– Just what were they thinking? – Just what were they thinking?

As former Head of Internet for Investec Asset Management I originally attended some of the project initiation meetings for the redevelopment of, the group website for Investec, a South African investment bank. These original meetings were, by my reckoning, back in 2005 and were the result of the original Investec site coming bottom of a survey on site acessibility here in the UK.

Some 4 years later, Investec have just launched their new site. Considering the time it took to deliver this project, roughly as long as it took the Allies to combat Japanese imperialism and Nazism during World War II, I would have hoped for better results.

investecdotcom2 1024x474   Just what were they thinking?

I was shocked to see just what has been delivered:

  • The site is certainly ‘Out of the Ordinary’, (the Investec strapline) – it is very confusing to navigate. Given the site is actually just an entry page for many visitors attempting to reach the home pages of one or other of Investec’s business divisions why have they made the site so pointless from a navigation perspective?
  • The site takes an incredibly long time to load. At an astonishing 782kb in size according to the site it takes 194.6 seconds to load on a 56k connection and a lengthy 42.75 seconds on a 1.44mb T1 connection. Given Investec’s South African origins, I don’t think this will go down well in today’s all inclusive South Africa. Indeed, the site will likely even take a long time to load for the rich few able to afford decent bandwith in that new democracy.
  • The site is incredibly javascript intensive – a problem for visitors who have java disabled.
  • It is not mobile device friendly – somewhat shortsighted in today’s digital environment – you try browsing it on an iPhone!
  • No attempt has been made to map older site links to the new site structure – this leads to lots of 404 page not found results, particularly when searches are referrred from Google.
  • The 404 ‘page not found’ results page displays nothing of note other than a search box – this still fails to yield results of any merit when used.
  • Much of the site content is served in an iframe. This makes it extremely SEO unfriendly.

My recommendation to each Investec business unit would be to invest in paid search and an SEO friendly site structure of your own. This approach should at least allow your customers and prospects to find you without having to touch the website. I will review the site again in another 4 years to see what if any enhancements have been made….

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