The Welcome Page can make or break your website – it is the first thing your visitors engage with whenever they visit your website, and it can determine if they stay and read more or close the window- without ever looking back. That being said, it is very important to come up with a well-designed, well-written, visitor-oriented and intuitive welcome page that will serve as the ‘Business Card’ of your website. It should be so reflective of your business/product, that you would carry a small version around in your pocket and hand it out at parties to other professionals.
Here, you will find four useful tips on how to crack the code to an intuitive welcome page:
#1: Focus On Readability
The concept of “readability” refers to how accessible and readable your website is, in the eyes of the visitor. As you may already know, visitors want to find the information they are looking for in a fast, efficient and effortless manner – they do not want to browse through tens of pages of text or be bothered with content that is very hard to read.
Studies demonstrate that the average Internet user only reads 28% of text on a webpage- that’s less than a third! (Truthfully, this study is from a few years ago. It goes without saying that number has decreased with time.) What does this mean for you? Easy-to-read, accessible content is integral to the success of your welcome page.
There are several important aspects you need to consider when improving the readability of your website. Firstly, the text must be large enough to be read – stick to the essential information and do not write more than 60 characters per line. Secondly, it is important to use appealing formatting: bulleted lists are very important when you try to emphasize on a certain aspect, and so is italicized text. Bold text can be used as well, but be careful not to overdo it- or it’ll turn users away. (WE KNOW YOU’RE EXCITED BUT DON’T SHOUT AT YOUR CUSTOMERS)
#2: Improve Page Loading Time
The loading time of the welcome page also plays a crucial role, as your visitors won’t wait long – even a small improvement of several milliseconds can make a difference. Some users will patiently wait for your low-grade technology to catch up but a whopping 40% said they’re already on another website if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Jason Fried, founder of Web Design company, 37Signals, explained that, “Improving speed to make something 25 percent faster is a much more valuable feature than a brand-new feature.”
The good news is that you can easily improve the page loading time by reducing the size of your media files (pictures, videos and music), by eliminating the flash files which take a lot of time to load and by reducing the number of plugins to a minimum. Stick only to the files and plugins that you need and use plugins that enhance the user experience of your site, and your website will not only load faster but it will look better without all the clutter as well. Besides that, you can also find a variety of website speed tests can help you monitor the performance of your site and to keep an eye on the page loading time.
#3: Make Sure Welcome Page Is Mobile-Friendly
We said it before and we’ll say it again- your users are impatient: 30% of web users said their maximum wait time is only 6-10 seconds, before they abandon your page.
Smart phones have evolved to such an extent that most users use their phones to access the Internet, especially on-the-go. This is why more and more website owners have started to optimize their websites and make them mobile-friendly – a website that is not properly optimized takes too much time to load, and the content is often displayed inappropriately as well, thus determining the visitors to leave your page. Your mobile visitors will give you maximum ten seconds: if the website does not load correctly within that time frame, you will lose audience.
#4: Include a Search Bar
Another aspect of utmost importance for improving your welcome page is including a search bar from the beginning, so that your users will find what they are looking for faster and easier. This is actually one of the cheapest and easiest modifications that you can make to your first page – however, it can make a tremendous difference regarding your website traffic.
The Bottom Line
A great homepage can be much more than a collection of graphics and content. Your job, as a UX designer (or a UX enthusiast) is to make the page fun, enjoyable, and simple.
These are four important steps that you need to take to make your welcome page as intuitive and as user-friendly as possible. Apart from the mobile optimization step, which requires more planning, all of these adjustments are very simple and straightforward and you can easily bring the necessary modifications by yourself.
I’ll leave you with my favorite design quote:
“Give users what they want- and a little more. In addition to enabling users to use your service effectively and efficiently, make them also think, ‘Wow, this application is genius.’ Exceed their expectations desirably. If you do so, they will use your website or app not because they have to but because they want to.” (Helge Fredheim – Why User Experience Cannot Be Designed)
(Lead image source: Ramesh MG)