Being a usability leader is a relatively new position for SAP.com. Although the site has been steadily climbing up the Usability ladder on the eBusiness Index for the past five years, it was only a year ago that SAP.com knocked Cisco.com out of first place.

But SAP.com doesn’t have a lock on the top spot. The 0.1% that stands between the two means SAP.com virtually shares the throne with its nemesis, Cisco.com.

Who will win the leadership title next year is anyone’s guess. However, both sites have unique best practices that all but guarantee them a spot at the top of the roster.

So, what are the secrets to SAP.com and Cisco.com’s success – and what can you learn from these top-ranking sites?

SAP.com

Although SAP.com doesn’t win the race by a wide margin, it’s still in the position to hold onto the top spot moving forward. Why? The site earns several first place Sub-Category rankings and wipes out the competition in the Usability by Dimension rankings. This performance shows that SAP.com isn’t a one-trick-pony but, rather, a jack-of-all-trades.  

For example, SAP.com is a corporate marketing powerhouse.

It’s the leader in Online Recruiting thanks to the zone’s logical architecture, abundant content, and bold page design. The recruiting zone home page uses lively imagery and clear calls to action to entice visitors to learn more about the company and application process. Then it delivers a wealth of information using videos and short summaries that keep the recruit’s attention. Finally, it taps into social media to share its story with the masses. When wrapped together, it is the perfect mix of brains, beauty, and personality that can easily put SAP on the employment shortlist.

SAP.com also bests its competitors in Corporate Marketing with its wide variety of topics, ease of access to information, and use of media. Once again, it efficiently uses small bites of content and data to deliver a ton of information that educates visitors about the company and its programs. And SAP.com’s beautiful lightboxed PDF viewer makes downloadable documents appear as if they are part of the site.  

The one surprise is that SAP.com takes the Usability win away from the long-time leader in Channel Marketing, Oracle.com’s OPN site. SAP.com consistently uses videos to educate prospective partners and pairs them with summaries that invite visitors to learn more. What is most refreshing is that the site puts the content first by making the “Apply” link always present but not aggressively displayed.  

But it’s no slouch in the product and services marketing arena either.

SAP.com ranks within the Top 3 in Product, Services, and Industry Marketing, with Industry Marketing being its strongest suit. SAP.com’s industry marketing success begins by highlighting its products to a slew of industries. Then it gives quality time to each one by providing a complete library of content and resources that show that SAP really understands each sector.

If improving industry marketing is on your to-do list (and it should be given the state of industry marketing on most sites), SAP.com’s robust industry marketing pages are the perfect place to start looking for inspiration.

Where the site really shines is by helping users with their tasks and achieving their goals.

SAP.com ranks in the Top 3 in every Usability Dimension we track— and it steals first place in over half. This means its navigation, content, and systems are easy to find, use, and understand.

These wins come as little surprise. The site’s robust navigation structure allows visitors to get anywhere from everywhere, and its summary content approach effectively packs a lot of information in small packages. Add in its attractive ecommerce, PDF viewer, search engine, and marketing systems, and you have a site that easy to use and beautiful too.

There are other hot spots to visit too.

Although the site comes in 11th in the eCommerce sub-category, don’t be fooled into thinking SAP.com doesn’t know what it’s doing. This site ranks first in the Online Selling & Sales Links Usability Dimension and second in the Call to Action Sub-Category. So, if cloud ecommerce and call to action are in your domain, SAP.com is a site worth visiting.

The bottom line…

You can go anywhere on SAP.com and find a ton of inspiration and best practices that you can apply to your site.

Cisco.com

Cisco.com is another stellar site that you should look to for best practices. However, you will want to focus on specific areas and features.

If you decide you want to follow in Cisco.com’s footsteps, however, hold onto your wallet. It has been working on its best-practice-class systems and strategies for eons, so trying to match Cisco.com will likely come with a hefty price tag.

The best example is Cisco.com’s best-of-breed search engine.

Not only is Cisco.com’s search engine easy to find, but it also provides an impressive number of predictive search suggestions. But its post-search features and results are what put Cisco.com in the top spot.

It has the most search filters (with search engines to find a filter) of any site on the Index, including searching by category, type, and product. Then, the results deliver relevant zone navigation options at the top, other suggested links, and videos that best match your search.

In short, if you can’t find what you are looking for using Cisco.com’s search engine, then it probably doesn’t exist.

Its call to action panels are also top-notch.

In the past, Cisco.com’s call to action panels were a bit varied in design, placement, and options. In the past 12 months, however, the team has settled on a consistent approach across most site areas.

Today, Cisco.com’s calls to action are always under the page feature image and ride on a sticky header for easy access from anywhere on the page. Its design also blends with other navigation options, so the link isn’t screaming “click me” as you’re trying to read the content.

What makes Cisco.com’s call to action panel stand out from the crowd is its variety of contact options. It has the ubiquitous phone number, but also provides links to chat (which eliminates the annoying footer bubble found on most sites), have a sales rep call you, find a reseller, or connect with sales staff in other regions. Best of all, it provides the hours of availability so that you know when you can get a hold of someone.

But there’s more to the story.

Cisco.com is the Search and Call to Action leader, but it has other practices also worth checking out. Its informative link summaries on product pages are expertly crafted to give visitors just enough information to get them to the resources they need. Also, its legendary collection of communities is not only robust but a work of art

The bottom line…

Cisco.com is definitely worth the trip to find best practices. You just need to plan your journey carefully and be selective about what you take home.

About the siteIQ Usability Index

siteIQ evaluated the twenty-five Tech Websites listed on the 2020 siteIQ Usability Index. These Websites are categorized into five industry-specific segments including:

  • Software (Adobe.com, Citrix.com, IBM.com, Microsoft.com, Oracle.com, SAP.com, Symantec.com)
  • Systems (CDW.com, Dell.com, HPE.com, Huawei Enterprise, IBM.com, Intel.com, Lenovo.com)
  • Networking (Cisco.com, Juniper.net, PaloAltoNetworks.com, Riverbed.com)
  • Cloud (AWS.com, Google Cloud, Salesforce.com, VMWare.com)
  • Consumer (Apple.com, Dell.com, HP.com, Lenovo.com, LG.com, Samsung.com)

These in-depth evaluations were conducted using the 2020 edition of the siteIQ Usability Index Best Practices Benchmark, which tracks results in 18 sub-categories and 16 Usability Dimensions.

The 2020 evaluations were performed during the first quarter of 2020.

Category: Index Rankings

Class: Website Reviews and Rankings

Websites Profiled: siteIQ Usability Index Websites – Tech Industry

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