5 guidelines that will help you build a better home page
Apartment hunting in New York? Hang on to your hat! My son Matt was looking for an apartment to rent. He started looking at 10 in the morning, and by noon he had signed the lease, gotten the key, and handed the realtor a brown paper bag full of $50 bills!
Living above the fold
Your home page is a lot like NYC real estate. Space is at a premium, and your users are moving fast.
And the most precious real estate on your home page is “above the fold” — that is, the part of the page that is visible without scrolling down. The area above the fold grabs 80% of your users attention. It’s also where users quickly form an opinion of your site.
Home page guidelines
- The basic rule of thumb: the user should be able to comprehend your site by the content displayed above the fold.
- Understand user behavior by reviewing your site analytics. No analytics on your site? No analytics on your site? We suggest installing Google Analytics — it will take a few months to gather enough data. And in future Brandscape issues, we’ll be looking at what you must know about analytics.
- Don’t get hung up on trying to cram lots of content on the home page! If the page lacks white space — visual breathing room — users will ignore your content no matter where it is.
- Relevant, concise, and well written content is just as important as page position. If your content is well written, your users will scroll down the page and read to the end.
- What about your mobile site, designed for tiny screens? The rules stay the same. But since scrolling is in the DNA of the mobile experience, the site has to work harder to remind the user there is deeper content below the fold.
The whole enchilada
Remember, the home page is just one part of a constellation of decisions leading to an effective website.
You need to think about:
- Your audience and what actions you want them to take
- Information architecture
- Content and voice
- Search strategy
That’s just the start!
FACT OF THE MONTH
Honolulu is the only place in the United States that has a royal palace!