Baxter International : Overdosing investors

Two versions of the same section are operated as a double act.


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The Site

Baxter International, US-based pharmaceuticals company, patches together journeys that cross between parallel versions of its Investors section.

The featureBaxter uses rollover menus to preview content from the sections included in its primary navigation bar. For Investors this reveals seven topics. On click, five of them open a page in a microsite (investors.baxter.com) in the current browser window. It uses an identical template that includes an in-section menu in the left-hand navigation. It offers one extra item not listed in the rollover preview, Dividend History, which also replaces Annual Meeting in the preview (Annual Meeting is included in the left-hand menu).

Two links in the preview menu (Events & Presentations, Reports & Financials) open pages in an Investors section on the dotcom site (baxter.com/investors/). The in-section menu here has a different additional eighth item, Investor Conference 2012 (which opens a closed-down webcast in the current window) and does not have a link for Dividend History. In both of the Investors locations, clicking one of the off-site links switches the user to the other site and in the current browser window.

The Takeaway

It’s to be hoped that quality assurance in Baxter’s laboratories is more rigorous than seems to be the case with its website. While it is not unusual (though not recommended) to find a primary section in the navigation bar linked to an integrated microsite it is unheard of to find it functioning in tandem with a version of the section sitting within the main dotcom site. Visitors here might not be overly inconvenienced if the synchronisation between the two versions were better managed. As it is, the inconsistencies between the preview menus and left-hand navigation are a recipe for confusion and oversight (Dividend History? Now you can find it now you can’t). And they continue into the sub-menus, where three of the five elements in Reports & Financials hop over to the microsite.

The inclusion of Investor Conference 2012 in the dotcom version of the section, and the use in Sitemap of the dotcom version of the structure (and, yes, the microsite Sitemap does jump users across to the dotcom site) suggest that the microsite is a more recent development. But the root of the problem may lie elsewhere: there are anomalies in the navigation in most other primary sections (inconsistent menus, out-of-section links) that point to a disjointed and distracted approach to site governance and management. That will take more than a QA refresher course or spot of re-wireframing to sort out.

http:/www.baxter.com
First published 01 July, 2014
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