Cemex : Delaying images
Lack of focus on user needs contributes to poor service usability.
Cemex, the Mexico-based global cement producer, has built frustrations into its image library service that could detract from its use.
Cemex highlights its Media center image library on the section landing page with a link to Downloads inviting journalists to “explore our collection of high quality corporate images”. ‘Images download’ is one four options on the Downloads page, along with Wallpaper, Screensavers and Company Brochure, leading to a thumbnail matrix of 80 images laid out four to a row. It is necessary to scroll to see that the matrix is divided into six topic categories (Corporate Brand, Products, Social Responsibility). An instruction at the top of the page advises that “To download one or more photographs, please select the image and click ‘Download’”.
Each image is provided with a Select button but the Download button is offered only at the top and bottom of the matrix. No indication is given of file size or format, nor that clicking Download generates a prompt to either sign-in or register for the service. New users must complete an online form that asks for contact details and a reason for wanting to use the photograph, though access is instant once they have submitted the form.
Cemex’s image download service is a lesson in user unfriendliness from start to finish and one that will inevitably frustrate its key audience of journalists and picture editors. Poor construction and an apparent lack of understanding of journalists’ technical and deadline-driven requirements combine to compound the effect.
While the wording of the initial link implies direct access to an image library, an intermediary step is interposed where the library has to be selected over again. The instructions for downloading are equally and similarly misleading: the Download click starts an extended process of signing in or registering, which will be all the more frustrating for being so rarely encountered – and therefore expected – in media areas nowadays. It’s arguable whether the process is necessary given the content and the details asked for, but not that some warning should be given of it to manage expectations. The layout of the library is unhelpful, forcing protracted navigation to gauge the extent of the content, for example, without the aid of even a topic index. The omission of details of individual file size and format leaves the promise of “high quality” images technically unverifiable – something that concerns picture editors as much as the visual quality, the more so ironically if, as here, the standard does indeed look high.http://www.cemex.com
First published on 13 May, 2010