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  1. #1
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    Is it a bad idea to have a different homepage and a different "first-page"

    Hi

    I was wondering, does the first page has to be the home page?

    For example I am designing a site where when you first load it, the main content you see are three boxes which you click on and they take you to other pages, a bit like navigation buttons, something like this wireframe:
    image.jpeg

    Now ones you get deep in the website, you expect a home button to appear. I has thinking that the above design would be fantastic as the first page users see. But isn't it pointless for it to be the home page? As similar links offered in those three boxes would also be accessed from the top navigation

    I have seen three boxes used in this way, but do you think having that as the homepage (people come back to) is pointless - or am I just wrong and a homepage like that is fine?

    thanks

  2. #2
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    The short answer is no.

    The more useful and comprehensive answer is : it should. For the sake of clarity lets call the "index." file ( which is the one that visitors WILL ALWAYS SEE FIRST) the landing page. It can be anything you want, but 9/10 is either a working page , portal to the site , about, or a "splash" about. In my experience it's about striking a balance between immediate functionality and branding potential (and is some cases advertising $$) The main issue with what you are proposing is... what if the user want to see the content that when saw when he first landed on your site? Instinctively most people will look click the site name/logo or look for a home button, but in what you are proposing this will take them to a "different" home page and not the one they arrived at... which is what they REALLY WANTED .. thus you will have a frustrated visitor. Not a good thing. If you are able to mitigate this.. then OK, but otherwise I would be seriously concerned.

  3. #3
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    Thanks, that makes sense. I had this idea at the back of my head for a long time, and it is nice to clarify it. Thanks?

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    Keep in mind that the page that you consider to be the "home page" or the "landing page" isn't necessarily the one that visitors will see first.

    Visitors might arrive at your site by following an external link, or using a search engine, or typing a link given to them by a friend, etc. In all those cases, they are just as likely to arrive on an internal page as the home page. The important point is to make it as easy as possible for them to navigate to other pages from wherever they land. Unfortunately, your proposed design doesn't do that.

    In addition, I'd argue that a good home page is one that gives an overview of what your site is all about. Your three-box design doesn't do that. "Case study", "services" and "contact" might well be the most important parts of the site, but they don't convey much when seen in isolation.

    Mike

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    No, Its not a bad idea...

  6. #6
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    In addition, I'd argue that a good home page is one that gives an overview of what your site is all about. Your three-box design doesn't do that. "Case study", "services" and "contact" might well be the most important parts of the site, but they don't convey much when seen in isolation.
    I agree wholeheartedly with Mike. Tho it's a MARKETING trend I have been seeing a lot lately, sell first, identify later. I assume this must have been the SEO guys ways of getting keywords on the landing page? but that's only conjecture.

  7. #7
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    Yes I was thinking that the first page should have more information, but from the content I got from the client, which is not enough right now. I thought that those three boxes are the only useful content to have in the homepage, as none of the content is worth having on the home page.

    I thought of having some introductory content before the boxes. But really I will need to talk to the client if he has any content that we should show on the home page

    The reason why I asked this question was precisely because I dont have any content for the homepage. I'll keep Mikes suggestion in mind and think whether we can add any more to the homepage.

    Or I might do some research on how other sites deal with homepages where the three-boxes are present.
    - This was a question just for to check if I could have (essentially) two home pages. But that for this insite.

  8. #8
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    If nothing else, use the main landing page to give a clear introduction to what the site is about. It amazes me that SO many sites fail to do this. After the intro statement, you can have links to the most important content with snippets etc.

    Remember that the client will most likely have a top level domain (clientsite.com) on cards and letterheads etc., so something useful needs to be presented on the main index page.
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  9. #9
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    No , i don't think it is a good idea as every time it is not necessary that people will visit your site directly through search engines i.e google , they can land up to your websites through several other referrals sites . So , i won't give you advice to do so .

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    Is it a bad idea to have a different homepage and a different "first-page"
    I remember in the days of Macromedia Flash, it was a somewhat popular to have a splash page, which took up the entire screen. It would traditionally contain the main links and advertising regions. Web designers confused the splash page with the homepage and clicking on their logo would return you to this animated page. Once you enter the website when you click on the logo you do not return to this splash page and not the homepage. Luckerly Wikipedia did not do the same mistake.

    Furthermore links to this splash page internally seriously affected user experience; imagine every time you click on the logo to be directed to the heavy flash based introduction, a little annoying to say the least. Search engine optimization was also on the down as the homepage contained little to no text information about the company, instead it would contain an animated introduction created to draw existing users, but lacked in drawing in new users as it did not have the proper SEO principles to get noticed via the search engines.

    Back to the original question and aiming at UX, what would the users expect when they go to your website, what would they expect to see?

    The answer is your website in full, a splash page to select a country or language is acceptable, as many global websites take this approach, however, an introduction page to promote products is not going to work in your best interest, particularly as users went quick relevant information. If there is a very important notice you can easily have a pop-up appearing on your website on first load.

    Your design looks good for a homepage and a first page, I would keep this as the homepage. Furthermore the home link should always be on the website, it should not appear only within deep links. This again affects user experience.

    Everything has to make sense, otherwise you'd either annoy your user or loose them completely.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sega View Post
    I remember in the days of Macromedia Flash, it was a somewhat popular to have a splash page

    A particularly irritating thing about them was the redundant hyperlink saying "Click here to enter site". As if anyone would want to visit the splash screen without entering the site.

    Mike

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    @Mikl ;

    lol... -1 to user experience.

    Can't imagine why anybody would want to go to a splash page, and for this reason the advertising there is really taken as an irritation rather than effective advertising, a little like the pop-up advertising, not sure on the effectiveness of those things, but I don't believe they would be very effective.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sega View Post
    I remember in the days of Macromedia Flash, it was a somewhat popular to have a splash page, which took up the entire screen.
    This makes my initial idea sound really stupid Now I think I just need to change the home page design. Maybe add more content before the tree boxes.

    I really hope that when I meet with the client he is going to give me more content, and hopefully dont have to keep the homepage so ... pointless.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by akurtula View Post
    I really hope that when I meet with the client he is going to give me more content, and hopefully dont have to keep the homepage so ... pointless.

    I guess it's up to you to make it clear that you can't go any further with the home page until he gives you the content. Tell him that you at least need something to start with. It doesn't have to be the final, polished copy, provided it is enough for you to make a start.

    Having said that, have you got any content yet for the internal pages? Maybe you can distil some of that into a version for the home page - at least to be going on with.

    Mike

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    I have to agree wholeheardly with @Mikl ; here. From experience some clients don't decide what goes on the homepage, in such cases I normally extract what's on the internal pages and put them on the homepage. I use a template, at times we have to work around client feedback, as in some cases this can be painfully slow!
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  16. #16
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    I dont have any concrete content , but I am fully aware of the idea, and therefore I have enough to work on before meeting him.

    He has just given me a site map of the pages he needs and few websites that are similar (in what they offer) to what his business is. So thats all I am working with at the moment

    I have just started the design (a wordpress theme) so for now I can afford leaving the homepage as is and work on everything else.
    Because as it is only the beginning I have enough work to do. Though of course if I had the content before hand it be much easier to work with * I am sure that working the design around the content would be better than designing and the adding the content.

    What I am thinking is that I leave the home page as it is. Even though it does not tell the audience what the site is about. At least it is starting to look good, and it has given me enough to work on with other pages. Then after meeting the client I can come back and change or add more content to the home page.

    This is my first job with clients so I am new at what to expect from the client

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikl View Post

    A particularly irritating thing about them was the redundant hyperlink saying "Click here to enter site". As if anyone would want to visit the splash screen without entering the site.

    Mike
    I do agree with you. everyone want to go on informative page on a website when i face 'click here to enter site' page i feel so irritating i can say it is a bad idea to have different homepage and different first page.


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