Designing Subpages to Be Different from the Home Page

I’d like to use visual cues so that people know they’re not on the home page. Here are some tricks I’ve seen.

  1. The Home Page menu would not show the label “Home.” However, is this worth the extra effort when I use an Include file for the menu? I’d have to keep a copy of the entire menu in the Home page HTML file and would have to change it every time I change the menu Include file. (I guess I could put the menu markup in the Home page file as the last step of developing the site.)

  2. The menu label of the page that you’re visiting could be highlighted a different color.

  3. There could be a little indicator below the menu showing the path (on which page you’re on and how you got there). Paul O’B called it a “breadcrumb” in

  4. Any other visual tricks to show the difference? Maybe the text could be arranged differently.

Your ideas or comments?


It all depends on what you’re designing the site for IMO. For content based sites, it’s rather obvious you’re not on the homepage if there’s an article sitting right in front of you. One thing I cannot stand, is when some people (mainly crappy web agencies do this) make the header identical on each page… For example, they’ll have one of those Javascript portfolio sliders on every single page of their site. I’m not sure if they do it out of laziness, or if they just don’t have good tastes in designing web pages.

I tend to make sure that I have a category or article title on the top of the page. For me, that’s a clear distinction between a homepage and a subpage.

There’s lots of ways you can make a homepage distinctive though I think you are overthinking it. It really depends on what you want to accomplish, the way the site appears, the aesthetic, the need of the audience to distinguish differentiation and other factors as to how, when and why you should go beyond those mentioned. :slight_smile: