Beiersdorf : Responsive to whom?

A home page works well on mobile at the expense of the desktop experience, but is it alienating the bigger audience?

click to view

The feature

The home page of Beiersdorf, the German consumer goods company probably best known as the owners of the Nivea skin care brand, is responsive (automatically adjusting to fit any screen size).

On a standard desktop screen, the home page is long and busy with elements (eg, image panels with news and sustainability stories, embedded careers video, etc). Much scrolling is required to reach this content. On a smartphone, a hamburger menu replaces the main navigation bar. Many of the elements are the same on the mobile-adjusted screen, but subtle improvements in the way they are organised and a less-busy feel overall, suggest the page was designed with ‘mobile first’ in mind.

The takeaway

The Beiersdorf home page experience is more satisfying on a smartphone and tablet than the desktop, which makes little sense on what is a pure corporate site. Most visitors will use the dropdown menu to find what they want, but the company is missing a chance to engage with jobseekers, journalists, investors and others by making them scroll to see content that could be placed immediately in view.

Our analytics data suggests that most visitors, typically more than 90 per cent, view corporate websites via a desktop. We would be surprised if the Beiersdorf figure is much different, because the sort of information it holds is best viewed on a big screen.

The problem – a widespread one – is that Beiersdorf and its site designers are not treating corporate sites as distinct creatures. ‘Mobile first’ makes sense for some types of site, but not ones like this – especially as it is quite possible to create a responsive site that works just as well on big and small screens.
First published 17 December, 2014
< Back to Tips