Yes, every site has a home page. It is an entrance. But why just one? The more diverse the customer base the more doorways a site should have. These doorways need to be clearly marked with prominent passageways leading you to their location.
For example, some insurance companies such as Australian Unity has a very diverse audience. Its audience ranges from singles looking for health insurance, Investors looking for financial advice, right through to retirees seeking that retirement nirvana. Very different audiences, yet Australian Unity present one doorway.
Every time each of these different audiences comes to the site, they have to get through this passageway before they can start to get the information they are looking for. There are various ways of knowing who the visitor is and their past site activity. I would say that returning visitors looking for more investor information don’t really want to be confronted with retirement information just yet. So why display it so prominently?
There is a better way and it is simple. Understand your customer and start to build passageways from the very beginning. Everyone knows that one of the web’s main brands, Amazon, is a leading online book seller. But did you know it also sells washing machines, pet supplies, accessories for trucks, even equipment for industrial and scientific applications?
These are “doorways” that take you into the different specialist areas of the site. However, they are not hidden away. Amazon provides clearly marked passageways to these. For example, since I have been looking around Amazon at the various departments, a few changes have been made to my home page. A home improvements section (to the right of the image below) has taken over the Best Sellers area:
And for the very first time since I have started going to Amazon (approx 10 years), I have power tools on my personalised home page. If I was to make this a habit, then my entire home page would be taken up with such items. I may not even see a book unless it was a book on DIY or how to make the best use of earth moving equipment (if you know me, then this is very unlikely).
This is what great online experiences are made of. If you have a look at the new Telstra Business home page, it’s the kind of experience we are trying to create. The new prominent tabbed area is supposed to be about getting to the most popular areas of the site quickly.
Eventually, these should be automated so that they start to understand the reason you come to the site and start to display products and services that are relevant to that particular customer and will provide them with the most direct route to that area.