Genel Energy : Repeating itself pointlessly

A universal slideshow of images quickly becomes repetitive.

click to view

The Site

Genel Energy, a Channel Islands-based oil exploration and production company, uses a cyclic display of images that quickly overwhelms the user experience. Genel Energy has a full-width picture panel at the top of pages above the primary navigation bar that refreshes automatically about every three seconds, running through a set of four images. The sequence opens with four coloured vertical strips, numbered 1-4, ranged to the left of the panel; the change of image is effected by the strips sliding in sequence across the page. When all four have moved to the right, the sequence plays in reverse, returning the strips to the left of the display. None of the images carries captioning or navigation devices. The Flash-powered panel is universal, and the same set of four images is featured throughout, so an identical display is triggered on entering every page of the website. It also continues its cyclic scrolling for as long as the page remains open.

The Takeaway

Genel’s picture panel shows a couple of distinctive features, neither of which works to its advantage. Such slideshow-style displays are a common element of corporate websites, but using the device in purely decorative fashion – there are none of the usual headlines, captions or display links to the highlighted material – is not standard practice and robs the device of its important editorial and signposting roles. Its blanket use with an unchanging repertoire across the site is a rare and baffling deployment that further points up its redundancy on all bar the decorative count – and even undermines that factor through its constant repetition. As the carousel is written in Flash, it does not render on most mobile devices, making – presumably unintentionally – for a cleaner, better performing and less frustrating manifestation of the site from which the desktop version could take its cue. The various annoyances that the display provokes require a fundamental rethink and reengineering to alleviate.
First published 13 December, 2011
< Back to Tips