Eli Lilly : Overlooking its own cures

In-house best practice is ignored when an improvement creates its own problem.

click to view

The Site

Eli Lilly, a US-based global pharmaceutical company, creates problems in attempting to make content more browsable that could be resolved by following its own prescription. Lilly provides 19 media kits in its News section, with the full index of topics given on the landing page of a Media Kits sub-section. When the sub-section is open, the list is replicated as tertiary links nested under the Media Kits heading in the section’s left navigation. Many topics are, however, not visible on the screen and scrolling is required to see the full range of options or to move between most topics.

The Takeaway

Lilly’s replication of the Media Kits menu in left navigation neatly aids the usability of the feature, by avoiding a return to the index page to browse content. The effectiveness is reduced, however, by the length of the list, which creates the need to scroll to review the full range of options. Rather than accept that as a better-on-balance compromise, as appears to have happened, it could have found further improvement by drawing on the full potential of the template. Other sections (for example, Responsibility) support a fourth level of left navigation headings that keeps the menus contextual and short, allowing for more efficient browsing. The full Media Kits list could thus be sub-divided into higher-level categories (such as conditions, treatments, corporate), each with its own, shorter nest of individual headings. It’s open to speculation why the template is used more adeptly in some sections than in others (and there are further variations, such as the non-replication of the management profiles index in the about section). Perhaps there is no central editor with the authority or imagination to intervene; perhaps features are developed ad hoc and in isolation. But the failure to exploit in-house best practice is ultimately holding back the site from serving its users as well as it clearly could.

First published 28 February, 2012
< Back to Tips