Top 10 Home Page Guidelines

This list from useit.com was authored in 2002. It is still such a good list I thought I would repeat it here to bring it back to top of mind. The complete list with all the details is available at: http://www.useit.com/alertbox/20020512.html

Make the Site’s Purpose Clear: Explain Who You Are and What You Do

  1. Include a One-Sentence Tagline
    Start the page with a summary of what the site or company does
  2. Write a Window Title tag with Good Visibility in Search Engines and Bookmark Lists
    Begin the TITLE tag with the company name, followed by a brief description of the site. 
  3. Group all corporate information in one distinct area – About Us

Help Users Find What They Need

  1. Emphasize the Site’s Top High-Priority Tasks – offer users a clear starting point for the main one to four tasks they’ll undertake when visiting your site.
  2. Include a Search Input Box

Reveal Site Content

  1. Start your content on your home page
  2. Begin Link Names with the Most Important Keyword
  3. Offer Easy Access to Recent Homepage Features – keep a short list of recent features on the homepage and a link to a permanent archive of all other homepage features.

Use Visual Design to Enhance, not Define, Interaction Design

  1. Don’t Over-Format Critical Content, Such as Navigation Areas – users often dismiss graphics as ads and focus on the parts of the homepage that look more likely to be useful.
  2. Use Meaningful Graphics – Images are powerful communicators when they show items of interest to users