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5:3 Create a Positive First Impression of Your site

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5:3 Create a Positive First Impression of Your site

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 5 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 4 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline


Page Structure - Homepage


Treat your homepage as the key to conveying the quality of your site.


In terms of conveying quality, the homepage is probably the most important page on a Web site. One study found that when asked to find high quality Web sites, about half of the time participants looked only at the homepage. You will not get a second chance to make a good first impression on a user.


  • Amento, B., Hill, W., Terveen, L., Hix, D., & Ju, P. (1999). An empirical evaluation of user interfaces for topic management of web sites. Proceedings of CHI’99, 552-559.
  • Coney, M.B. & Steehouder, M. (2000). Role playing on the Web: Guidelines for designing and evaluating personas online. Technical Communication, 47(3), 327-340.
  • Mahlke, S. (2002). Factors influencing the experience of Web site usage [Extended Abstracts]. Proceedings of CHI 2002, 846-847.
  • Nielsen, J. & Tahir, M. (2002). Homepage Usability: 50 Sites Deconstructed. Indianapolis, IN: New Riders Publishing.

Good Example:

This homepage creates a positive first impression:
  • Tag line increases users' understanding of site;
  • Key topic areas are presented in order of importance and are easy to scan; and
  • Up-to-date news stories are available.