What are your top 3 most important elements of a website's home page?

My top 3 are:

  1. Simplicity, lack of clutter
  2. Logo and listing what the business or site function is
  3. Color scheme

I think the content or the message you want to deliver through that site is the only one thing that is most important for any site other things comes after.

  1. Content
  2. Content
  3. Content
  4. Everything else.
  1. logo/banner
  2. content
  3. features

These are the top 3 important elements of a website for me.

With Google being so powerful nowadays I almost feel that the home page, like the desktop, has lost its power. A lot of websites I’ve built over the past year or two get most of their visitors from Google on specific pages they’re looking for.

As a result, I think the home page should do nothing more than direct the users to where they might want to go, either through search, through a tree-like navigation or through the most popular pages a user may be looking for. I don’t really care for having news and blog posts on the home page, nor do I care about flashy graphics or anything like that.

Seeing the thread title I was going to say, H1, DIV and P

Best post I’ve seen on the subject in some time. People visit websites for the CONTENT, everything else is window dressing… and too much “gee ain’t it neat” garbage like animations and graphics around that content can make it hard/impractical/impossible for the user to even get to… Say hello to Mr. bounce rate.

It’s why my construction approach is build content, mark up the content semantically with ZERO concern for the screen appearance, create the layout for screen using CSS, and then hang the graphics and ‘ain’t it neat’ nonsense last. It’s also why starting out screwing around in Photoshop with some goofy PSD is putting the cart before the horse.

unless alternative urls to the same or similar content are rare then content, layout and functionality are equally important to me as visitor to a website.

a fail on any one of those and I simply go back to my google search results and I click on the next one down.

Content is king, as Ed, Jason and others have pointed out. The subject reminds me of a recent post I made regarding what you do to give the visitor that content. See http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4759502&postcount=22

From that, you might infer I consider the OP’s top three list items to be close to the bottom of my list of requisites. And, you’d be right.

cheers,

gary

and the king is dead :slight_smile: for me if as a result of poor layout and/or colour, font selection it is difficult to read.

imho content is useless if it’s difficult to read or see.

content and layout rely on each other, if I put my website visitor and not website developer hat on.

if the content is difficult to read for any reason, I don’t stick around for long at all.

Content number 1, since it’s what makes you want to click to another page, UI number 2 since it assists with finding the content easily, design number 3 so it’s creates interest and assists the UI.

It appears you agree strongly with my signature line. :stuck_out_tongue:

cheers,

gary

That’s generally my approach too. In fact all you can really do with all the pretty layouts and sexy graphics and flash animations, beyond a bare minimum, is make the content harder to read. When I visit a web page I want the information it contains, and ANYTHING you do that makes that content harder to see is only going to make me leave and try to find a site that gives me what I need.

It may be pretty, it may be sexy, it may even be cool, I DON’T FRIGGIN CARE!! I want the content. The content is what I came for. The content is what matters to me. Put obstacles in my way and I will be all that more likely to leave and not come back.

Now, good content can make me put up with all the other obstacles you put in my way, up to a point. But if the content is meaningless or bad, there is NOTHING you can do to make me stay, and NOTHING you can do to make me come back.

If you don’t have content I want then I am gone.

if you insert the adjective “poor” before “graphic”, then yes :slight_smile:

all I am saying is that if a website I visit makes it difficult for me to see and/or read the content through poor colour and/or font selection etc etc, then if I felt it would be likely to find the same or similar content elsewhere I would be off that site very quickly.

so as a website visitor, for me personally, content and layout/presentation are equally important.

That would be redundant within the context.

cheers,

gary

imho it wouldn’t be.

I agree with the content people.

ps. gary.turner, that is such a good post on the topic of IA! I wish I worked with people who knew the theory like that, and scoped accordingly - alas, I haven’t, and I don’t.

@ Karpie:

Thank you. Unfortunately, I know more about what IA is than I know IA its ownself. IA is a subject worthy of doctoral theses and books.

cheers,

gary

This is often the approach that “User Experience Engineers” (overglorified designers/developers) use when building websites for high-level clients. It’s also a reason why so many people oppose the use of Lorem Ipsum in Web Design, because it shows that the content was a secondary concern in the design of the user experience.

It’s definitely a valid concern, and your approach is definitely the ideal way to go about building a web page. I’m of the opinion that a design by nature is functional and its function is to highlight the content.

My favourite analogy for it is that it’s similar to make-up on women. Make up is supposed to be used to highlight the best features of a woman, but it is often used to cover the worst features. Web Design is the exact same way.

What are your top 3 most important elements of a website’s home page?

-name of site (I am assured that I am at the right place regardless of url)

-a utility menu that I can see will lead me to everything I might need to know about the company (privacy policy, disclaimer, terms&conditions, how to contact them, investor relations, maybe a press page)

-at least one single clear statement of what the hell they do/make/sell/write

This last one I am always surprised when I see it lacking. Usually someone’s talking about some new doodad and link to the home page… where I search back and forth trying to find the text that tells me what the thing is or does.

This might be the result of web developers building all the other pages first and saving the home page for last, maybe. I dunno. Next time I see one of these kinds of pages I’ll post it. A lot of times it’s the personal page of some script you can get on sourceforge. It talks about a lot of stuff, but doesn’t actually say WHAT the script IS or DOES or WHY or FOR WHOM.

If it’s a page for something like a CMS, a templating system or a framework, I want somewhere on the main page to tell me what language the thing is written in. I shouldn’t have to go to Wikipedia to find out what something’s written in.

If this is related to what Kalon brought up (contrast, readability, usability) then this would be my #4, mostly because if the site is well-written but poorly designed, I am often willing to just shut CSS off to see if I can get to the content better, or switch over to the terminal. I have done it in the past for sites, and often the really bad ones have a “text-only” or so-called “accessible” versions, or mobile versions. For example NoScript breaks mangrove.nl (turning all scripts on still does not work to get to the site under the video… if you don’t see a video then they’ve removed it, it’s temporary), so if I want to see their site in Firefox I go to the m.mangrove.nl instead.

Not sure how many other people are willing to look for text-only or mobile, but sites having it as an option if their desktop versions are sucking horribly can keep me around if it’s got the content I want.