Does your website homepage design tell the user what you want them to do?
We all want our websites to look cool and sexy. When someone sees our website, we want them to say “WOW!” Unfortunately many people will see your website and say “WOW” followed up by, “I have no idea what’s going on here”.
On content-heavy websites, finding space to provide important marketing links is a challenge. Actual eye-tracking tests have revealed that people use a “Z” shaped scanning pattern when scouring web pages for information.
More importantly, they are less likely to scroll down the homepage, than on any other page of your website. This means that designing above the fold on your home page could be your most important task.
Keeping critical marketing information and contextual navigation “above the fold” is essential. Using primary marketing quadrants to generate revenue or build relationships with users is the sign of a well-designed site.
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Increasing the load time and usability of your website homepage design will keep visitors coming back to your website. Here are a few tools that you can use to test how well your home page is performing:
Fivesecondtest is a community of people who like to review websites. You’ll simply upload an image of your homepage, and testers will have five seconds to look at it. After those five seconds, they will be asked any questions you write for them.
4Q is a free tool that you can install on your website that actually goes ahead and asks visitors whether they were able to find what they were looking for.
ClickHeat is open-source software that is installed on your web server and will give you heat maps of how people interacted with your site, so that you can see the most popular areas of interaction. If you want to pay a few bucks for it, CrazyEgg offers a hosted version of this service.
Feng-Gui isn’t an exact science, but it’s certainly interesting to test. Feng-Gui “simulates human vision during the first 5 seconds of exposure to visuals, and creates heatmaps based on an algorithm that predicts what a real human would be most likely to look at.”
Userfly starts with a free plan, where all you have to do is install the code on your site, and it will take a video of 10 users browsing your site, and how they interacted with it.
So take a walk on the side of your users to see what they’re seeing. When your website has been up for a while, you may begin to forget what your ultimate goal is when they get to your site.
Set up a list of goals or tasks before looking at your homepage today, and then see if the design of your homepage matches those goals.