Documents > Reports > Banking industry (December 2000 / January 2001)
Preliminary report
39 websites scanned - Dates: December 21, 2000 - January 18, 2001:
Arab Bank - Bank of New York Inter Maritime Bank - Amas SA - Coop - Diamantaire Anversoise SA - Dresdner Kleinwort Benson - Edouard Constant SA - von Ernst - Franck SA - Leu SA - Mees Pierson Gonet SA - Pasche Group - Piguet & Cie SA - Privée Edmond de Rothschild SA - Sarasin - SCS Alliance SA - Financière de la Cité - BNP Paribas SA - Clariden Bank - Crédit Agricole Indosuez - Crédit Lyonnais SA - Crédit Suisse - Deutsche Bank SA - Discount Bank Group - European Financial Group - Lloyds Bank Plc - Merrill Lynch Bank SA - Rabo Robeco Bank - Republic National Bank of New York HSBC - Royal Bank Financial Group - Standard Chartered Bank Ltd - Union Bancaire Privée - Union de Banques Suisses
Private bankers:
Bordier & Cie - Darier, Hentsch & Cie - Ferrier Lullin & Cie - Lombard Odier & Cie - Mirabaud & Cie - Pictet & Cie
1. General aspects:
1.1. Search engine visibility - Test: Yahoo, Altavista:
Amazingly deficient when considering the ordinary keywords used to perform the search - see hereafter; i.e. whether in French or English, only a couple of the above listed companies eventually appear on the first page of results?!
In order to provide a pretty large overview of the Banking Industry in Geneva and despite the statement made in the Documents area, we also scanned the websites of some renowned banks, which have their headquarters outside Switzerland.
The results here below are to be read as follow: the slash (/) indicates singular, then plural keywords; the hyphen (-) represents the keyword with a small letter, then a capital &/or the keyword without an accent, then with an accent.
Example: +bank/s +geneva - Geneva and the results 2 / 0 - 2 / 0 with Altavista, mean:
+bank +geneva = 2 / +banks + geneva = 0 - +bank +Geneva = 2 / +banks +Geneva = 0.
Research with the following combinations Altavista Yahoo
+bank/s +geneva - Geneva
+banker/s +geneva - Geneva
+private +banking +geneva - Geneva
+"private banking" +geneva - Geneva
+financial +advice +investment/s
+banque/s +geneve - genève
+banque/s +Geneve - Genève
+banquier/s +geneve - genève
+banquier/s +Geneve - Genève
+banque/s +privée/s +geneve - genève
+banque/s +privée/s +Geneve - Genève
+"banque/s privée/s" +geneve - genève
+"banque/s privée/s" +Geneve - Genève
+conseil/s +financier/s investissement/s
2 / 0 - 2 / 0
0 / 0 - 0 / 0
5 - 5
3 - 2
0 / 0
3 / 0 - 3 / 1
3 / 0 - 3 / 1
0 / 1 - 0 / 1
0 / 1 - 0 / 1
0 / 1 - 0 / 1
0 / 1 - 0 / 1
1 / 1 - 2 / 2
2 / 1 - 2 / 2
0 / 2
5 / 5 - 5 / 5
0 / 0 - 0 / 0
2 - 2
1 - 1
0 / 0
3 / 3 - 3 / 0
3 / 3 - 3 / 0
0 / 3 - 1 / 1
0 / 3 - 0 / 1
2 / 0 - 1 / 1
2 / 0 - 3 / 1
2 / 0 - 1 / 1
1 / 0 - 1 / 1
0 - 0
Knowing that a search engine's first page of results usually contains up to 20 items, the above (between 0 and 5) give an obvious idea of what efforts remain to be done accordingly...
1.2. Websites compatibility with browsers:
This analysis will be performed upon request...
2. Ease of download:
Reminder of the custom: Internet users will leave your website if a page is not loaded in less than 10 seconds! - i.e. the size of the related pages is bigger than 30 KB. Here, the average amount of slow pages sums up to 22%...
Clearly, no overall comment can be made; yet, we decided to consider the above websites according to their number of Mimes - "[...] besides email software, the Mime standard is also universally used by Web Servers to identify the files they are sending to Web Clients [...]"; the software used to perform the analysis considers the following Mimes: HTLM, images, executables, audio, video and others. We now have 3 categories:
> 20'000 Mimes
they incorporate Flash, audio/video technologies, Acrobat format, lots of heavy images, etc.; most of the time, surfing is really tricky: many pop-ups, different addresses (making it impossible to use the 'back' button), many clicks before actually obtaining the requested information, etc.
> 1'000 Mimes
they also incorporate the above technologies, but to a 'lighter' extent; surfing is fairly easier due to the smaller amount of pages, but depending on the images' weight, downloading time can be as long as half a minute! Remember the custom?
< 1'000 Mimes
most of these sites we scanned are basically 'brochures' on-line... Usually no sophisticated technologies are used and the navigation is as easy as turning pages, which somehow is a good point! - please see custom hereafter.
Many websites incorporate the Flash technology, which encourages design abuse, breaks the Internet fundamentals and distracts attention from the site's core value. One of the major Internet principles is INTERACTION - users control their own destiny; i.e. a website should provide them with the information they are looking for - as quickly and easily as possible - especially when it comes to global financial services! We do acknowledge the fact that a Flash session is very pleasant and could therefore be used... but scarcely! Thus always keeping in mind that users with a normal 56K modem connection will not be able to 'enjoy' it for what it is - a gimmick that only increases time of download; i.e. they will leave the site...
Audio/video technologies require specific players, which might not be integrated into basic computer installations. Should you offer a direct download of these programs from your site, never forget to mention time of download and size of the software; nothing is more irritating than being 'stuck' for half an hour...
Another custom states that the structure of a website should contain 3 to 5 levels maximum; i.e. any information should be reachable within 3 to 5 clicks (starting from the homepage)- the more complicated the structure, the bigger the risk of 'losing' your visitors!
Regarding images, it is indeed always amusing to see how people look like... Yet, is it not more important for you - in terms of Image - to provide your clients with the information they REALLY need, rather than with the bank's buildings worldwide? - unless it concerns the Real Estate department!... A far better solution would be to leave the choice of viewing whom - or whatever they want up to your visitors; e.g. a pop-up window or a separate 'album' section, and higher resolution pictures...
Obviously, we could no enter the e-banking/private sections when existing; therefore, it is impossible for us to consider them in terms of Ease of download.
3. Ease of use:
3.1. Broken links:
To date, all the surveyed industries show a very low number of broken links. What does it mean? Internally speaking, that the sites are well managed (regular checks and clean-ups), bringing to a minimum the number of bugs which could occur while surfing on a site - 1 good point!... Externally, it illustrates again, that these websites are not connected to others; i.e. they are functioning like islands ignoring one another - which is the exact opposite of the Web purpose... In doing so, they become invisible for search engines (e.g. Google), which pick up sites ONLY with regards to the number of links they have with other sites having a similar content.
Moreover, the most important argument is that broken links frustrate your audiences/customers and make you look bad...
3.2. Attributes:
An attribute consists of tags (information) regarding the height, width and alt (alternative text description for an object) of an image on a webpage. Adding these tags decreases the time needed for a browser to render a page when requested.
Furthermore, an alt tag (name) allows to reduces "further" surfing difficulties; i.e. for even slightly disabled people or for users with the 'image function' turned off.
Here, missing attributes average out at 48%, situation that could be rather easily improved... Yet, if adding an alt tag is technically VERY easy, think about the amount of patience needed when it comes to searching for every single image over hundreds or thousands of objects!!!...
Needless to say the more detailed a project is planned, the less amendments to be made later...
4. High quality content:
Again, an overall comment cannot be made... yet, one fact the above sites all have in common is the non-existence of a supplier 'information package', while not even half of them have a recruitment section! What about people who might be interested to join the company or potential 'office suppliers' (non production-process related goods), who would like to know which requirements they have to meet?
Another observation is that NOT all of them do e-commerce: why? Nowadays, it is possible to buy almost everything on-line... why not the full range of financial services, whatever the size and the activities of the bank?
5. Frequent updates:
Overall, 20% of the pages are more than 4 months old - but half of the sites stand between 25 to 67%!... however, this ratio depends on what kind of pages are old; i.e. indeed, a bank's history is not AS changing as the markets or the news - yet, when it comes to mergers and acquisitions, it IS another story!!!
Besides, the software used to perform this analysis determines the 'last modification date' by reading the header codes returned by the server when a page is requested. So, websites setting the 'date of the day' instead of the 'last modification date' of a page render the test impossible; i.e. some pages might be 'old' but they are not visible... we therefore cannot establish which elements should be 'updated' on the related sites.
However, what should be kept in mind is that updated information increases recurrent traffic, customer satisfaction and therefore helps building trust! - in addition to the fact that old content should be examined to ensure it is still relevant!?!...
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