Monday, November 12, 2007

Make Customers Feel at Home on the Home Page, the Successful Websites Rule

The home page serves as an entry point to the navigation scheme and user choices for the rest of the website. It also sets the tone for the customer's visit. It must be inviting and informative It should answer the question, "What can I do with this website'?"

Customer Insight

Customers verbally and physically reacted strongly to home pages. The following customer comments are representative of their reactions:

  • Internet 2010My first reaction when I see this screen is 'Wow!' There are lots of things to read. I want to find what I'm looking for and get it:'
  • I hate it Websites are supposed to make your life easier:'
  • The home page had so much stuff on it, I didn't see the search box, So I didn't use it. I felt stupid trying to find it."
  • "It's as busy as heck:"
  • This has lots of advertising on it, and I find it kind of distracting. It takes me a while to figure out how I can get where I need to go:'
  • Boy, there are lots to look at laughs nervously. It's a very busy website. I really hate looking at that much advertising:'
  • They have too much information. When I'm looking for something specific. I want to find it easy and fast. If I go to a site and don't see it readily available, I don't stay on the site I go somewhere else."

People had physical reactions to the home pages through body language. Especially in their facial expressions. Some people became nervous or agitated just looking at busy websites, and they physically withdrew. They sat back in their chairs and folded their arms trying to avoid proceeding with the tasks.

Invite customers to shop and feel at home on the home page by applying the following recommendations:

  • Inform the customer clearly what the website does, what she can do with it and why she should care.
  • Use simple and direct language to clearly state what your company does and why visitors should work with or purchase from your company.
  • Structure the home page clearly.
  • Detail any available resources on your site.
  • Ensure that navigational areas are recognizable at first glance.
  • Enable customers to link back to the home page from any interior page in one click (company logo, bread-crumbing).

Home pages should factor in clarity and accessibility for the customer.

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