|B.L. Ochman also writes the popular What's Next Blog.|
Because if visitors need to go to a special page beyond a site's homepage, the homepage isn't doing its job. You should know from the very first screen, exactly what a site is about.
Jakob Nielsen, the storied web-usability guru, recently completed a study of 63 sites run by entities ranging from large and small companies to government and non-profit sites to determine the quality of their About Us information. He determined that "companies and organizations still can't explain what they do in one paragraph."
I say we should be able to define what we do in a single sentence. And that it's even better to be able to explain what we do in a phrase.
Nielsen lists a bunch of reasons why an "About Us" page should be included on a site. But I think a tagline that explains what the company does and a well-organized homepage with clear menu options should be able to eliminate the "About Us" page.
Those who want to drill down to specific details should be able to find them easily in FAQs, Fact Sheets or executive team bios.
Just don't make us go to a separate page to find out what you do.
Related DigitalNext post: See Mat Zucker's point of view on "About Us" messages.