Krug Ch 7- Home sweet...home?

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Krug hits on a lot of good points that are key in a home page. The home page is the most visited page in any website. It's like the cover of a book. People say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but... everyone does it! Okay maybe not everyone, but I certainly do, and I'm not afraid to admit it- the same that I don't feel bad judging a website by its home page. If I enter a site and can't tell what it is about or don't know where to start, I'm probably going to go right back to my google search or to whatever I was doing before.

This is why home pages have to be eye catching! There are so many websites out there that serve similar purposes that the first page you visit should explain why this is the best site for your purpose.

Again with the book analogy- if I am in a library, there are so many books in that library on the same subject that even a cover page or the introduction page should make me want to read that book over the others.

I think Krug does a good job explaining this importance.

Home pages can sometimes be too overwhelming which is rather annoying. I like a simple, easy to read, easy to use page with a few links that are actually useful; not just placed there for extra space. Another thing about space that was mentioned in the chapter was about not using too much of the page or too little. This is kind of an obvious concept but I have to say that I have run into several websites lately where the home page takes up half a page and the rest of the page is floating space. This isn't very easy on the eye if you ask me (Pitt's website is one that I can think of).

Another point that I feel is noteworthy in my experiences is the idea of pulldowns. As Krug says, they "create space" for the designer but in reality, they are not very user-friendly. The reason I am pointing this piece out is because I did my usability testing assignment before I read this chapter. Krug even points out that the "drawbacks of pulldowns outweigh the potential benefits." I saw this frustration with my usability testers when they were purchasing a pair of shoes online and had to put in a shoe size. The pulldown bar was not very prominent; both struggled with where to put this information if anywhere. Another pulldown that was tricky was the "find a store" locator button on the Wal-Mart website. You think you need to click on the words but when you mouse over it, a pulldown screen briefly appears. This is bothersome because if you move your mouse only slightly away from the words, the pulldown bar disappears. I think Krug calls it "twitchy".

I think this chapter pointed out some good tips on how to make a home page worth someone's while. Also, once again, the author can show examples of good and bad homepages which is very useful to see. I found it interesting that even professional web designers can learn from their mistakes and constantly revise/update their home pages or entire website.



That Pitt website probably looks great on the monitor in the meeting room where the designer demonstrated it for the board of directors. You're right -- that's a lot of wasted space all around. In Internet Explorer, I can't even zoom in. Note that there are several "Help"-ish items on the upper right, but I'd put the search box up there instead, and maybe leave a single "Help" item up there. All the other stuff I'd move to the bottom.

Of course, I wouldn't be finished if I made those changes -- I'd also need to do a usability test of my revision, to find out if it really is any better than the original.

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