Telstra :  Colouring pages

Visitors are encouraged to alter their perception of company messages.

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The feature

Telstra, Australian telecoms and information services provider, encourages users to set the visual tone of its careers site.

Telstra maintains a separate careers site that includes a panel at the head of its right-hand column that asks ‘What colour are you?’ before inviting users to ‘change the site to reflect your mood’. A dropdown menu offers five alternatives to the colour in current use (the full set of six colours is: orange, green, teal, blue, purple, pink).

The choice affects all colour-bearing elements including headlines, background tints, the search panel, the header bar (which includes a geometric design that uses varying weights of tint) and the company’s ‘t’ logo.

The takeaway

Every once in a while a company will try to breath new life into personalisation, the granting of limited discretion to users over some aspect of site configuration. Generally, this has involved the make up of the home page and content preferences, which at least brings a touch of novelty to Telstra’s focus on home décor. What value it has to jobseekers beyond short-lived light relief is hard to see, whereas the potential disruption to the user experience and company messages is all too clear.

Neither company nor jobseekers are served by the creation of an ever-present distraction from the content (better to confine the mood-setter to the home page if you have to offer it at all). Furthermore, the impact of the content is weakened because it cannot possibly be designed to work the same way in six different colour schemes – look at how it affects the impact of photographs, for example. It really is too integral to the impact of the site to take out of the hands of your designers. It’s surely hard enough to set the right tone for careers messages without inviting users to mess with the mood of the presentation.
First published 19 November, 2013
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