Don’t take your “About Us” page for granted
Despite various ‘expert’ comments that website use is fading in this era of social media and mobile technology, websites are still a vital source of information. When building or running websites, recent usability studies by the Nielsen Norman Group indicate you engage users best by crafting key information in your About Us pages. This might seem obvious, but many organizations still don’t understand its importance.
Research findings show new visitors to your website are strongly influenced by the About Us page – more strongly than you might expect. After the home page, the About Us page is probably the most important point in a website for a visitor, consistent with the concept of the primacy effect and the recency effect, in which people remember the first and last things best in a list of any items or pages.
Helpful, well-written summaries in key About Us pages will increase perceptions of transparency and trust about your organization.
Site visitors make first-impressions very quickly – and they move on if they feel you are not worth the effort. The lesson is to give a good overview of your organization in these pages – in the summary/intro area of all main pages in addition to the About Us area in the home page.
Visitors need to read highlights they can absorb in a glance. Concise summaries at the top of each main page are appealing because they provide context and reduce the amount of effort required to click through layers of content. Forcing people to work hard turns them off. However, vague generic statements, and platitudes and clichés are equally unacceptable for an About Us page.
For instance, the About Us page of billion-dollar pharmaceutical company AbbVie starts with the grand heading: “Addressing some of the world’s greatest health needs,” but gives not the slightest hint anywhere on the page as to what those health issues may be and what AbbVie actually does.
It is not until we reach the Who We Are page linked from the About Us page that some specific information starts to emerge (screenshot below). However, this raises the question as to why the company is differentiating between About Us and Who We Are. Surely the content for both belongs in the About Us page because the content of the Who We Are page is very generic and could easily be contained in the same page.