Home Page is Not Everything!

by Vishal Mehta on September 12, 2012

in Design, Usability, Web Design, Websites

Home Page

Say a new guest is arriving at your home. You clean it up, replace the stained bed sheets, spray your wash rooms, take out the new soaps and hand towels and get it all ready to welcome the guest. What would the guest feel when your hospitality does not match your home quality? During the stay of the visitor, if you don’t take care of what eatables to serve, what conversations to carry, which TV programs to watch or what music to listen, the overall mood and ambiance created by your home goes for a toss.

home pageIn the parallel world of online presence, I feel the urge to question the importance (or relevance) to putting too much thought on Home Page alone. Granted it is the first face, first contact for the unassuming web visitor. But does it do justice to what your business stands for, the quality of your offerings, and your overall persona? If you have to think about the answer, it’s time you re-exercise the design of your organization, not just the Home page. Both should converge into one single unit. Your value and your voice (face) should match and be unified.

Just as importance is the spicy-ness of the food served to the guest, or the volume of your tone while talking to the guest; is how you convey your business message online and how you serve content in digestible portions to the web visitor. Just hiring a creative artist and wanting the most unique layout for your home page won’t do it for you. Details matter a lot. The best of the designs fail when detailing is missing. Similarly the content too! Don’t try to fit your content into the design; it should be the design that layers into your content. This specific topic is discussed in a previous blog post here.

Basically, let’s avoid too much obsession with the Home page. The recent web statistics show significant changes in user’s behavior and browsing patterns to seek content. My own Google Analytics represent a very tiny hit-rate when it comes to my home page, as against specific content-driven pages. We need to analyze this change and learn to focus little less on the home page.

One of the most used mechanisms by freelance designers is to rip off a design by searching through thousands of website templates available. This is a classic blunder of trying to fit a problem to a solution, without understanding the context and the users.

The design process should rather focus on your offerings and value, and make functional designs related to this content. Give out an individual feel to each of your content pages that it rightfully deserves. Right context for the right audience. For instance, why make a ‘Career’ page look similar to a ‘Service’ page? Both the sections have clearly different audience. A different look and behavior is not only justified, but it will go quite long if you achieve it. Leave home page for the last. Just like how people suggest about writing articles – you write it first and then think of a Title; that way more justice is guaranteed. Summary of what elements are necessary if a visitor lands up on the Home page, in order to feel accurately guided to his own interest areas – this is the correct approach to a Home page design.

Check your Home page now.

More on the subject…

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta

Vishal Mehta is a usability professional who loves to play chess and has a strong eye for details. He's also the CEO of IDYeah Creations, a UX practice in Pune, India. Vishal is also a guest blogger on UXBooth, Technorati, BlogCritics, and SAP Community Network.

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