It probably goes without saying that a homepage is one of the most important pages of a site to get right. An eye-catching design alongside readable and intuitive content will most generally lure potential customers into purchasing your product or service. There are a few things to keep in mind when creating a homepage, however. Follow some of these suggestions to make your homepage more functional and attract more users, and potential customers, to your site.
I understand if you think this is an oxymoron, and at first glance it is. However, the principle behind the words is very sound. Like a table of contents in a textbook, a homepage is set up to give a quick glance to products and/or services of a business. Overloading a homepage with thousands of words of detailed content can be very overwhelming to a prospective client. Providing a wider overview of the rest of the site that raises the curiosity of users is paramount to the success of a site. The whole idea is to essentially summarize each piece of your site. Too little detail and a potential customer can become disinterested, too much and a customer can become overwhelmed and dissuaded. Finding the correct balance between the two culminates in the ideal homepage.
The DRY Principle
We’ve covered the DRY principle before in our blog, but in case you need a refresher essentially DRY is an acronym for “Don’t Repeat Yourself”. This principle is key to the success of a functional homepage. While it may seem like a good idea to load your homepage with links leading to a contact page or a receive a free quote page, cluttering up like this leaves users disinterested and turned off from your products or services. It’s a good idea to cover most pages on your site in a way listed above, but only once (or twice for certain things like call to action sections depending on the size of the page). Making sure that your content remains fresh to any potential reader helps to ensure that their attention remains directed to your product or service.
Finding a Balance
While this could definitely apply to either topic covered above, I’m more interested in approaching it from a design aspect. Some design features that can be put into a homepage to “spice it up” could be parallax, background videos, content transitions, and call to action sections. While these work to grab a users attention, it is important to know when you’ve struck a perfect balance. Overloading a page with videos and images can not only be unappealing to a potential customer, it can also severely increase the load time, turning some users off immediately. Overusing transitions and parallax can also make your page look like something thrown quickly together. Knowing when a perfect balance between design, user experience, and practicality has been struck is one of the many skills of a web designer that only get stronger with time.