Robinson cuts corners with new-look website

Robinson cuts corners with new-look website

4-Jan-2011 Source: HeliHub.com

Robinson Helicopter Co have launched a new website at http://www.robinsonheli.com.   Although no major content changes have been made, the new cleaner design is certainly easier to navigate than its predecessor.  Some new aspects of the site – particularly the World Dealer Locator Map – show that elements of new technology have been introduced.

Scratching the surface, though, it soon becomes clear that the image-freshening exercise is only skin-deep.  The Dealer Map is an integration with Google Maps, but the locations have not been thought through.  For example, HeliHub.com interviewed Frank Robinson in October 2010 at Sloane Helicopters headquarters at Sywell Aerodrome (see here), so we selected this company and launched the “get dirctions” option in Google Maps only to discover that their location is given merely as “Northampton” – the nearest major town – and the route ends up 7.9 miles away from Sloane’s offices.  Just to prove this was not a one-off error, we tried HeliAir, the other UK-based dealer.  It was not a particular surprise to see our route end in the middle of the town of Warwick, and while it is a well-recommended visit with a beautiful castle, we were still 7.0 miles away from the intended destination.

Our review of the site continued with the “online shop”, retained in the style of the old website, and its distinctly clunky look-and-feel makes us think they probably sell very little indeed through that route – surely a missed opportunity as they approach the production of their 10,000th airframe later in 2011.  If you do select a shop item, you then reach an unbranded screen where it tells you “To REMOVE an Item, set Quantity Qrderd to 0 (ZERO)” – so we can guess what “Qrderd” means, but why should we need to?

The Illustrated Parts Catalog has also not seen any update, and looks like it was designed at least 15 years ago.

Various other pages have just been copied straight from the earlier site, with our eye particularly catching the busy two dealer lists of USA and International and the list of suggested accomodation for those attending the Safety Courses.  This website revamp would have been the ideal time to revisit these three pages and make the website and email addresses clickable – no self-respecting website ever requires you to cut-and-paste a website or email address into your browser or email client.

Finally, it seems that publicity is less important than it previously was – media outlets will also be disappointed at Robinson removing the downloadable images associated with press releases.

Our conclusion is that this website re-vamp is a missed opportunity.

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