The Importance Of Homepage Design: Content

Welcome to the second article in our series about effectively designing website homepages. In our previous post, we explained the importance of the first 2oo milliseconds when someone lands on your homepage, with advice on how to make the right first impression.

In this second post, we look at content - the dos, don'ts and the benefits of providing relevant, personalised experiences.

The Art of Enticement

When it comes to content, it's important to remember that a homepage is the gateway to your site, and should never try to be a one-page version of your entire website. Your homepage should entice users in, not bombard them with an information and sensory overload. 

It's very similar to high street retailing. Picture a clothes shop; as you walk by the front of the shop, an item that has been deliberately placed in the window will catch your eye. As you move over to observe the garment more clearly, you then notice another garment that you like, leading you deeper and deeper into the store.

Now imagine if the store owner decided to place all of the shop contents in the window. It’d be much harder for an item to catch your eye due to the overwhelming amount of items, right? 

The Paradox of Choice

In the mid-1990s, Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper conducted a study, 'When Choice is Demotivating: Can One Desire Too Much of a Good Thing?', to explore the psychology of choice.

Their research, now commonly referred to as the ‘jam jar study’, took place in Draeger's department store in Menlo Park, California. The experiment consisted of a table containing a variety of different jam samples which shoppers were encouraged to try, with the option of then making a purchase. 

Throughout the experiment, Iyengar and Lepper changed the amount of jam jar varieties presented on display from 24 to 6. What they found was that consumers were 10 times more likely to purchase jam when the number available was reduced. Giving customers less choice directly resulted in more sales.

We can take a few lessons from this psychological phenomenon, known as the ‘Paradox of Choice’, regarding how we construct our homepage.

Apply this to your homepage design

Firstly, do not overwhelm users with choice. Treat your homepage as the front door of your website, don’t bombard users with content. Instead, ‘signpost’ them to high value content or areas to explore.

Secondly, consider your returning users and make sure content is kept up-to-date and refreshed, to provide them with new avenues to explore each time they visit.

Better still, if you can personalise and tailor the content based on their interactions, you’ll reap the rewards of higher engagement values.

Analytics & Personalisation

To identify high value content that may be worth promoting to your homepage, refer to your web analytics tool.

If you have budget, it may also be worth investing in personalisation tools to alter content on your homepage based on users' past interactions.

Personalisation tools are becoming ever more popular and boast impressive results. Even Google now personalises your search results based on a number of criteria, such as your location, in order to increase the relevance to you.

Examples of companies successfully implementing personalisation include airline EasyJet, which achieved a 30% increase in conversion rate and 10% increase in visitor conversion through adding personalised flight recommendations to their homepage, and Dutch health insurance provider, Agis, which achieved a 24% increase in conversion after implementing real-time personalisation.

Building Blocks' Experience Design

Building Blocks' team of highly experienced UX experts and experience designers specialise in creating sites which fully support both user and business goals.  Contact us for further information about our services. 

You may also be interested in...

 The Importance Of Homepage Design: First Impressions

Approaches & Challenges Of Developing A Web Personalisation Strategy

How To Turn Analytics Data Into Actionable Business Insight

Free Web Personalistion eBook: Making Digital Human

Making Digital Human  download your free 70-page eBook that explores how to transform the online experience with web personalisation

Any questions?

If you need more information or have any questions just get in touch and we'd be happy to answer them for you.