By virtue of designing your home page, you are actually designing your site. The initial home page design will be the basis of your overall site design.
There are many important building blocks to developing the home page of your site. We’ll devote a paragraph or so to each. First we’ll address a couple of overarching considerations.
Design should be more about functionality than look and feel. Put yourself in the shoes of your prospects and customers (indeed, ask them) and determine the breadth and depth and utility of the information you want to give them. Think about how they might interact with you, starting with your web presence. Determine the values your prospects and customers are seeking in a supplier and design to deliver them. Your buyers are far more interested in painlessly finding what they’re looking for than what color scheme you employ. Pay particular attention to the navigation scheme you’ll employ, and the quantity and quality of the content you’ll deliver via that navigation.
Consider carefully the utilities you’ll offer, where they’ll be located and how they’ll be presented within the site’s architecture.
Unless your site is a pure Internet play that has no grounding in an existing business, start by identifying existing elements of your corporate identity that will be incorporated in the design of your site. Your web presence should be consistent with your other marketing materials. When a person who has seen you before, via your literature, in trade journals, or at trade shows, comes across your web presence, they should know instantly that they’ve seen you before. A consistent look and feel between your web presence and your other marketing materials will tell visitors they know you somehow, whether they’re unconsciously familiar with you or they have an instant, conscious recognition of exactly who your company is and where they’ve seen you before. Before you design, see the chapter on Branding.
Additional content covered in the print edition of Webforging includes a paragraph to a page or more on each of the following:
- Screen Resolution
- Logo Treatment
- Color Scheme
- Text Navigation Icons
- Graphical Icons
- Additional Home Page Navigation Techniques
- Complete Contact Information
- Footer Information
- Mouse-over Effects
- Splash Pages
- Design Proofing Procedure
- Building in Stages
- Pre-Construction & Site Construction Checklists