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Pattern Group A. Site Genres > Balance Space for Brand against Space for Naviga...

Balance Space for Brand against Space for Navigation

Balance the homepage trade-off between space used for communicating the company's value and differentiation, and space used for giving customers the navigation tools to find what they seek. We have made three observations that provide solutions:

  1. Because the CLEAR FIRST READ (I3) on the homepage is often the company's brand in the top left corner (see Figure A7.1), and the second read is often the UP-FRONT VALUE PROPOSITION (C2), most of the company's value and differentiation should be clear from the outset. If they are not, the value proposition and SITE BRANDING (E1) are not executed well enough yet. Have your team focus on improving these two aspects rather than on using more space on the homepage for branding.

  2. People scan when they read on the Web, and they scan the homepage for succinct phrases and for links that they recognize and deem potentially valuable (see Figure A7.3). Focus your design on finding the proper wording for these phrases, and on making them easy for your customers to scan.

    Figure A7.3. The Microsoft homepage provides quick links to all the major parts of its site but emphasizes the product and support areas. Links to information for partners and journalists are less prominent or below the fold.[2]

    (www.microsoft.com, May 16, 2002)

    [2] The fold is an imaginary line on a Web page that delineates what is visible in a browser without making the visitor scroll down. See ABOVE THE FOLD (I2) for more information.

  3. Because every primary audience is really composed of many subgroups, each subgroup needs answers to its specific questions. For example, if the primary audience consists of investors, answer the questions of both institutional investors and direct investors. If the primary audience is a products and services buyer, answer the questions of the decision maker, recommender, and technical reviewer. You can often take these customers to a subsidiary page where you have them select their role to obtain more targeted information (see Figure A7.4). Use the techniques described in Chapter 3—Knowing Your Customers: Principles and Techniques to understand what these roles are for your customers and your site.

    Figure A7.4. On the NetRaker site we created explicit links for each of our target customers, linking them to a page that discusses each of their specific needs and questions.

    (www.netraker.com, August 27, 2001)



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