Philips : Impressing few

An attempt to innovate comes unstuck on more than one level.

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The feature

Philips, Netherland-based electronics group, is off the mark in trying for an innovative home page for its latest annual report.

Philips has published its latest (for 2013) annual report on a standalone site. Its home page has a scrolling long-page format that is consistent across viewing environments (desktop, portable, smartphone, tablet). The page is an amalgamation of stories/features that can be navigated either by use of the up/down buttons at the top/bottom of each story frame, or by the scroll bar or ‘flicking’.

The first story, A born innovator, opens on a page showing a single paragraph of text below the headline and an image (of the company’s founders); on click or flick down a new image (an early advertising poster) overlays the first one; this is repeated with successive images until the end of the story is reached. The next item, What we aspire to, opens on a page with just a headline showing; paragraphs are added to this only as the down arrow is clicked or scrolling is engaged.

The takeaway

It would be in keeping with Philips’ positioning as a hotbed of “ground-breaking innovation” if the quirky (not to say, jerky) way in which it deals out its annual report stories were a deliberate attempt to do things differently. Ease of use and unintrusive navigation certainly seem to have been overridden in the brief – or have had to be sacrificed to meet the tight deadlines invariably attached to the production of the annual report to a market-set timetable.

Irrespective of whether it’s a finished work or a project in progress, Philips has quite likely picked the wrong platform for making an impression. According to the corporate communications professionals, analysts and shareholders contributing to Bowen Craggs’ recent survey of how annual reports are handled online, there is little to no interest in HTML presentations.
First published 27 February, 2014
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