Hydro : Drilling down well

Inventive presentation adds to the attraction of an efficient worldwide directory.

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The Site

Hydro, the Norway based aluminium supplier, has an intuitive interactive directory that acts as a guide to its global locations. Hydro’s ‘about’ section includes a Hydro Worldwide page that represents its global presence as a stylised atlas constructed of circles, each representing one of the 44 countries where the company has a presence. A key explains that the size of the circles reflects the number of employees based at each location. Filters on the left of the page allow certain types of location to be highlighted and identified; for example, Sales Offices. Clicking a country circle enlarges it to take over the display and populates it with smaller circles representing specific locations in that country. Their positioning reflects the geographic relationship between locations, as with the main atlas. This view includes a right column that gives facts and figures about the country and Hydro’s presence within it. Clicking an individual location superimposes another circular display frame with a photograph of the location, while the right column now shows an interactive map, address and contact details. Tabs attached to the display circle allow navigation back to the country and Worldwide levels.

The Takeaway

‘Worldwide’ directories are a constant feature of corporate websites, but beyond that they vary greatly in their degree of usability and usefulness. Hydro’s is not only a clever visual variation on the theme, with its employee-weighted projection of the globe, but combines that with ease of use and efficient delivery of information about locations as well as their contact details. The smartly designed interactive diagram allows users to drill down quickly to varying types of information and degrees of detail; the tabbing brings browsing convenience. The whole provides an engaging profile of locations as well as functioning as a contact directory. Useful, usable, efficient and memorable – worldwide features rarely hit the spot this well.

First published 13 March, 2012
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