08 Feb Two Things to Consider When Designing a Homepage
When a visitor arrives at your website they are generally looking for information. Different visitors may be looking for different types of information, but they will all be looking for information. The visitor will generally have a quick glance at your home page and decide whether the site has the information they require. If it is not easy to find the information that they need then they will return to the search engine or directory where they found your site and try the next site.
Given that this is how most people use the Internet what implications does it have for web design? There are two main implications here that must be considered, the structure of the information on the page and the look of the page.
The first factor to consider when designing a home page is how you structure the information. Since most visitors arrive at the homepage prepared to spend a few seconds searching for the information they want, your home page has to provide a guide to the information that is contained in the rest of your site. This guide has to be structured in such a way that a user can find, at a glance the section of your site that contains the relevant information.
The second implication is the look of your site. Although the structure of the information is of primary importance this does not mean that you can ignore the look of your site, especially if it is a business site. The visitor will make a judgement on the credibility and professionalism of your company based on the quality of your website. There for it is important that the design of the page promotes a professional image.
So when designing the home page you want to consider all the information that your site will contain and design your home page so that it provides a brief overview of the information in each section of your site. When deciding on a look for your site it is important that it looks good, without being over cluttered with bells and whistles. It is generally better to use a conventional approach to the navigation. For example you can use Flash to create navigation with different animation affects, but you need to ask yourself will a visitor wait several minutes for the Flash plugin to download before they can use the navigation. Another drawback with Flash is a search engines may not be able to follow the links created in Flash.