Notes on Chapter 7:

Designing the Home Page

Designing a Home Page? Here are the things you'll need to include:

Here are a few of my most frequented websites that contain most of the elements on Krug's list.|Rochester Community and Technical College, | and |Barnes and Noble.
I noticed that both RCTC and Barnes and Noble have their Feature Promos in an automatic slideshow; whereas, Amazon's Feature Promos require a click to move through them. I find the automatic slideshow to be frustrating when I'm on the college site because if it's important information, I don't like it disappearing from my view before I've had a chance to take it all in. When I'm shopping, on the other hand, I think it's a good idea to put as many different tantalizing items before the customers' eyes as possible. But, I think Amazon is doing quite well, so maybe they know something I don't know.

Some Goals For You to Keep in Mind

Use as Much Space as You Need, but Do Not Use More Space Than Necessary

How to Achieve the Right Balance

Carefully consider and prioritize your objectives for your site. Avoid the urge to add "just one more thing." There are a lot of things vying for space on your home page, so you'll need to make decisions wisely.

3 Important Places on the Home Page

1. Taglines *No tagline is needed if the site is already well-known
2. Welcome blurb 3. Learn More
I decided to look at a few local businesses here in Rochester to see how they do these things.
|Cafe Steam, a local coffee shop includes a virtual tour of their shop in this "Learn More" area. I think this might be because atmosphere is important to coffee drinkers. But this site had no taglines, no welcome blurbs and really not a very good use of space overall. I did not like the layout, and there did not seem to be a strategic hierarchy. Menu is positioned equally with Facebook and Instagram, About Us, Contact Us, and their Featured Promo - or the thing that conveys their uniqueness, Art. The coffee shop has really picked up steam (ha ha) in our town, but their website could benefit from a re-design.

|The Soccer Advantage is the store where we purchase all things soccer for my two sons, but we typically shop in the store. I never visited their website. I noticed right away that their tagline is actually their web address which seems like an odd choice given that the visitor already found the web site. I guess one could argue that because the word "soccer" is in the name, it doesn't need a tagline, but I actually don't find the store title very indicative of its purpose. In fact, when I first heard of the place, I thought it was more of a training camp, or a league's headquarters - not a retail store. There is no welcome blurb, and the "Learn More" is working for them as I think they effectively invite you to take in all that the home page has to offer. It does have several starting points, easy navigation and a featured promo area.

Finally, Test, Test and Re-test Your Home Page

The first few seconds on a home page should tell you:
  1. What it is
  2. what they have
  3. what you can do on that site
  4. why you should stay on that site and stop searching elsewhere
I am having one of those weeks! I needed a plumber, a mechanic, and a pediatrician, so I decided to use these three opportunities to test some websites. |Rochester Plumbing and Heating (great company!) is a nice home page. They make a nice use of their space by making room for their sponsors, showcasing their business and making the navigation easy. They don't really have a tag line, but since what they do is part of the title of their business, I don't think it's necessary. They do have a welcome blurb which is overtly meant to establish trust and credibility - along with a picture of a pleasant service technician. And they clearly have several starting points. I say it's pretty good for a local company!

The experience at the |Adamson Motors website was much different. The designer of this home page may not have heeded the cautionary advice about overloading the site. This is a very busy home page that takes some mental energy to navigate. No clear starting points - and very disorienting. The navigational pieces are there, but it's sort of like trying to read your road signs while driving through fast and heavy traffic while your kids are fighting in the back seat (an appropriate metaphor for a car dealership, I suppose). Not only was the site loud and cluttered, but I was bombarded with 2-3 pop-ups from the site: one for financing promos, one for a live chat with a sales person, and another one I didn't pay attention to. Each one of these interrupted my train of thought, causing me to have to re-focus each time.

Lastly, |the Olmsted Medical Clinic site, was another good model. The home page was quiet and serene like the plumbing site. Perhaps the designers know that when visitors are going to their sites, the visitor is already in a stressed situation, and it's important to present the site's content in a tranquil and organized manner. This site made it easy to navigate and they were very personable.

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