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5:7 Limit Homepage Length

Relative Importance:

Relative Importance rating of 3 out of 5

Strength of Evidence:

Strength of Evidence rating of 2 out of 5

Document Type: Guideline


Topic:

Page Structure - Homepage


Guideline:

Limit the homepage to one screenful of information, if at all possible.


Comments:

Any element on the homepage that must immediately attract the attention of users should be placed 'above the fold'. Information that cannot be seen in the first screenful may be missed altogether - this can negatively impact the effectiveness of the Web site. If users conclude that what they see on the visible portion of the page is not of interest, they may not bother scrolling to see the rest of the page.

Some users take a long time to scroll down 'below the fold', indicating a reluctance to move from the first screenful to subsequent information. Older users and novices are more likely to miss information that is placed below the fold.


Sources:

  • Badre, A.N. (2002). Shaping Web Usability: Interaction Design in Context. Boston, MA: Addison Wesley Professional.
  • IBM (1999). Web Design Guidelines Design in Action. Retrieved May 2003, from www-3.ibm.com/ibm/easy/eou_ext.nsf/Publish/572.
  • Lynch, P.J. & Horton, S. (2002). Web Style Guide (2nd Edition). New Haven, CO: Yale University Press. Retrieved November 2005, from http://www.webstyleguide.com/index.html?/contents.html.
  • Nielsen, J. & Tahir, M. (2002). Homepage Usability: 50 Sites Deconstructed. Indianapolis, IN: New Riders Publishing.
  • Spyridakis, J.H. (2000). Guidelines for authoring comprehensible web pages and evaluating their success. Technical Communication, 47(3), 359-382.

Good Example:

Users can view all of the information on this homepage without scrolling.

05_07_good_example