Effective Home Page Design

The homepage is the first impression of your website, and often the deciding factor for a visitor to return to your site. It is crucial that your homepage easily answer:

  • What is this place?
  • Show what’s new
  • Provide global navigation


For the exercise, find one home page you think is successful, and one home page you think fails based on characteristics of effective home pages in the article 113 Design Guidelines for Homepage Usability.

Evaluate each home page based on criteria, such as:

  • Home page goals, including:
    • a clear message of “who we are and what we’re about”
    • easy navigation for both new and returning users
    • consistent, reliable, global navigation
  • Web writing guidelines
  • “Above the fold” page design
  • Basic design principles, such as:
    • use of a grid
    • visual hierarchy
    • consistency

Use images from the sites as appropriate to illustrate your discussion.

In addition to your evaluation of both sites, describe how you would improve the poorly designed home page.