Novartis : Collecting page ratings
A simple but effective rating mechanism that is easy for visitors to use and easily incorporated on every page.
Novartis is an international pharmaceuticals and “consumer health” group based in Switzerland. Its main global website has information about the company, its products and the ‘diseases and conditions’ that they treat.
With the exception of the Careers section each page of the site has an animated Feedback icon outside the main text area. Mousing over this raises a five-point scale with gradations from “+ +” to “- -” and the invitation to “use the scale to rate the page”. An alternative option, “Care to comment?”, leads to a small pop-up window in which users can type in their observation and rate the page on content, design and usability as well as overall. Once comment has been submitted from a particular page the feedback option is omitted on subsequent visits to that page.
Novartis has adopted a simple but effective rating mechanism for its site that is easy for visitors to use and easily incorporated on every page. Furthermore, it has done so in a way that minimises the distraction that on-site user surveys too often present. But the question is, ‘why has it bothered?’
Presumably, Novartis is looking to collect continuous data that will help it improve the relevance and general usability of the site. If so, the initial rating scale is way too general to yield much of practical value – and it is difficult to see why anyone would bother to respond. The ‘care to comment’ option is better, and closer to how most users would interpret the term ‘feedback’, but still limited even if read alongside tracking logs.
The fact that the feature is “powered” by a third-party provider, Opinion Lab – whose site is linked to the rating mechanism – suggests an element of Novartis using neat technology because it can rather than it is necessarily appropriate. In which case it is all the more fortunate that it doesn’t get in the way.
Measuring feedback is one of the great challenges of any non-transactional website – but the danger with off-the-peg ideas such as this is that they are as likely to mislead as they are to provide useful guidance.http://www.novartis.com
First published on 02 March, 2004