IR Website Best Practices Part 1: Intuitive use
2 March 2017
By Tiffany Regaudie
The most effective IR website is one that successfully tells your investment story, by providing investors with compelling and informative context that ultimately influences their decision to invest.
While providing financial data and reports is important, what separates the best sites in the world are those that focus on providing context on the company’s strategy and clarity about the company’s execution and vision.
According to a 2016 Rivel Research Group survey of 353 buy-side professionals, 75% of the respondents say their interest in a company is diminished when the website is poorly designed. In our new whitepaper, IR Website Best Practices, we outline ways to make sure your website is keeping up with trends in intuitive use, mobile, corporate storytelling, financial information, and corporate social responsibility initiatives. Here’s part one of a five-part series, on how to make sure your website is keeping up with the latest best practices in IR websites.
Best practice #1: Intuitive use
A website’s navigation should be seamless, allowing the user to easily move throughout the site and explore. Keys to creating great user flow require user interface designers, programmers, writers, and management teams — all key contributors who understand trends and best practices in user experience. Your website provider will be able to do most of the heavy lifting, but a comprehensive understanding of your investor audience is the driving force behind the team of people creating a seamless user experience for your users. Here are some ways to make sure your website is as intuitive as possible.
An intuitive website tells a great story. Like a well-written book, your website should drive a compelling narrative that an investor will want to consume. The best websites are ones that funnel its users through a story without barriers to functionality — investors should be able to “flow” through your IR website so that they walk away knowing all essential elements of your corporate narrative, objectives, and vision.
When executed properly, good user flow can lower your site’s bounce rate (the rate at which people exit your site without visiting other pages) by allowing for a seamless transition from one web page to another. Elements of intuitive use include less menu options, less text, and more visuals that guide the user to calls to action.
Freshii, a Canadian fast casual restaurant franchise that IPO’d in January 2017, understands the importance of visual design as a way to smooth out navigation. Freshii’s IR website handles easy navigation in several ways. Their top navigation menu is clear and easy to access, while information below the fold highlights sections investors may be most interested in, including news, events, and latest financials. As the user scrolls down, the top navigation remains with sticky navigation so the user can easily access the main menu no matter how far down they have scrolled on the page.
Freshii’s top navigation remains with sticky navigation so the user can easily access the main menu no matter how far down they have scrolled on the page.
Easy access to presentations and events
Presentations and events are pertinent sources of information for investors and analysts, which underscores the importance of providing easy and intuitive access to this media on your website. As public companies build their roster of events and presentations, it can be tempting to fragment these materials by type across several pages; however, it’s important to instead group content in one place so that investors can find what they’re looking for within a “one-stop shop”.
Grouping related materials requires less clicks on the user’s end, which increases post-event engagement among investors. Your website is your opportunity to capture your events for those who weren’t able to attend, so it’s best to include as many interactive elements of your presentations as possible, including video, downloadable information, and interactive slideshares. The idea is to ensure your investor has access to as much of your events as possible, as they are a critical component of your corporate story and informing investors of your value as a company.
Intuit, a leader in tax preparation products in the U.S. that has been public since 1993, groups their calendar of events with presentations, past events, and most importantly, a featured event. When an investor searches for their events, they may only be interested in accessing an earnings webcast from a month ago — but they are presented with the opportunity to also engage with Intuit’s latest Investor Day video broadcast. This keeps the user on the website for longer periods of time, consuming more content.
Intuit groups their calendar of events with presentations, past events, and most importantly, a featured event.
How to handle a larger narrative
As a best practice, European IR websites may offer investors a more detailed, segmented online space for which to communicate their vision and corporate story. When any public company chooses to serve investors with more detail on their corporate narrative and strategic direction, navigation and user flow becomes even more important. The more a website grows, the more it can be difficult to maintain intuitive use.
For example, BP, an oil and gas company based in the UK, includes two menus on their homepage: a top navigation menu with a drop-down for each section and an additional left navigation menu with further detail broken out for users. The additional menu directs the user to more granular information, making it easier for the investor to sort through which part of the corporate narrative he or she may be interested in.
BP includes a top navigation menu with a drop-down for each section and an additional left navigation menu with further detail broken out for users.
Find out more about the latest in IR website best practices: keep an eye out on our blog or download our latest whitepaper to learn more about intuitive use, mobile best practices, corporate storytelling, presenting financial information, and corporate social responsibility showcasing.