Prudential Financial : Organising chaos

A range of different menu systems reflects all-too-common governance issues.


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The Site

Prudential Financial, a US-based finance company, uses several different types of secondary navigation on its website. Prudential’s Our Company primary section uses a left-hand menu, which disappears once one of its items has been selected. The Products and Services section uses a dropdown menu, with secondary items appearing in columns within the dropdown. The Research & Perspectives section also uses a left-hand menu. The Investor Relations section is navigated via right-hand menu. In each case a common header bar and rich footer (with links to main content areas) is featured, so that the varying navigation devices are ‘sandwiched’ between standing features. Further variation comes from many pages being on separate microsites. Those in Products & Services, including retire.prudential.com and investment.prudential.com, use their own templates, while corporate areas such as jobs.prudential.com and investor.prudential.com share the main look and feel.

The Takeaway

The Prudential site is a poster boy for companies with weak central web governance. The centre has managed to impose a common header and footer on some areas, but has then let corporate departments handle navigation without reference to one another. It has close to no influence on what the marketing teams do. This is common enough, especially in the US, but does that matter? If you are trying to serve people, it makes sense to give them what they want – but they may well have more than one need. They may be interested not just in product, they may be also be interested in investing, finding a job or checking environmental credentials. On a fragmented website like the Prudential’s, moving around is cumbersome – bad for the visitor and bad for the company because it comes across as uncoordinated. Why do so many companies have so little control over their websites? Because no one senior enough to make a difference has become engaged – as is so often the answer to questions relating to online communications.

http://www.prudential.com
First published 27 September, 2012
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