Top UK firms have poor Websites

By : |January 1, 2002 0



LONDON: Britain’s leading companies are “woefully inadequate” at
providing corporate information on their Websites, according to a study released
on Monday.

It said half the companies listed on the London stock market’s main
barometer, the FTSE 100 blue-chip share index, did not give their share price on
their Websites or put it where it was hard for shareholders to find.

A quarter of companies did not explain the nature of their business on their
home page and others hid financial information behind a “barrage” of
product information, said the report, carried out for Web strategy and design
firm Interactive Bureau.

“This report shows that after more than five years of hectic web
development in the UK many of our leading companies still have woefully
inadequate Web presence,” said Rodney Tyler, a director of Interactive
Bureau.



Tyler said a company’s home page was often the first impression a potential
employee, shareholder or client received but many companies treated their
audience of shareholders “appallingly”, making it hard for them to
find information.

Barclays Plc was scolded for displaying its share price several clicks away
from its home page while retailer Marks and Spencer Plc was criticized for a
hard-to-find search facility. Six Continents Plc, the world’s second-largest
hotels group, was singled out for praise in the survey, which said it displayed
simple and functional design with all the necessary links displayed in the right
place.

Supermarket chain Tesco Plc was criticized for hiding its financial details
behind a “barrage of product information”. A spokesman for Tesco said
the site was designed to be a tool which would appeal to its millions of
customers.

He said the company was always open to feedback about its site but that the
sort of corporate information referred to in the study was only one click away
from the home page. The sites were ranked on criteria covering home page links,
contact details and corporate information, overall design, navigation and
technical performance.

(C) Reuters Limited.

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