Capita : Consolidating downloads

A convenience store has its flaws.

click to view

The Site

Capita, a UK-based business support company, provides universal access to a centralised download library that appears to cover a comprehensive range of content. Capita includes a Downloads option in a set of three graphic quick links found above the search box in the top right of every page. It leads to a Downloads centre containing a tabbed table of contents that offers access to downloadable content in five categories: Financial reporting, Corporate responsibility, Policies, Case studies and Research. The files for each category are listed in the table, with icons indicating in which of five format options they are available. A dedicated search tool allows downloads to be searched, while a Your downloads panel lets users download multiple selected documents from their current visit into a zip file, although there is no ‘briefcase’ where the selection can be reviewed before download. The centre is not, however, comprehensive; for example, it shows PDF and HTML as the options for the 2009 annual report but the online report includes its own Download centre, where an Excel version of the financial statements for the year is on offer.

The Takeaway

Busy visitors to corporate websites such as journalists and investors are always in the market for downloadable takeaways of information for consumption at their convenience. Capita’s Downloads link offers the time premium of a quick universal route to a central library where a range of stakeholders can locate files that more often are embedded deep within dedicated sections. To all appearances the centre has everything a user needs for a speedy takeaway – a tabbed presentation, format identification, dedicated search and zip-file delivery. In practice, though, the download service has its downsides. Usability would be improved if there was a single point of reference (a shopping list) for files selected for download, especially when they are being chosen from more than one category. A bigger problem is the scope of the centre, which is more restricted than is apparent or implied – investment analysts, for example, can easily assume there are no Excel versions of financial statements, which they value. Unless its shelves are fully stocked, the centre risks subverting its aim of providing a slick convenience store and instead sending away users without the information they called in for.
First published 31 January, 2012
< Back to Tips