First impressions are mixed. The clinical white backdrop on the homepage adds a dispassionate edge to a layout that's a lot more linear than intuitive. And there's relatively little about Intel's primary portal that instantly sets it apart from the crowd.
That said, a patient, closer inspection does reveal a softer and more emotional side to this large-scale corporate entity—and there are plenty of areas within the site that endorse Intel's allegiance to the concept of corporate citizenship. Examples include the company's Teach to the Future program, which since its launch in 2000 has trained 3 million teachers in 35 countries on the benefits of using technology in the classroom, and the World Ahead Program that aims to invest $1 billion over the next five years to improve the levels of technological accessibility and subsequent connectivity within many of the world's poorer populations.
The depth of Intel's corporate-citizenship content is representative of other sections of the site, and stresses the organization's cultural beliefs. Indeed, Intel's online library of services and information is positively labyrinth-like and there appears to be no end to the subjects that are covered. Whether you're looking for the lowdown on personal computing, chipsets, or motherboards; product support or downloads; or the latest R&D, you can relax knowing that Intel has it all online—just check out the level of granularity that's displayed within the site map.
It is clear from an online-engineering perspective that Intel's intent to leverage the Internet as a multipurpose platform is a key component of its overall communications strategy. The company's Reseller Center (located in the Resource Centers section) typifies this approach and contains all of the necessary tools and information that Intel's army of affiliates and associates should need to promote its products.
Likewise, Intel's global reach is facilitated by allowing users to select from almost 100 dedicated geographic portals, dependent upon their location and choice of language—although the link to this segmented area is somewhat small and, due to its location, could easily be missed.
This point is indicative of both the good and the bad of the website. On one hand, the company has gone to a great deal of effort to provide succinct and targeted data that is absolutely specific to a particular market segment, while on the other it disappoints by not making the data visible enough for most people to exploit.
In fact, while one cannot deny the quality of Intel's content and the company's commitment to ensuring that its culture transcends the challenges of cyberspace, the aesthetics of the homepage (plus one or two other pages) are a bit too one-dimensional for a business at the forefront of global technological development.
Given the resources at Intel's disposal, there is very little excuse for that.
Sure, the company could claim it doesn't want to overwhelm its stakeholders with animated imagery, and that it has simplified its proposition to cater to its wide audience. Notwithstanding these points, though, a little bit of primary engagement wouldn't hurt—nor would the replication of an Intel community that clearly goes beyond that of its resellers.
Because of its depth and scope and the ways in which it is clearly trying to galvanize the Web as a platform, Intel is close to having one of the best-branded websites available today. Unfortunately, though, it's not yet quite that leap ahead.