Learning From Fortune 500: Chevron Website Review

Chevron

Companies listed in the Fortune 500 are considered to be among the most successful companies worldwide. Chevron is the #3 on that list. What can we learn from the Chevron website?

Improving the Chevron website

Listed below are four of the main factors that stood out in the website review that I did for Chevron.com. It also features a small-scale experiment that I set up to get a glimpse at the level of perceived trustworthiness that people attribute to the Chevron website.

You should take into account that these recommendations are based on best practices. If you intend to use any of these findings on your own website, I strongly advise you to run an A/B test first to see if the results apply to your website as well.

1. Compressing images (Performance)

Currently on the Chevron homepage there are 28 images, 17 scripts and 5 stylesheets being loaded. Those 28 images combined are weighing 346.1 KB, the scripts 101.4 KB and the stylesheets 30.1 KB. Taken at first glance, these are pretty excellent numbers (especially the number of KBs per category). However, I found out there is a very easy way to improve the loading time of this page.

Release the Kraken

Kraken By pulling the initially visible slider image through the image compression software Kraken.io, I managed to reduce the total page size of the homepage by over 30%. That’s almost 1/3rd of the page size reduced, using a free tool, in less than a minute of time!

Given the volume of research that is published stating that faster websites convert better I’d urge you to have a look at your own images as well.

Image quality problems?

Before and after

If you’re worried about the image quality, I would like to point you to the adjacent image. What you see is a composite image. One half of the image is uncompressed (the original, as it is currently being displayed on the Chevron website), the other half is compressed with the aforementioned Kraken.io tool.

I challenge you to point out to me which half is which, and in the same likelihood, I would challenge your visitors to do the same for the images on your website.

2. Remove image slider (Usability)

Imagine I would poke you in the side every five seconds while you were reading this article. That would be pretty distracting now, wouldn’t it? Well, this is how your brain is reacting when you’re looking at the homepage of Chevron.

Their automatic slider switches images every five seconds, which immediately draws your attention away from what you were focusing on before, towards the movement that the primitive parts of your brain register instantly on the screen.

Kill your automatic sliders

Some of the world’s most prominent experts on conversion and usability have voiced their legitimate concerns about automatic sliders: Tim Ash, Peep Laja and Jakob Nielsen. I strongly urge you to read their articles before ever considering to put an automatic slider on your homepage, or any other part of your website.

3. Increasing font size (Accessibility)

Chevron fonts

As outlined in the (once) though-provoking piece 16 Pixels: For Body Copy, most websites would benefit from adopting a much larger font size.

They make the case based on the fact that people with less-than-perfect eye-sight are probably not comfortable reading small font sizes. The same arguments that were posited in the above mentioned article apply to the Chevron website just as well.

A larger font size for Chevron

Their website even takes it to the extreme by using font sizes as small as 9 pixels in height. By taking a look at the image that is displayed next to this paragraph, you can see for yourself.

The one on the left is how the website currently displays this block of text. On the right-hand side you can see the same block of text, boosted up to a minimum of 16 pixels for the main text. You can be the judge, which of these font sizes are more readable, and therefore more likely to persuade people of your benefits?

4. Increase trust further (Psychology)

In order to gauge the level of trust that people attribute to the Chevron website I ran a little experiment on UsabilityHub.

Methods

Chevron without logo Side by side, I ran two tests, which asked test subjects whether or not they thought the Chevron homepage looked trustworthy. However, in one of the screenshots, I removed the Chevron logo from the top right corner. Personally, my hypothesis was that the logo would account for a significant amount of trust that the website generated, especially given the Five second test format that I’ve used for this test.

Results

However, the results have proved me wrong. In the ‘with logo’ variation 15 of the test subjects stated Yes, 4 of the said No and 1 couldn’t be coded as a clear Yes or No. In the ‘without logo’ variation, the numbers were identical: 15 Yes, 4 No and 1 unclear.

Discussion

While I know that clearly no big decisions should ever be made on such a small sample size (40 people) as I’ve used for this little experiment, for me it signals two things:

Hypothesis are made to be tested

Firstly, hypotheses aren’t always correct, and only by validating them, you can make the most of the information that experts can provide you. While A/B tests are currently the most popular form of making these decisions, not all websites have the resources (time, money, knowledge) available to test everything.

Small findings can open big doors

Secondly and lastly, given these results I would try to isolate which aspects of the homepage did contribute significantly to the positive evaluation that the people gave it. After all, out of the total sample, with the variations of ‘with logo’ and ‘without logo’ combined, a full 75% evaluated the homepage as trustworthy. Some of the factors I would try to isolate and increase in order to boost the trust further would include the following:

  • Images: Chevron could test whether using different images on the homepage would increase their level of trust even further. For example, how about if they had used a people-based image instead of the technology-based one that is currently the first image of their slider?
  • Colors: Another thing the company could look into is their color palette. Because people associate different values to different colors, for example increasing the amount of blue used on the page could potentially increase the perceived level of trust people have in it.
  • Symbols: An organization as large as Chevron must meet the criteria for a whole list of trust symbols. For example, listing that the are the current #3 on the Fortune 500 list could potentially improve the level of trust that people will attribute to the company.

Theo van der Zee

Author: Theo van der Zee

He is the founder of ConversionReview. He has been building and optimizing websites for 15+ years now, and doing so with great success.

On top of his digital skills, Theo is also a trained psychologist and frequent speaker at events around the world.

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