Every day, average consumers browse through hundreds of websites. Most of the time, we don’t realize how many sites we’ve visited in a day as we click through links embedded in blog posts and engage with social media content.
But many of us do remember when a website we visit is particularly bad or when it’s especially good. The best of websites stand out, and entice the average consumer to return again.
Far too many other websites have nothing that separates them from their Internet neighbors, however. Creating a site that stands out is challenging. But there are some fairly simple things you can do to boost the “wow” factor of your site’s home page.
Here are three basic suggestions.
1. Change the Scrolling Pattern
On a majority of sites, you’ll encounter scrolling that moves up and down the page. That’s a standard convention when designers build a website in order to give users a feeling of familiarity as they engage with the site.
But that doesn’t mean the entire home page has to have vertical scrolling. Consider this home page for career searching company Start Jobs. Most of this page has a vertical scrolling pattern that follows convention, but if you hover over the “Featured Jobs” section, a scroll bar pops up to allow for horizontal scrolling as you move through the job postings.
This make the website both functional and more memorable among job-search sites on the web.
2. Make Your Background Image Move
Another popular method of injecting that “wow” factor is to feature a powerful background image to catch visitors’ attention. The image should be visually appealing and have an element of motion that encourages visitors to stay and watch.
For an excellent example, check out the home page for the meditation app Calm. When you open the website, you see a loading page that says, “take a deep breath.” From there, it takes you to an image of a beautiful mountain lake with rippling water.
It lets you take in that breathtaking image before putting up the contents of the home page, which are very simple. It takes a single image to arrest the visitor and encourage further engagement.
3. Animate Your Navigation
Navigation in a side or top bar is also a web design convention that designers know to follow naturally. However, there is room to experiment with this element of web design as well, particularly if your website has a fairly simple architecture otherwise.
To see a great example of this, check out the “Anatomy of a Pitch” page on ESPN’s website. Now it’s true that this isn’t a home page, but the same concept can be applied in that setting.
The page has a checkerboard design with the title in the middle and photographs of eight baseball players pitching around it. When you hover over each of the players, the image comes to life and displays a link to an interior page. The more you click through this website, the more examples of animated navigation you’ll see.
When it comes to designing your home page, staying with the trends is usually wise, but you can feel the need to do more. Try a few of the above techniques to bring greater attention to your website, especially on your home page.