Tuesday, July 6, 2010

To create a good home page... don't do this.

Every once in a while, a web site home page catches my attention, for the wrong reasons.

In this case, the London Health Sciences Centre.

Newspaper people use the term "above the fold" - the top half of the front page - to describe the most important portion of the paper. That term has carried over into internet vernacular, and appropriately so. The information on your home page that fits into the browser's screen (without scrolling down) is the most important portion of your entire site. LHSC has used that prime real estate for... the colour brown. What do we, the browsers, gain from looking at the colour brown? That's right. Nothing.

I took a screen shot of this home page a week ago or so, so I figured I should revisit the site to see if they had changed it since. Much to my surprise, they made the SAME critical error with their updated home page!

  • What does your home page say "above the fold"? More importantly, is it useful to the browser? And a photo of your building and the number of years you have been in business is NOT useful to anyone. Nice try.
  • Use this space to tell the browser why they should spend any time on this site.
  • Tell them why they should do business with you.
  • Tell them how they will benefit from using your product.
  • Tell them something!


What are your favourite home pages?

1 comment:

Dan said...

Someone has to say it: The best "Good Job!" version of this has to be Google's site. Yahoo, Altavista, and many other early search engines choked themselves under trying to fit too much above their fold. Google's been fairly stable and constant: Show what the user's there for, and nothing they're not there for. Make your money on the backend, once you know what they want.