Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox reports finding “a 9 percent improvement in the usability of ‘About Us’ information on Websites over the past five years, but companies and organizations are largely still unable to explain what they do in a single paragraph.”
An accurate representation of a company or organization on the Internet is one of a Website’s most important tasks, as effectively explaining the company’s purpose and what it stands for provides support for all of the Website’s other goals.
The Alertbox suggests providing About Us information at four levels of detail.
- First, a tagline on the homepage, just a few words or brief sentence, should summarize what the organization does.
- Second, a one- to two-paragraph summary at the top of the main About Us page should offer more detail about the organization’s goals and main accomplishments.
- Third, a fact sheet following the summary should elaborate on key points and other essential facts about the organization.
- Fourth, subsidiary pages with greater depth should provide more detailed information for people looking for more about the organization.
Such a layered approach creates an inverted pyramid that uses hypertext to shield users from overwhelming details, while simultaneously providing specific information for those who want it.