Homepage is the most important area of a website. The primary task of a home page should be:
- Benefits and Offers
Even if users are landing on inner pages from search engine or external links, they turn to homepage to know what the website does. Homepage is also one of the most visited areas of a website. Extra effort and attention is required to design a usable home page.
On an average a user spends 25-35 seconds on homepage which is why designing homepage is a complex task. The homepage should be able to make its point quickly and effectively and that too in 25-35 seconds. In this time a visitor has to go through introduction, announcements and figure out where to go next.
Lets us have a look at some of the essentials that must be present on all types of home pages:
- Introduction: Short and crisp introduction to let user know what a website is all about.
- How this website will help me or what it offers?: Once again a very important aspect of homepage design missed by lot of websites. A homepage should clearly portray the benefits it offers to its users.
- Latest Updates: New developments, latest products or exciting news is important for both first time and returning visitors.
- Links: Homepage is an entrance point to the website. Navigation should be planned properly to give clear and easy path to visitors so that they could accomplish their task with minimum number of clicks.
What about the amount of content on the homepage?
As mentioned earlier, a user on an average spends 25-35 seconds on homepage. Most of this time is spent on figuring out where to go next. That means a visitor is only going to spend 10-15 seconds for reading. Let us assume that on an average a person can read 5 words per second. This means that one should not have more then 60-100 words of reading material on homepage.
What about the scroll?
75-80% of the visitors are not going to see what lies beyond the first screen on homepage according to usability studies. So beware before making a long home page as it will only be read by 20% of your visitors.