Deloitte : Removing local navigation

The way back is made harder for some alumni.

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The feature

Deloitte, one of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms, targets alumni but then isolates them on its UK site. Deloitte has a country-based web estate that matches its federal organisation and is based on a shared template in which primary navigation is split between a subsidiary string in the header bar and a set beneath. On the United Kingdom country site the subsidiary string includes Alumni; clicking on it leads to an overview page on which all primary navigation is missing. A solitary Home link is provided but refreshes the overview page rather than leading back to the country home page. The only other live links on the page are to log in or register; and the logo, which does lead back to the UK home page. ‘Alumni’ features on several other country sites as a link to an overview page (for example, Canada, Ireland, United States) but in these cases the page retains the full primary navigation suite and has live links to featured content as well as to log in or register.

The takeaway

Deloitte’s inclusion of ‘Alumni’ in its primary navigation typifies the importance placed by many of the global consultancy firms on their ‘collegiate’ networks. Its common top-level branding to hold together a federated structure on- and offline is also characteristic of such companies. But for the UK the local management of the country site has clearly gone off course if not off message. While the Alumni section is intended generally as a log-in portal, with the amount of ‘open’ content left to local discretion, the absence in the UK of all primary navigation disrupts the coherence of the site while also making navigating away from the page difficult. The problem with the UK site appears at one level to be technical: the Alumni page is on an https and URL whereas the rest of the site is http and a UK extension of; it is thus integrated as a section heading but acts as a standalone page. But the fact Alumni is fully part of country sites elsewhere may be indicative of issues around the governance of global branding or of quality assurance at local level in the migration to the dotcom platform.
First published 08 November, 2011
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