The Home Page

According to the author, the site's home page is the first page users will see upon entering a site, and it has its own unique requirements.

EN: Statistics I have seen elsewhere indicate that as little as 10% of a site's audience enters through the "home page", and use bookmarks or links to deeper content. While this advice is important, it is based on a fallacy (and more importantly, since this is an assumption, the guidelines probably overlook the needs of users who have entered the site otherwise).

1. Enable access to the home page from every other page on the Web site (5:3)

Users will return to a site's home page to begin a new task, or when they are lost. It's worth noting that most users recognize and expect the site or company logo on the top of each page to serve to a link back to the home page.

2. Present all major options on the home page (5:2)

The options and links presented on the home page should be the "most important ones on the site." The criteria for "importance" is unclear, but the implication is that the major topic areas in the site's information structure should be presented.

EN: This seems to be based on an information-driven site, where the home page acts as a "table of contents" for the site. I would think that popular features or common tasks, even though they may be buried deeper in the site, are also important. Notices, news, and announcements are also "important." In the end, this doesn't seem like a clear guideline.

3. Create a positive first impression (5:4)

Research indicates that most users form an opinion of a Web site (and decide whether to enter it at all) by a quick scan at the home page alone, so creating a good impression immediately is important.

EN: This is based on the fallacy that the home page is the first one that is visited, and I expect the research methodology is based on that assumption. Again, true of a certain percentage of users, but recall that not all users come in through the front door.

4. Communicate the site's value and purpose (4:3)

Provide an explicit statement of a site's purpose (what the user can accomplish there) and its specific value proposition (why this site is to be preferred over others). Do not assume either is self-evident.

5. Limit prose text on the home page (4:3)

There is no clear indication of what the author means by "prose text," but the author is against having much of it on the home page.

EN: I guess a large amount of poetry would be fine? But more to the point, I don't see the research behind this assertion, and it seems very arbitrary.

6. Ensure that the home page looks like a home page (4:4)

My sense is that the author is indicating that there should be immediate visual difference between the home page of a site and its content pages. No reason is given.

7. Limit home page length (3:2)

Since the home page is an entry page rather than a content page, many users will not scroll, so key items (ideally all items) will be visible on a single screen without scrolling.

8. Announce changes to a site (3:2)

Repeat visitors should not be surprised by changes to a site - especially in terms of its content structure and navigation paths. There should be a clear and prominent announcement. While announcements should be made on the home page, this is not the only place they should be announced - an indication should be given on pages where the change is germane.

8. Attend to panel width (2:3)

"Panels" (columns containing navigation elements or features) should not be so wide as to be mistaken for page content. The consequence is that users may overlook them, or mistake them for content (when the entire point is to highlight and call attention to content).