To put it mildly, usability is one of the most important of aspects of a web design. Usability is what that makes your website easier for your visitors and help them digest the information you have presented in front of them. And when it comes to homepage, making your design easy and delightful for your users to explore is the only key.
There are so many guidelines and tips that can be applied to a web design, but they are especially critical to follow when it comes to homepage. Your homepage is the only tool to attract and retain customers. The way you design the homepage of your website determines the extent of the potential customers visiting your website and improving your online presence.
In this post, we are going to discuss about some handful dead-simple tips and guidelines for souping up the usability of your homepage. The tips are not at all exhaustive, and are merely provided to equip you with some useful ideas that you can implement right away.
1. Include a Tag Line
A tagline is basically a statement that represents a company’s philosophy, mission, and value to its customers. A meaningful tagline conveys a lot about the personality of a business and also describe your website in a single phrase. A tagline should be the prominent component of your website and must have the ability to capture a visitor’s attention. In the absence of a clear tagline, your brand finds it difficult to communicate with your audience and make them learn what they will gain from the website.
2. Design a Clear Site Search
Just like taglines, site search is also a crucial element on the homepage of a website. When users look for something, they typically look for the text field where they can enter the desired search item. As per the usability tips provided by Jacob Nielson (http://www.nngroup.com/articles/ ), designers should work on creating the site search box at least 27 characters wide so that the text is clearly visible. Also, place the box at the top of your page for a better visibility.
3. Avoid Using Flashy Graphics
Too much use of overwhelming graphics or visuals can put your website widely off the mark. Designers must understand not to use ridiculously cheesy colors and textures or some overtly flashy pop ups in order to retain the interest of their audience. Less is always more when it comes to usability and designers should stress on this principle only.
4. Make Use of Site Maps
Site maps are a great way of improving the navigation as well as search engine optimization of a website. They are basically a structural representation that lists the number of pages on a website in a clear and organized way.
5. Clean Layout
Designers should focus on creating a clear navigation and also organize elements in a grid style. Also, don’t be afraid of making use of white space for a clutter-free look.
Nothing hurts bad new visitor’s image of your website than a disorganized, hard to navigate website. Visitors like to find what they are looking for quickly. White background with some neat images can quickly grab the attention of visitors.
Uniformity in your layout is also very important. Colors, fonts and styling on each page should perfectly compliment each other.
6. Include Important Keywords in the Beginning of a Link
The web users have the tendency to scan the page and directly picking only those areas which serve their interests or goals. Links stimulate actions, and when they are filled with the relevant keywords, it becomes easier for the reader to filter the content they are looking for.
7. Create Easily Accessible Homepage Features
Easy to access web pages play an important role in maintaining a uniform experience to the users. It help them stick around your website and read its content. An ideal homepage must have the ability to help users locate key items with the help of short list of the recent features that are provided on the homepage. Further, they could also be linked with several other homepage features.
8. Keep Widgets in Their Right Places
It is good to keep your website free from clutter, but widgets play a crucial part of any site. So, they do command a place on the homepage. You don’t really need to create widgets for “most read” or “editor’s pick” sections, but having social media widgets is a definitely a key to success. As you need more followers on social media and the relevant widgets like the Facebook and Twitter widgets will do the job for you.
9. Emphasizing on The Important Tasks
Your homepage must be designed in a way to provide a clear starting points or the range of tasks that users can undertake while landing on the website.
10. Display Some Qualitatively Rich Content
Don’t give your visitors hard time to go beneath your website to find some real content gems. Make sure your homepage provides the most recent content to the readers who are interested to read them.
These are some of the guidelines which I consider important and where one’s efforts could be directed in creating a highly usable homepage. So, apply them the next time you sit to design a usable homepage or when re-evaluating the existing one.
Ben Wilson has best handful experience in converting PSD to WordPress theme and sharing useful tutorials online. He has served many worpress junkies helping them in developing user-friendly website. So feel free to contact him.