Cisco Systems: The Best Global Enterprise Technology Website

Cisco Systems logo

Cisco Systems logo

We studied 12 enterprise technology websites for the 2013 Web Globalization Report Card.

The Web Globalization Report Card is an annual benchmark of how effectively companies internationalize and localize their websites and applications for the world.

Out of those 12 companies, Cisco Systems emerged on top.

Cisco emerged on top for three main reasons.

First, it leads the category in languages with 40 (not counting English), followed by IBM and Xerox.

Second, as shown below, the website is globally consistent.

Cisco global consistency

Cisco supports a global template that is flexible enough to support local content and promotions.

Third, Cisco leads the sector in its support for locally relevant social networks.

Shown below is the template used on the .com website:

Cisco Social in English

And here is the template used on South Korean website:

Cisco Social in Korean

Note how the template supports the insertion of locally specific feeds.

Many companies still cling to the idea that they can support just one English-language Twitter or Facebook page for the world.

But all this feed does is reach English speakers around the world. If you’re really serious about a given country you need to fully support its languages. And Cisco is well ahead of most companies in its support for local-language social networks and videos.

Regarding global navigation, there is still room for improvement. The gateway relies on a pop-up window, shown here:

Cisco global gateway

I’d prefer to see Cisco use a globe icon to highlight the gateway in the header (instead of simply using a “Worldwide” link). And the gateway itself could be better executed.

That said, Cisco is by far the leader in the global enterprise technology category — and it is also a top 5 website.

Here are the 12 enterprise technology websites included in the 2013 Web Globalization Report Card:

  • Autodesk
  • Cisco Systems
  • Dolby
  • EMC
  • IBM
  • Intel
  • NetApp
  • Oracle
  • Renesas
  • SAP
  • Texas Instruments
  • Xerox

Read more in the 2013 Web Globalization Report Card.

Also included with the Report Card is the Enterprise Technology Website report.

 

The top 25 global websites from the 2013 Web Globalization Report Card

Top 25 global websites of 2013

UPDATE: The 2017 Web Globalization Report Card is now available.

I’m pleased to announce the top-scoring websites from the 2013 Web Globalization Report Card. This is the ninth annual edition of the report and it’s always exciting to highlight those companies that have excelled in web globalization over the years.

Google is no stranger to the top spot, but this is largely because Google has not stood still. With the exception of navigation (a weak spot overall) Google continues to lead not only in the globalization of its web applications but its mobile apps. YouTube, for example, supports a 54-language mobile app. Few apps available today surpass 20 languages; most mobile apps support fewer than 10 languages.

Hotels.com has done remarkably well over the past two years and, in large part, due to its investment in mobile websites and apps. While web services companies like Amazon and Twitter certainly do a very good job with mobile, I find that travel services companies are just as innovative, if not more so.

Philips improved its ranking due to its improved global gateway. And Microsoft and HP also saw gains due to their website redesigns, which also included improved global gateways.

New to the Top 25 this year are Starbucks, Merck, and KPMG.

As a group, the top 25 websites support an average of 50 languages. And while this number is skewed highly by Wikipedia and Google, if we were to remove those websites the average would still be above 35 languages.

The companies on this list also demonstrate a high degree of global design consistency across most, if not all, localized websites. This degree of consistency allows them to focus their energies on content localization, which these companies also do well. And more than 20 of the companies support websites optimized for smartphones.

I’ll have more to say in the weeks ahead. You can download an excerpt here.

And if you have any questions at all, just ask.

 

Don’t blame phishing on IDNs

I received a friendly email from Twitter awhile back.

It was fake.

I (stupidly) clicked on the link and was greeted with a login page that looked very much like Twitter’s real login page at the time.

Here’s a screen grab (note the bogus address):

I mention this now because I keep coming across stories about how internationalized domain names (IDNs) may be inherently dangerous. That if you start allowing all these additional characters in domain names you’re going to see many more instances of phishing (or IDN spoofing or homograph attacks).

I don’t dispute that these attacks are happening and will continue to happen.

I just want to make the simple point that phishing has been alive and well with plain old ASCII characters.

Maybe IDNs, as they become more popular, will lead to more problems. They probably will. But we’ve had our fair share of phishing attacks with Latin-based characters and I don’t ever read an article or blog post suggesting we eliminate these characters from the DNS.

Risk is, unfortunately, a sad fact of life on this crazy world wide web. And, yes, there are  IDN scenarios (like mixed scripts) in which IDNs could present the “bad guys” with exciting possibilities. So far, these scenarios have been limited reasonably well.

The key is to minimize risks while still allowing people around the world to interact in their native languages.

IDNs, warts and all, are important to the future of the Internet.