Design & Technology October 05, 2015
The Importance Of Homepage Design: Content
Welcome to the second article in our series about effectively designing website homepages. In our previous post, we explained the importance of the first 2oo milliseconds when someone lands on your homepage, with advice on how to make the right first impression.
In this second post, we look at content – the dos, don’ts, and the benefits of providing relevant, personalized experiences.
The Art of Enticement
When it comes to content, it’s important to remember that a homepage is the gateway to your site, and should never try to be a one-page version of your entire website. Your homepage should entice users in, not bombard them with information and sensory overload.
It’s very similar to high street retailing. Picture a clothes shop; as you walk by the front of the shop, an item that has been deliberately placed in the window will catch your eye. As you move over to observe the garment more clearly, you then notice another garment that you like, leading you deeper and deeper into the store.
Now imagine if the store owner decided to place all of the shop contents in the window. It’d be much harder for an item to catch your eye due to the overwhelming amount of items, right?
The Paradox of Choice
In the mid-1990s, Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper conducted a study, ‘When Choice is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing?’, to explore the psychology of choice.
Their research, now commonly referred to as the ‘jam jar study’, took place in Draeger’s department store in Menlo Park, California. The experiment consisted of a table containing a variety of different jam samples which shoppers were encouraged to try, with the option of then making a purchase.
Throughout the experiment, Iyengar and Lepper changed the amount of jam jar varieties presented on display from 24 to 6. What they found was that consumers were ten times more likely to purchase jam when the number available was reduced. Giving customers less choice directly resulted in more sales.
We can take a few lessons from this psychological phenomenon, known as the ‘Paradox of Choice’, regarding how we construct our homepage.
Apply this to your homepage design
Firstly, do not overwhelm users with choice. Treat your homepage as the front door of your website; don’t bombard users with content. Instead, ‘signpost’ them to high-value content or areas to explore.
Secondly, consider your returning users and make sure content is kept up-to-date and refreshed, to provide them with new avenues to explore each time they visit.
Better still, if you can personalize and tailor the content based on their interactions, you’ll reap the rewards of higher engagement values.
Analytics & Personalization
To identify high-value content that may be worth promoting to your homepage, refer to your web analytics tool.
If you have budget, it may also be worth investing in personalization tools to alter content on your homepage based on users’ past interactions.
Personalization tools are becoming ever more popular and boast impressive results. Even Google now personalizes your search results based on a number of criteria, such as your location, in order to increase the relevance to you.
Examples of companies successfully implementing personalization include airline EasyJet, which achieved a 30% increase in conversion rate and 10% increase in visitor conversion through adding personalized flight recommendations to their homepage, and Dutch health insurance provider, Agis, which achieved a 24% increase in conversion after implementing real-time personalization.
Dept’s Experience Design
Dept Design & Technology’s team of highly experienced UX experts and experience designers specialize in creating sites which fully support both user and business goals. Contact us for further information about our services.