Johnson & Johnson : Too simple timelines

Using interactive timelines on employee profiles is an interesting idea, but badly executed.

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The feature

Employee profiles on Johnson & Johnson’s careers microsite have interactive timelines displaying career histories at the US pharmaceutical and consumer goods giant.

For example, the timeline for ‘Eddie’, who is director of university relations, has three clickable red blocks, each representing a different job at the company from 2005 to 2013. The blocks are colour-coded according to department – consumer, pharmaceuticals, ‘cross-segment businesses’, etc. Clicking on the blocks reveals basic information about the job – year, job title, department, company and location.

The takeaway

The timelines have a lot of weaknesses. Usability is confusing – visitors are instructed to ‘Click over the timeline to reveal career milestones’ – but it is unclear at first where exactly to click to reveal a new milestone. The ‘milestones’ themselves are uninspiring, just a list of basic facts. The colour-coding key to different business segments seems odd when the employee has only worked in one department.

On the plus side, the company is trying to demonstrate the opportunities for career progression, and that does come through in some of the profiles. For example ‘Jeanne’, talent acquisition vice president, has been at the company since 1978 in a variety of roles.

The timelines are more a missed opportunity than a flawed concept. A better, modern design, with multi-media elements and more interesting editorial (descriptions of achievements, why they went to a different role, the challenges they faced, etc), in a timeline format, could engage potential jobseekers rather that leave them wanting more.
First published 27 July, 2016
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