Often, deciding what content graces a web-site’s home is the most difficult portion of mapping out a project. Why? In many ways, the home page is a nebulous entity. We all know what goes on News, Portfolio, Contact, etc. However, there is no formula for what belongs on the home page.
A List Apart has published Home Page Goals by Derek Powazek, a short read with useful reminders that urge designers to think critically about new and repeat visitors’ experiences online.
When visiting a website, new visitors are asking, What is this place? Powazek pints out that you’ve got about 3 seconds to answer this question – 3 seconds! How do you go about that?
The folks at 37signals offer promising direction, promoting big text and lots of up front information (for example, take a gander at their home page).
Also, repeat visitors musn’t be bogged down by the home page. They should have a glimpse of what is new and have the option to quickly move on to sections they may want utilizing consistent and clear navigation.
Sure, many of the ideas put forth in Home Page Goals are pretty basic and perhaps a repeat of knowledge most web designers posses. However, I plan to peek over this list each time I’m designing a home page, as the ideas are instantly applicable and necessary to ponder.