Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Home Page

The Home page of a web site is the most important page. Obviously it is the very first impression a user gets about your company as well as your site. Its look will determine your company’s level of professionalism and its organization will determine the usefulness of your site. There are three key items to consider when building your site’s home page:
  • Provide easy access to the home page
  • Treat your home page as a “buffet” of your site
  • Quality is key
Provide Easy Access to the Home Page
Many users return to the home page of a site over and over. It’s the one place a user knows they can start from if they get lost in your site or if they need to begin an entirely new task on your site. Therefore, it is important to enable users the ability to navigate back to the home page from any page on your site. Many organizations link the company logo to the home page and while most users are familiar with this solution, it is ultimately best to have a link labeled ‘Home’ back to the home page.

Treat Your Home Page as a “buffet” of your site
At a buffet, all your food options are available for your choosing. The same should go for your home page. All your major choices of content should be presented here in a neat and organized fashion so as not to force a user to dive deeper and deeper to discover the full breadth of your sites content. Be selective about what you put on the home page, but make sure to present all the most important options available to a user which are relevant to the goals you’ve outlined for the site.

Quality is Key
If the buffet bar you attend serves up old food on dirty plates and you can’t even tell what it is, you probably won’t eat there. Yuck! The only message that conveys is that you are most assuredly going to get sick. Your home page is the same. A study found that when judging the quality of a web site, half the time users used only the home page as the measuring stick of quality. If you present a quality home page with a clean look and well- organized content that readily conveys what you have to offer, your users will expect that you are serving them quality content from a reliable source and are more likely to return.

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