Cemex : Cutting up news

A novel approach to a related links panel.

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The feature

Cemex, Mexico-based building materials company, offers a wide-ranging menu of news as a standard feature. Cemex includes a Latest News panel beyond the landing/overview page in all sections except Careers. The panel consists of six horizontal slats, each carrying a topic heading: Press Releases, Solving Customers’ Needs, Business and Financial Strategy, Operational Excellence, Sustainable Development in Action and Leadership, Collaboration, and Integrity. Other than Press Releases the topics correspond with a set of Stories categories found in the site’s media section. One slat is open by default showing a menu of four date and headline combinations. The default menu is tailored to the section to an extent; the Solving Customers’ Needs selection shows in Products & Services, and the Sustainable Development in Action set in Sustainable Development. Press Releases is otherwise the default (for About Us, Investor Center, Media Center and Suppliers). Clicking on another topic opens its menu and closes the default.

The takeaway

Cemex’s Latest News is a novel approach to related/quick link panels. The use of expandable sub-menus allows it to extend the range and variety of content it can pack into the space in a way that gives users more options and greater freedom of choice. It feels like the foundation of a good idea, though, rather than the finished thing. The more you use it the more shaky its structure and management appear. One emerging fault is the panel title: while the news may be the latest in each of the categories, in two of them it over-stretches the expectation it creates: the most recent item in Business and Financial Strategy, the most extreme example, is dated November 10, 2010 (and is one of only two items on the menu). Perhaps this is why the tailoring of open category to section is incomplete – imagine the impression an analyst or investor gets on going to ‘their’ subject. The problem is partly structural: the panel is based on the set up in Media Center, which means, for example, that most business or financial news will be among Press Releases and not under their Latest News category. It also means that whatever link is clicked the user is taken to Media Center, never to the related section.

First published 18 April, 2013
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