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Posted on April 18, 2013 by Julie Short

Client’s often want to cram it with as much content as possible on a website’s homepage. However, the designer is striving to maintain the integrity of the design. In this blog, I'll give you a few ways keep your homepage clean and why it's important to help your clients see the benefits of a clean design. 

More and more people look to search engines to find content, instead of a site's homepage. The search engine takes the user directly to the information they require and can completely bypassing the sites homepage. Obviously, this deep linking seriously reduces the prominence of the homepage. 

Add to this factor the rise of RSS feeds and more people accessing information via mobile devices, and you begin to see the focus shifting from the website homepage towards the individual pages of content. That is not to say homepages are no longer important, they are simply not as important as once they were and so do not justify the level of competition they receive in some organizations.

Don’t rush the homepage
By starting with standard textual pages, which makes up the majority of the site, you get to set the design style before it gets diluted by the land grab for homepage real estate. Once the client is on board with the design they will perceive it as being more important and so are less likely to allow it to be railroaded by content demands.

A homepage should reflect the sites content at the highest level and signpost the user to key content deeper in the site. In the majority of projects I work on the client hasn’t finalized all of the content in the initial design stage. It is hard to create an effective homepage until you have a full understanding of what content it is meant to signpost and represent.

Communicating the importance of white space
In the case of homepage design the heart of the conflict between designer and client is often a perception of the importance of white space. Every designer knows that white space is a fundamental tool of good design, but designers often won't express why whitespace is necessary in a way the client can associate with. 

Or in other words; the more you add, the less importance anything has. Designers sometimes sell white space on the basis that it looks better. Instead sell it on the basis that every item you add to the page detracts from the main message. 

You might want to suggest that a user has 10 points worth of attention they can give to the homepage. Every “module of content” added to the homepage takes a minimum of 1 point. More points should be assigned to more important elements. This approach will quickly show that the more you add to a page, the more likely important elements are going to get lost in the crowd. Use this as a method to focus the clients mind on what is important.

A clean homepage will help users navigate a site easier, make it look better and keep the visitor's focus on important content. 

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