SABIC : Picking form over function
An image library that is only about looks.
The Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), the largest industrial group in the Middle East, has a Flash-based image library that is of little practical value.
SABIC’s News & Multimedia section has a link that leads to a substantial area labelled ‘multimedia’. This has thumbnail images grouped into 11 categories, such as fertilizers, history and people. Each marks the number of images available – in total there are more than 280. Clicking either the thumbnail, or using a dropdown link, displays the images individually. A View button brings them up in high quality.
The entire system is Flash-based: right clicking an image brings up an option to ‘Download this Video to Real Player’. A Slideshow link allows a category to be screened sequentially, but there appears to be no mechanism to download the images as usable picture files.
Image libraries are one of the most useful services a corporate website can provide. They give media organisations the content they need, on demand and at any time of day, and make them less likely to use pictures from elsewhere. It’s a surprise that many corporates do not provide them – but SABIC goes beyond this, promising something wonderful, delivering almost nothing, while presumably paying a great deal for the privilege.
There may be some journalists who simply want to look at images – but not many. Flash has many uses, but one of them is not providing downloadable still images. So why use it? That is perhaps the main lesson from this – the system must have looked impressive when it was first demonstrated to SABIC’s managers. But did they then ask questions about whether it would fulfil the basics? Vendors will sell what they can; it is up to the company to work out what the real benefits are.http://www.sabic.com/corporate/en/newsandmediarelations/library/default.aspx
First published on 03 March, 2011