Sequence recently redesigned www.chevron.com, corporate web site of the sixth largest company in the world. As part of a major repositioning campaign, Chevron asked us to communicate the theme of “Human Energy” through a totally new approach to their web presence. Chevron is seeking to change negative perceptions about the oil and gas industry by educating their various audiences about the approaches Chevron is taking to energy exploration and delivery. The company wants to convey its investment and involvement with energy, environmental and community issues worldwide in a straight-forward, authentic fashion consistent with its culture, without being perceived as “green washing.”
Chevron has a wealth of information about its many lines of business, operating in 180 countries around the world. Our challenge was to provide that information in an engaging fashion at appropriate levels of detail for different users. Because of these requirements we structured and designed the site using a conceptual model which we called ‘Speak When Spoken To’. When thinking of the web we typically use metaphors like “navigating” or “browsing.” These terms suggest that we are traveling or somehow moving to and through websites. What if, instead of “going” to get the information you want, it was brought to you?
Using dynamic presentation tools such as AJAX and Flash we created an environment that encourages the user to request information by rewarding them with rich, dynamic content and interaction. By providing contextual help with term definitions and by surfacing relevant content wherever possible we can give the users context for the content. This approach guides users quickly to information appropriate to their needs and enables them to uncover information to the level of detail they desire without causing them to have to leave the page.
Another challenge was that Chevron was interested in telling the “Human Energy” story in an authentic but impactful way, while enabling the content to be updated easily. Sequence developed a series of “interactive stories” integrating video and other content, such as original illustrations created by Sequence, compiled in Photoshop using Illustrator, Flash and other tools. We created the framework for the stories using XML so that the stories are updatable, flexible and dynamic. The sophisticated Flash elements convey interaction, but the rest of the story content can be easily edited. The result is a series of vignettes which not only give users information about how various parts of Chevron’s business works (like Geothermal) but conveys the flavor of the company as approachable and eminently human.
Through the clean, straight-forward and warm visual and interaction design of the site, we accomplished Chevron’s objective of having its primary web presence communicate the Human Energy story–consistent with the tone of its advertising and print campaigns, but fully utilizing the unique interactive power of the web.