Cemex : Coding apps

A new device flies badly in the face of convention.

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The Site

Cemex, the Mexico-based cement group, has an advanced investor relations app that fails a basic test. Cemex was one of the first companies to launch an investor relations app for the iPad: CX Investor. It includes most of the features of the company’s investor relations website, including share price graph, quarterly results, press releases and financial reports. Five icons at the top are designed to signal various added-value features. These are e-mail alerts, which uses an @ icon, request printed reports (a picture of a printer), FAQs (a question mark), IR Contacts (a silhouette of a head) and glossary (an upper and lower case letter a).

The Takeaway

Cemex is a real innovator, jumping into the corporate communications app game with commitment. As other companies have since, it chose investor relations as a starting point. The logic, which is that investment professionals need regular access to information whether they are on- or offline, is strong. And the implementation is sophisticated and comprehensive. It is a shame therefore that Cemex has fallen down on a basic piece of usability: failing to make the links intuitive. Icons are dangerous at the best of times, but they only work when they follow convention. For most people @ implies ‘send an e-mail’ and a printer image means ‘print’ – but they do not here. The contact silhouette is just baffling and the other two icons are far from clear. On a website, the most usable sites are those that follow convention. On apps, where navigation norms have yet to be established, it is even more vital to cling to every element of convention that you can.

First published 09 August, 2011
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