July 26, 2015
For this LDP, I want you to utilize the study done by McCorkindale and Morgoch (2013) from this week’s readings: An analysis of the mobile readiness and dialogic principles on Fortune 500 mobile websites to conduct a mini-analysis of your own.
Choose an organization that has a website available with a mobile version. Then apply the same concepts that were used to analyze the Fortune 500 websites as a BRIEF analysis of the organizational websites/mobile sites you chose, to include: Ease of Interface, Conservation of Visitors, Media Access, Dialogic Loop, Return Visit Engagement. Then, answer the following: What could your organization do from a web design/online communication/public relations standpoint to improve their web presence? How do Dialogic and Relationship Management theories apply?
For this week’s LDP assignment, I selected Caterpillar (CAT) as my Fortune 500 company. I specifically wanted a brand that is largely Business-to-Business (B2B) instead of Business-to-Consumer (B2C) given my feeling on the later to be more inclined to need/maintain a strong mobile presence. I’ve chosen to do my analysis using Google Chrome on my MacBook Pro (desktop) and Google Chrome on my iPhone 5S (mobile).
Ease of Interface: Both the desktop and mobile interfaces are intuitive and clean. The site appears to use responsive design on its initial “choose your country/language” landing page. The navigation, is maintained in both instances, and no content is lost from either experience, i.e. the same information and material is present in both platforms.
Conservation of Visitors: Both mobile and desktop experiences are designed with the specific visitor in mind. For CAT, a visitor may be someone shopping for a specific large piece of hardware, or more likely a part for an existing machine. This information is easy to access and is situated both on the homepages and within the navigation. One interesting note was the initial landing page had an unusual ordering of countries, even based on current sales trends for the company by Fortune. This experience could be “localized” as I had to navigate to the bottom of the screen in both platforms to find North America English. It does stick with you should you return to their main domain.
Media Access: On both desktop and mobile, access to the “Company” section of information, where employment, press releases and investor details are of ease of access. However, because of the minimized, or “hamburger” navigation in mobile, this “Company” information access is no longer accessible on the homepage, or any page, of the mobile experience without generating a “tap” of the navigation. This has the potential of being missed by journalists and invested parties/individuals.
Dialogic Loop: For both desktop and mobile, the site serves largely as a one-way communication platform for either sales or support. One could suggest the support side of the site is dialogic, in that any consistent reporting of an issue or broken piece of equipment or machinery may lead to additional recall or purchaser information. Additionally, the homepage on both versions of the site features content where CAT equipment is being used in high-visibility projects, specifically on my visit, the Nashville Zoo and a high rise project in Chicago.
Return Visit Engagement: Given the nature of the brand, the return visit engagement is very low. However, companies looking to contract out to CAT may be more prone to visiting multiple times to assess costs and capabilities prior to any type of formal engagement or proposal with a CAT representative. The site does persist my initial language/region selection, which is convenient for return visits.
At first glance of the site, in thinking through who the average user may be, beyond the procurement or support staff that are looking for parts and accessories, I’d add the opportunity to “contact us” as a quick way to generate leads and engagement for potential sales. Also, in looking at both investor and corporate communications, I’d recommend adding quick links to the homepage for mobile, so as it’s not buried in navigation, when a journalist or investor “on the road” wants to find this detail.
The two theories of Dialogic and Relationship Management apply in somewhat limited fashions. CAT has made a concerted effort to communicate with consumers looking for parts or equipment, making the site somewhat transactional in nature. This may vary from language/country/region, but was my experience for the North American site I reviewed. However, the site does employ a multi-language component reducing the potential for a language barrier and increase engagement and communication globally. Their use of “Company” in their primary navigation shows a strong desire to connect the investor and PR materials with “the average user” of their sites.
Dialogic Loop, Media Access, MMC6400, Web Theory,