January 26, 2008
In my occasional series on how effectively pharma companies present themselves on their website home pages, today we arrive at Abbott labs (Abbott.com).
I will admit right off that I’ve never been a fan of the Abbott logo. I find it singularly uninspiring and I wish that a company that has so much going for it would project a more engaging image. And, the first thing that I noticed on this page was the sub-optimal way the logo is treated, in 2 respects:
- 1. The main huge “A” (too big, btw) on the top left is crowded way over to the edge of the screen – no visual buffer. This isn’t Internet 1997 – such placements are easy to control, and this presentation is jarring.
- 2. The “Abbott” name just to the right of the huge “A” is a different typeface than the one over at the top right. That’s just wrong. Graphic Design 101 – you have one logo, one typeface, one image.
OK, that’s out of my system. Now, on to white space. Interesting, this site has a lot of it – but unfortunately, it is poorly used. It has what I call “scary” white space – disproportionate placement of the elements in a sea of white, so the viewer feels disoriented. The graphic in the middle seems like Kon-tiki drifting in the vast Pacific. There are too many varying shapes and sizes that don’t fit “pleasingly” in the white.
At least there is a tease to view a patient story front-and-center, which is an element I believe is very important for companies in our industry. However, the rest of the navigation scheme is strictly in the ho-hum “list” motif – “here’s a whole set of links to stuff, find what you want.” That doesn’t crystallize, for the viewer, who Abbott is – what is this company about? What is the mission? What is unique? Why should I care? By this, I don’t mean some dry mission statement. I mean a punchy, summary phrase that immediately grabs my interest and pulls me into the Abbott story (note: the first link under Features, at the bottom of the above graphic, could be a great angle – the story of founder Wallace Abbott).
Once you get past the home page, into the sub-menus, the site is quite pedestrian – a very basic and non-engaging design. I would classify this site as firmly rooted in the past – a Web 1.0 “let’s present information” design that hasn’t yet grown up into effective engagement. It’s safe, it’s conservative – it’s there. Abbott can do better.
Prior pharma website reviews (contained on my Impactiviti pharma-focused blog):