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The Triumvirate of Home Page Design

February 12, 2005

Seductive art, compelling interaction, valuable information. In working with a client on the redesign of their five-year-old site, that's what I've observed are the three hallmarks of great home pages lately.

This installment of Before & After is actually being written to tell you about a B&A redesign on another site. There's an article at http://www.sitepoint.com/article/great-homepages-really-suck that shows before-and-after designs for the home page of a home manufacturer. It's definitely worth a look. I'll wait for you here. La de da.

However much you agree with the redesign, it reminds me of my own findings a while ago about home page design. When working with a client recently, I had to try to boil down home page design to a reproducible formula. Now bear in mind this was for the technology arm of a Fortune 100 company, so whatever their ultimate objectives, they at least needed to have a clear idea of what the state of the art was.

Seductive Art

I thought of the great mini-videos on Macromedia.com. In the video below (still image below), the pencil appears to erase the image:

Compelling Interaction

And I thought of the interactively animated but not-overly-artsy menus of LiveMeeting.com:

And the new point at which the bar has been raised for interactivity, by laszlosystems. In the following demo (still image below) the new frontier of "rich Internet applications" (aka Flash, or my preference, "single-page-apps") shows just how powerful an online store can be:

It's so much fun to play with these animations that you can't help but poke around the sites.

Valuable Information

As for the final leg in the tripod, valuable information, no single site comes to mind at the moment, but there are many. The Microsoft site is rich with stuff I need, as is Amazon if you are fishing for book info, or Ebay, if you want the market price on a 1965 ESR Digicomp computer. But whatever you need, valuable information is the endpoint of most web journeys.

Try to build a bad website that includes these three ingredients. I'll bet you can't do it. —www.jackbellis.com

 


"My interest in usability arose from the pain and tears of patching the wounds of suffering interface designs with the inadequate bandages of help files and user guides." — Daniel Cohen

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