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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Shelley Taylor, US 1-650/473-6514

SILICON VALLEY WEB SITES FAIL TO WALK THE TALK

PALO ALTO, Calif, 20 August, 1998...a new study by Shelley Taylor & Associates to be released on August 25th, concludes that in spite of their access to recent innovations in web tools, software and hardware, surprisingly few Silicon Valley web sites utilize available navigational aids or provide sufficient content for their three key external users: customers, investors and potential employees.

Missing Links in Silicon Valley demonstrates that web sites mirror and amplify organizational integrity. In fact, they render the executive corridor naked to all site visitors. Any corporate dysfunction is broadcast to all who visit the site. Companies that ranked highest in the study, Autodesk, Sun Microsystems and Cisco Systems, reflect a high degree of cross-functional integration which is visible in their web sites. All three of these companies provide comprehensive content to key stakeholders and navigation which enables them to find this information.

"Many of the Silicon Valley companies are responsible for the  birth of the Internet revolution so it follows that their web sites should be the best. But many of these sites are only sheep in wolves clothing. They look effective at first glance, but they do not provide sufficient content for the audiences they are designed to serve. In fact, many do not  reflect the business strategies of the companies that create them," contends Shelley Taylor, managing director and author of the report. "The research highlights the disconnect between the boardroom and those responsible for web design and content."

David Bradford, director of marketing programs at Autodesk emphasizes, "A key to our success was the early commitment of our executive staff and their support and understanding in how significant the Web has become as a vehicle for supporting our customers."

Missing Links in Silicon Valley presents the analysis of the web sites of 50  Silicon Valley companies, representing software, semiconductor, semiconductor equipment, computer and computer equipment, Internet and networking companies. Sites are evaluated on the basis of 180 proprietary evaluation criteria content, organization and navigation. Key findings of the study are as follows:

  • Although there is tremendous competition for the best brains in Silicon Valley, 25% of sites have no "Jobs" link on their home page and 46% of these sites do not make online application available
  • Investors are the most ignored of the key external audiences 48% of sites do not provide an "Investor" link on their home page and 70% of sites omit the name of the investor relations contact 
  • Companies tend to discourage direct contact from key external audiences only four companies give the name of any customer contact person on their sites, ten provide some form of online communication with marketing staff

Only three companies in the study Autodesk, VLSI and Pointcast provide global, local and context navigation on their sites and overall site navigation breaks down on the third level of 50% of Silicon Valley sites

Missing Links in Silicon Valley provides detailed findings on a company-by-company basis and shows how companies can create effective web sites designed for user needs. Best practice examples illustrate the best use of content, navigation and information architecture. Missing Links in Silicon Valleywill be released on August 25th at a breakfast briefing in Palo Alto. It  is available for purchase from the Palo Alto office, 650-473-6514.  Editor's Note: An Executive Summary is available upon request.

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