List of home page usability guidelines
- The items on the home page are clearly focused on users' key tasks ("featuritis" has been avoided).
- If the site is large, the home page contains a search input box.
- Product categories are provided and clearly visible on the homepage.
- Useful content is presented on the home page or within one click of the home page.
- The home page shows good examples of real site content.
- Links on the home page begin with the most important keyword (e.g. "Sun holidays" not "Holidays in the sun").
- There is a short list of items recently featured on the homepage, supplemented with a link to archival content.
- Navigation areas on the home page are not over-formatted and users will not mistake them for adverts.
- The value proposition is clearly stated on the home page (e.g. with a tagline or welcome blurb).
- The home page contains meaningful graphics, not clip art or pictures of models.
- Navigation choices are ordered in the most logical or task-oriented manner (with the less important corporate information at the bottom).
- The title of the home page will provide good visibility in search engines like Google.
- All corporate information is grouped in one distinct area (e.g. "About Us").
- Users will understand the value proposition.
- By just looking at the home page, the first time user will understand where to start.
- The home page shows all the major options.
- The home page of the site has a memorable URL.
- The home page is professionally designed and will create a positive first impression.
- The design of the home page will encourage people to explore the site.
- The home page looks like a home page; pages lower in the site will not be confused with it.
You can also download translated versions of this checklist.
How to use these guidelines
Work through each of the items in the list and mark your site as either conforming or not conforming to the guideline.
Remember that all guidelines are context specific. If you feel that a guideline does not apply to your site, it's OK to ignore it.
These guidelines are purposefully expressed as positive statements, so that when you feed the results back to the design team you can identify some strengths of the design before you launch into the problems.
About the author
Dr. David Travis (@userfocus on Twitter) holds a BSc and a PhD in Psychology and he is a Chartered Psychologist. He has worked in the fields of human factors, usability and user experience since 1989 and has published two books on usability. David helps both large firms and start ups connect with their customers and bring business ideas to market. If you like his articles, you'll love his online user experience training course.
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Have you used these guidelines to evaluate an interface? Which guidelines do you find most useful?