

  • a destination in itself (for teenage girls, anyway). Is this true of your corporate site, or is it more of an express shop for distress ‘purchases’ (dash in, dash out)?
  • signposted from major routes in all directions. The corporate site should be signposted from your social media outposts—and ideally from other places too.
  • welcoming. You need a great home page, and routes in to key areas of the site should be clear and inviting. While it is true that not everyone will arrive at your home page first, this is more likely for corporate sites than for others, so the home page retains its importance.
  • clean. While you don’t need to have a minimalist design, there shouldn’t be any litter lying about, and the site should be fully functional with no broken links
  • helpful. There are certain core functions that are needed across the site. These should be clearly signposted, with help available if needed: both general help and specific personal help.
  • secure and reassuring. It should be clear that the space is patrolled and cared for; visitors making a nuisance of themselves should be removed
  • accessible. The site should be accessible to all: easy to find and easy to use.
  • navigable. A mall has maps, and the ability to find outlets based on interest (shoes, food, gaming) together with ‘you are here’ features; so should your corporate site (for example, jobs, or shares – and a breadcrumb trail).
  • designed to meet the needs of a variety of audiences in parallel (shopping, food, cinema, games, sports); the corporate site also has a variety of audiences (investors, job-seekers, customers, journalists…). And of course, in both cases, it is possible that a visitor interested in one thing may well be interested in another, either on a different occasion or later in the same visit.
  • well designed, with a consistent style – possibly with variations on a theme – throughout.
  • busy and engaging. There are people about, enjoying themselves; things change daily; there are special events, to bring people in, and to entertain them while they are there.

What do you think? How well does your corporate site do, compared to a mall, at servicing many different visitors on their individual travels through your web space?

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