ArcelorMittal : Optimising issues
A minority of visitors are presented with a distorted site.
ArcelorMittal, the world’s leading steel company, does not provide a consistent viewing experience for visitors to its global site.
ArcelorMittal’s home page is styled to emphasise a structure built on three horizontally layered blocks: a coloured header strip that includes utilities, search field and primary navigation headings: a picture strip for themed highlights; and tabulated content tasters (news, press releases, featured content etc). On inside pages there is no picture strip and the section navigation is carried in a left-hand column; sub-section menus display inside this, to the right, with main content occupying the rest of the page. However, the appearance of pages on screen is not the same universally.
Visitors using a Mac operating system with either Firefox or Safari as their browser are presented with a distorted view of the home page in which various elements break the bounds of the structure: the picture strip extends considerably to the right, as do the utility options and the search field; elements of the highlights table are also pushed down and out of the table. On inside pages, the display of sub-menus pushes the main content down and below the line of the navigation columns, giving the impression of no content. Users of the Chrome browser in Mac and of Firefox, Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer on a PC are presented with undistorted pages.
ArcelorMittal has used the styling of is site and an unusual display format for its section navigation to produce a corporate site that is distinctive while doing no more than pushing the bounds of convention. Users will not feel intimidated or estranged by the environment it creates – unless they are among the majority of Mac users running Firefox or Safari browsers. In which case, they get not only a distorted home page but a site rendered effectively unusable by the displacement of content by navigation.
This isn’t a new issue for ArcelorMittal – the site has been this way since it was launched in this form – so it has presumably taken a dismissive view on how many of the Mac-using minority (8-10 per cent of the computer market by some counts, though there is no accepted estimate) are likely to visit the site. However, given the official advice currently being given by the French and German governments to avoid Internet Explorer (in the wake of the Google hacking incident in China), now might be a timely moment for everyone to make sure their site is optimised in Firefox and Safari regardless of what operating system it is being run on.http://www.arcelormittal.com
First published on 21 January, 2010