Pfizer : Listing badly

Global order appears lost in translation.

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The Site

Pfizer, a US-based pharmaceuticals multinational, provides a disorientating index of its worldwide web estate. Pfizer’s global website features a universal site-finder button at top right that on click reveals a dropdown menu of links to 43 country sites. The list is presented in four columns, large parts of which are in alphabetical order. In places, however, the sequence is broken; for example, Finland appears between Italy and Korea, and Senegal after Venezuela. Most of the final column is devoted to countries starting with the letters A to D, arranged in correct alphabetical order. The dropdown also enables switching between the Spanish- and English-language versions of the global site. The Spanish version’s country dropdown contains one more site (_Asia Pacifico_) and is more nearly in alphabetical order, though individual countries are misplaced; for example, _Alemania_ is after _Francia_, _Paises Bajos_ after _México_.

The Takeaway

Dropdown country selectors are a standard feature on multinationals’ global sites, but Pfizer’s far from conventional ordering of names in its list carelessly undermines the tool’s convenience and easy accessibility. The initial appearance of alphabetical order hides the multiple anomalies and introduces a risk that visitors may overlook links that do not appear where they would expect them to do. Given there is no apparent logic to the ordering of countries, the presentation in its current form is most likely the outcome of expediency and neglect. The block of A-D countries at the end suggests a clumsy addition to an original list. Intriguingly, though, there may well be a correctly ordered list somewhere in the web manager’s in-box – the Spanish-language dropdown does follow a strict and correct alphabetical order, if translated into English. Surely that’s too much of a coincidence to have come about without the existence of an alphabetical English list from which to work.
First published 12 April, 2012
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