I had mixed feelings when I first looked at the Wyeth home page. On the one hand, it’s a well-ordered design. The information and navigation design is clean, straightforward, and reasonably attractive. The branding is consistent. The use of a tabbed interface is well-implemented – each content category was well thought-out and appropriate. The higher level (grey) tabs (Home and Worldwide) are a particularly nice feature – subtle, but simple and user-friendly.
The architecture is sound, the interface compact, the color mix good, the typeface pleasant. The more I explored the site, the better I liked it. Why the initial mixed feelings?
I think it’s because there is too much on the landing page, without one dominant and appealing theme to draw me in. The various categories of content left, right, and center are very diverse, and they are all so “equal” in appearance, that if I’m a new/naive browser just coming to the site, I feel stymied as to what matters here. There’s a sense that this home page is seeking to be “all things to all people” – an issue every major diversified company in pharma has to contend with – but in so doing, it’s a bit imposing at first, even if the overall information design is excellent. There are up to 20 category/navigation /featured link choices (not counting individual news items) immediately presented on the home page – that’s a lot to process!
Some expert insight from a techie friend indicates that this site was made with an SAP toolset – if so, that’s pretty impressive. If you’re not a programmer/business analyst/geek, just ignore this comment…
The site is clean and functional. If I were to make one key improvement, it would be to take that major front-and-center graphic area on the home page, and instead of just having a Wyeth summary/mission statement, use it to tell a story – a story of a patient, or an employee, or something that would engage me. Something that would give me a positive feeling for the company called Wyeth. The best web design is not just information architecture. It’s a way to “attach” a user to the company. This site is not far from being a favorite – my logical mind gives it an “A”, but a better first impression at the visceral level would really clinch it.