Web Design: The Home Page
Posted 28 June 2013
It’s the first page that most of us think about.
The home page always features highly in our clients’ thinking. We often assume that it is the first page that our readers will visit, and we want to make sure that this part of our web design is as effective and high-impact as possible.a
Historically, this has often worked against effective website design. This desire can result in a tendency to cram information, products, services, special offers, social media channels and multiple calls-to-action into a homepage.
Whilst this approach is understandable, it is highly counterproductive; the goal is to give site visitors a great first impression and show them what your company has to offer. In reality a cluttered homepage will leave a poor impression of your business and either confuse or frustrate potential customers into checking out your competitors instead. It’s a web designer’s nightmare.
There are various ingredients that are essential in designing an effective home page, some of which might seem surprising. Leaving white space is very important, and it’s crucial that you don’t see it as valuable space lost. Harnessed with well-chosen typography and photography, a clean home-page will instead draw the reader’s attention to the text that you have included.
This forces you to think very clearly about what message your homepage is communicating, which is a very helpful exercise. It also means that you give greater impact to your key messages, helping visitors gain a better understanding of what they will gain from your company. It will simplify everything, and encourage visitors to check out the rest of your site. Leaving them wanting more is always better than packing your homepage with information that site visitors may or may not be looking for.
The idea that a user isn’t prepared to scroll through a homepage is well and truly redundant. In fact, some websites only navigate by encouraging the user to scroll down from the homepage into order to access further information. This lends itself well to websites that tell great stories and are highly engaging for visitors. It also encourages web designers to make more room for the details that you want to include.
If there are details that you want to incorporate into your homepage – contact details, social media integration, your latest blog or news article – don’t be afraid to use a footer. This is a fantastic way to include the information that you want (and is also a highly effective part of your SEO strategy) and avoids giving the impression that your website is lightweight or incomplete. However, it ensures that you can keep the main thing the main thing, and leaves your web design feeling clean and uncluttered.
Finally, the home page isn’t the only part of an effective web design; a percentage of your visitors will enter your website via search engines. However, getting the home page right will help you be more effective throughout your site and improve the user experience that you deliver.