Woeful Silicon Valley Web Sites
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A new study by Shelley Taylor Associates to be released on Aug. 25 concludes that in spite of their access to recent innovations in Web tools, software and hardware, surprisingly few Silicon Valley Web sites utilize available navigational aids or provide sufficient content for their three key external users: customers, investors and potential employees.
The report, "Missing Links in Silicon Valley" presents the analysis of the Web sites of 50 Silicon Valley companies, representing software, semiconductor, semiconductor equipment, computer and computer equipment, Internet and networking companies. Sites are evaluated on the basis of 180 proprietary evaluation criteria--content, organization and navigation.
According to the report, Web sites mirror and amplify organizational integrity. In fact, they render the executive corridor naked to all site visitors. Any corporate dysfunction is broadcast to all who visit the site.
Companies that ranked highest in the study, Autodesk, Sun Microsystems and Cisco Systems, reflect a high degree of cross-functional integration which is visible in their Web sites. All three of these companies provide comprehensive content to key stakeholders and navigation which enables them to find this information.
Investors are the most ignored of the key external audiences--48% of sites do not provide an Investor link on their home page and 70% of sites omit the name of the investor relations contact .
Companies tend to discourage direct contact from key external audiences--only four companies give the name of any customer contact person on their sites; ten provide some form of online communication with marketing staff.
"Missing Links in Silicon Valley" will be released on Aug. 25 at a breakfast briefing in Palo Alto. Ironically, while their web site can be found at www.infofarm.com, its address is not mentioned in their press release about the study, nor is the study mentioned on their web site.