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A Buffet of Delicacies on your Home Page

December 25, 2020

A homepage where you eat like you are eating for the last time.

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.”
Charles M. Schulz

Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash

I am suffering from an upset stomach while writing this article. This has always been a problem for a foodie like me.  Yes, I am a self-proclaimed foodie and I love buffets. Why do I like them? Well, mainly they are unlimited and I get to pick and choose. In an ala carte dining experience, I do get to choose that one dish which will be made especially for me, brought to me while I sit staring at the people having a buffet.  While it does make me feel special, in an ala carte dining, I do not get to casually move from one tray of yumminess to another, picking and choosing my way through the food. That amount of walking, balancing and exercising helps me keep my mood right. But then it is not just important to have good food but along with it comes good taste and the food needs to smell just right. Also for me, the food needs to come in multiple options. Options are very important for me and most people like me would only look for a buffet with at least 50 options even if they would eventually end up having only 5 of them. The bigger the buffet, the more expensive it is, with more respondents and eaters.

The home page of a website is very similar to a buffet. It contains a bit of everything that the brand has on its agenda. The home page is the gateway of the brand and all its interactions for the viewers and they (the customer) need to be given multiple options to pick and choose from the right format/options/associations, etc... The home page mostly has the maximum call-to-action buttons and is hyperlinked to most sections and subsections of the various interactions that the brand has to offer.

Just like a buffet, the homepage should ideally trigger multisensory responses within the customer.  I get a good smell every time I see a delicious colour combination with the right amount of transparent information on the home page.

In a website the ideal Homepage needs a bit of the following:

  • The main subjects: All the main/broad subjects should go in the header and be in focus. This allows the customer to see the main deliverable/s of the brand.
  • Hero imagery banners: Hero images showcase the latest products, the latest categories, recent additions etc. to the customer.  A hero image is the first thing that the customer sees and it helps in connecting with the customer both physically and emotionally. Depending on the creatives and the information showcased they will either scroll down or check the website further.
  • Offers: For an e-commerce platform offers and/or discounts are next in the importance list. A horizontal scroll works very well when it comes to showcasing offers.
  • Product categories: For brands, informational websites, consulting websites or portfolios, a menu showcasing the various products and services on the homepage is very important. These products, information can be cooked into different categories and placed creatively.
  • Curated categories: This is the creative section of the website. A white t-shirt can be placed very creatively under sections like 'Casual wear', 'Friday dressing' etc. Also one can have categories according to occasions, price range, price points, events, associations etc. This depends on the personas studied during the branding and the conception of the UX. This helps the customers to know more about the product and the brand thus helping them make an informed decision while moving ahead in the website.
  • Sub brands if any: Showcasing the main or all the sub-brands is necessary on the homepage. Through this, the customers get an idea of the product range and depth of the brand. This helps them take a better decision.
  • In Trend: Brands can and should place their best selling products (which gets updated periodically) on the home page. This applies to e-commerce brands though.
  • About the Brand: A small writeup about the brand especially if it is a new brand is very important. There can be a call-to-action button for anybody who wants to read more in details, about the brand.
  • Any recent news/blogs: This holds true for informational/instructional websites who have nothing to sell. Showcasing of latest blogs or new articles show that the website is regularly updated and taken care of. This induces trust in the mind of the customers.
  • Contact information: This can go in the footer. Contact information is very important for any brand whether it is e-commerce, showcase or informational websites.

Photo by Reynier Carl on Unsplash

While creating the homepage one might keep the following things in mind:

Being the commander-in-chief-
Make sure that the customer is in control and is comfortable navigating through your designs. It induces trust and creates a sense of relief in the minds of the customers.

The most important call-to-action buttons on the home page-
Make sure that the most important call-to-action buttons are on the homepage. This gives customers the extremely-needed option of wandering around in the virtual world. Most of the time customers like to go back and forth as they rarely visit a website (especially an e-commerce website) with a specific agenda in mind.

Spacing it out well-
One must never forget the graphic trends and space management while designing the homepage. Probably it is a good idea to design the homepage last after you have gotten a good idea of what needs to be added. There are a lot of different elements, categories, colours and visual elements that are covered in a homepage so it always remains close to getting messy. A proper sense of weight distribution is extremely important in keeping the homepage free of clutter.

Addressing the real issue-
Make sure you address the real issue in the beginning. It might be something that you are selling or showcasing but anything that is important to you and your customers or any stake holders need to be shown first.

Abhrojit Boral, Assistant Professor, School of Communication Design, Unitedworld Institute of Design (UID)

Disclaimer: The opinions / views expressed in this article are solely of the author in his / her individual capacity. They do not purport to reflect the opinions and/or views of the College and/or University or its members.

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