Originally answered Jan 26, 2018
- Keep the size of the home page to a single page without the need for horizontal or vertical scrolling. The page should load quickly, be visually appealing, and be as simple as possible.
- Provide direct links to the most important sites so that multiple clicks through intermediate sites are unnecessary. Don’t make users visit multiple sites to get to the one they need.
- Remove all static information such as mission statements so that only dynamic news and useful links appear. Emphasize practical over promotional content.
- Avoid overwhelming users with long menus of links which appear on the page. Provide nested drop-down menus in a horizontal navigation bar which is replicated on each page within the site.
- On each page within the site, include standard elements in the same location. These include standard banners, footers, and navigation bars. The banner should include a search box, a people or product lookup box, and one or two other essential links and boxes that are used so frequently that they belong in the banner. The footer should include the date last modified, the page owner, and links for feedback and support. Standard navigation elements include a horizontal navigation bar with drop-down menus and bread crumbs which show where you are in the web hierarchy and allow direct navigation to any higher level in the hierarchy.
- Offer faceted navigation, browsing, and searching to guide users based on the standard taxonomy. See Use of Faceted Classification by Heidi Adkisson and User Interface Implementations of Faceted Browsing by Mike Padilla for more information.
- Use a site map to show the overall web structure and all available pages in a single view. See Site Map Usability by Jakob Nielsen for design tips.
- Provide an index to allow users to look up any desired topic alphabetically. Include synonyms as in a thesaurus so that regardless of which term a user chooses, they will be guided to the right place. For example, under the B section, you might include “Bulletin Boards — see Threaded Discussions.”
- Avoid decorations, fancy graphics, animated GIFs, “under construction” signs, “coming soon” messages, and other useless elements. Don’t automatically start playing music, showing videos, or performing any other functions that may annoy those visiting the site. This includes automated chatbots that immediately pop up each time someone visits.
- Make it easy to find contact information, including working email addresses, phone numbers, Twitter handles, and order forms.