BC501 eBusiness Fundamentals

Website Analysis
Due Date: Lecturer: Ian Knox Tutor: Ian Knox

Submitted By: Todd Boswell Student Number: 2553507

In the analysis students are to use theoretical concepts learnt from: lectures, reading, and web research. Where theory is used or discussed it must be correctly referenced. A report will not pass unless correct referencing style is used. The report must also contain screen captures of the pages from the website discussed. These screen captures must be contained in appendices and referenced within the text so the reader can see what is discussed in the report. The area of website analysis is a contentious issue. Web analytics is an evergrowing tool used in website analysis. Web analytics and metrics are often used interchangeably. “Metrics are an integral part of all businesses and it can be a major $ expense both directly and indirectly.” (Knox, 2007, Week 3). The most common form of metrics used on most websites are “hit counters” which record the number of visits that the website has had. In order to enable a “first look” analysis the following criteria will be utilised to ensure that the websites analysed are judged based on the basic functions that first time users will be trying to use.
1. Is the company name and logo on every page? Is it linked to the home page? 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Does the site have search (if needed) and does it work adequately? Are headlines and page titles clear? Are photos well placed, and a suitable size? Do links work and clearly describe the page they will lead to? Is font size and colour easy to read against the background?

7. 8. 9.

Is the transaction process simple and secure? Are transactions acknowledged and can shipping be tracked? Does the site have contact information and/or help?

10. Is the purpose of the website clear? 11. Do I TRUST this web site with my information? 12. Can you leave feedback or extend the relationship e.g. newsletter?

This will be the primary basis for my analysis of these three websites. I will also attempt to include “real world” scenarios which have occurred whilst using these websites for my work in a Financial Planning firm. However my primary analysis will be based on looking at the websites from a first time user point of view. Commonwealth Securities Ltd. www.commsec.com.au In order to analyse a website and/or business it is necessary to discover where the business has come from, and its purpose for creation. “CommSec (Commonwealth Securities Limited) commenced operations in 1995 as a low cost telephone based share trading service for the 'Do it Yourself' investor. In 1997, the CommSec Internet site launched, developing the business to become Australia's leading broker”. (Commonwealth bank of Australia, 2007). Within the CommSec website on first appearance it seems to harbor all of the attributes of a company associates with the Commonwealth Bank, however the only time that you actually see that CommSec is owned by CBA is the small logo which appears in the corner of each page.

Image From: www.commsec.com.au This could be a problem for overseas users and people who are unaware of the connection between the two companies. Commonwealth Bank should ensure that they are “cashing in” on the name and reputation they have established for themselves over the years and transfer this to their online trading site CommSec. The commSec website doesn’t include a search function which is a bit remiss seeing as though first time online investors are most likely not to have too much knowledge of where to find the options they are looking for on the website. One thing the Comsec website does well is that its colourings and its headings are very easy to see and read on each and every page. When you first load the site, you are shown a tolbar on the left which enables navigation to most of the sites major functions, and also a page with relevant news and options for the first time user.

Image From: www.commsec.com.au It is safe to say that there aren’t too many photo’s on the CommSec website; however there are tables and graphs used in order to convey the sway of the market. The tables and graphs used are of an adequate size for most users to be able to see, without looking tacky and unprofessional. The links and link names are used rather well on this website, most of the links on the left hand toolbar are broken into sub-links when clicked on, which allows for are more tailored navigating experience for the first time user. However this can sometimes also lead to increased confusion due to the user forgetting which main link to click on in order to find the desired sub-link.

Image From: www.commsec.com.au As you can see above, the “invest in” link drops down into many varied categories of types of investments and securities in which to be invested. The transaction process used on Commsec’s website enables a user to become a regular online trader through their website. The joining process was rather annoying as it wasn’t wholly online. The first half of the process involved online identity registration and then led to a page to print, fill in and sign, which had to be mailed to CommSec and processed in a few working days. This aside, the transactions through CommSec’s online trading system are all very secure as can be imagined. Transactions are all recorded an emailed to your desired email address along with the relevant contract notes upon purchase or sale. The CommSec website has a help section and hotline which is open during weekdays 8:00am – 7:00pm. The help section has FAQ’s and also internet and computer requirements necessary for the websites features to work efficiently.

The purpose of the website is not as clear as it could be for the first time visitor. The websites slogan “everything for the DIY investor” does not implicitly say that the website offers online share trading, it may be construed as merely being a share analyst and information website. The website comes from a very reputable parent company (Commonwealth Bank of Australia) therefore I trust the site with my information. However this brings me back to my point earlier about the need for further identification of CommSec’s affiliation with CBA in order in evoke that sense of security. There is no area to leave feedback, the only type of contact is to email with account enquires or ring the hotline listed earlier. There are no newsletters, however once you become a member the website becomes increasingly useful and new features are able to be used with your account login information.

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) www.asx.com.au

Image From: www.asx.com.au The opening page of the ASX website is very busy with multitudes of information that can be quite daunting at first. However once navigated a few times it’s quite useful having tools which may be used on many occasions on the front page, rather than having to search through navigation bars. The ASX logo is on every page of the website and is situated in the top left hand corner.

Image From: www.asx.com.au The ASX has a very useful search feature, which can be used to look for any security information, such as company announcements or reports. Because of the magnitude of information on this website the search function comes in handy for regular users, and first time users alike. Headlines and pages are titled clearly, however the first impression is that most pages are very cluttered and full of too much information in one area. Some pages can have up to 5 or 6 sub-headings and even more information under them.

Image From: www.asx.com.au Much like the CommSec website, the ASX site has minimal photos but utilises tables and graphs quite frequently. The images which are utilised on the ASX website seem to be of a suitable size, however they may be a bit confronting for first time users, as they have rather detailed information included in

them. The graph below is a common example, which, as you can see is not designed for first time investors or users.

Image From: www.asx.com.au The links within the Australian Stock Exchange Website are all very reliable. Through first time analysis and also continued use, I am yet to find a broken link. All links are underlined and usually in blue so as to identify them at first glance. Each link is well labelled to enable better knowledge of where it will lead to. However some of the links are topic based, which means that the name of the link is the same as the heading of the report or course of action being taken by the particular company. This can be hard at times when searching for a particular announcement without knowing the actual topic name. The font within the ASX website is very clear and easy to read. The first impression of the website is that it is rather crowded with text. This can be rather daunting for first time visitors, especially when pages such as Commsec and Citigroup (whom I will analyse next) have pages which are rather easy on the eye and aesthetically pleasing. Using a white background

is quite boring, however it always allows for a nice contrast between it and the text, this has been used throughout the ASX website. The transaction process through this website is used to sign up for “My ASX”, this feature allows registered users to: • • • • Take online classes Create personal watchlists Learn how to start and run an investment club Subscribe to monthly email newsletters.

The process involved in signing up for My ASX is fairly simple. All that is required is to fill in some regular details, (name, birth date etc.), along with your preferred securities to trade in (if any). Once signed up you will use the username and password you selected earlier in order to log in. Once signed up with the ASX you can receive information about certain stocks and investments when needed, or on a regular basis. The ASX website has a frequently asked questions sections with multiple scenarios about different areas of the website. It also has a “contact us” section where feedback can be left about any of the sites features. Because the website is solely for the purpose of the Australian Stock Exchange it is rather obvious of the intention of the site. However what is not obvious are the features of the website. When I first visited ASX.com.au I was unsure whether they may have provided an online brokerage service like Commsec and Citigroup. However after some hunting around and asking

colleagues it was apparent that they don’t. Things such as this are not immediately apparent to first time users of the website. Because the ASX website is such a reputable source, and the entity has been around for many years, I am confident that most first time users would be comfortable with the security of their information being held by the ASX. Citigroup Wealth Advisors (Citigroup) www.citigroupwealthadvisors.com.au

Image From: www.citigroupwealthadvisers.com.au Overview As a company Citigroup Wealth Advisors describe themselves as “… the retail brokerage arm of Citigroup Capital Markets Australia, and a global full service financial organisation. One of the largest and most successful firms in the United States and Australia...a leader in the financial services industry.

[Offering] a broad range of financial products and services, including equity and fixed income investments, cash management facilities, financial planning and more” (Citigroup Wealth Advisors, 2007). As a website and service Citigroup explain that “Through the Citigroup Wealth Advisors Website you can view the most up-to-date information on your investment portfolio, details on your share transaction history, and information on any unsettled trades. You can also create a personalised watch list, check market depth, use charting facilities and view live share prices online - allowing you to easily follow the value of your choice of stocks” (Citigroup Wealth Advisors, 2007). Throughout the Citigroup website the company logo is present on every page and there is also a function within each sub-page to click the “home” button and return to the start-up (home) screen. The Citigroup Wealth Advisers website has a very useful search function within its site. This enables first-time users who are not familiar with the overall layout of the site to quickly find what they need. The headlines and page titles within the page frame could be a little clearer, they are often the same size as the rest of the text within the website and are only distinguished by a slightly different color and underlining. They also often have obscure headings, which is mostly due to their high turner in

order to provide up to date information (obviously the link is just a snippet of the overall article in question).

Much like the other two websites (CommSec and ASX) there are not too many photos utilized. As you can see below, the graphs utilized are often very clear and easy to read (depending on the information needed).

Image From: www.citigroupwealthadvisers.com.au As earlier mentioned, the links provided on the Citigroup website are often labeled as a snippet of the related article. More often than not this gives a good indication of where the link will take you, however it can often be a frustrating task to read the unusually long links. I did not encounter any broken links within the Citigroup website.

I like the use of plain white background with black for normal text, and blue for links. However as I mentioned earlier the links could be made to stand out a little more, by either using a different color or increasing their font size. The Citigroup logo colors are used well throughout the website as a contrast from the stark white background. In order to sign up with Citigroup and use many of their impressive and in depth research features it is necessary to be an existing brokerage account holder.

Image From: www.citigroupwealthadvisers.com.au The “Register Now” button allows first time users to register in order to use Citigroup’s research functions. There are also brokerage signup forms which can be downloaded and filled in. This process is not completely online, much like the other two websites analyzed; this is because of signature verification. There is a FAQ section within the website; however it is not very impressive as it only has a limited amount of scenarios from which to select and option (four in total). However the customer support section is far more expansive and also allows contact with the service provider. Conclusion

Through analysis of the three websites above it is apparent that each site has both pros and cons associated. By using a structures analysis it was possible to easily compare the three websites and identify their strengths and weaknesses quite easily.