Do you notice anything about the home pages of two of the top social networks? The web is all a-Twitter this week about the fact that the new home page of Twitter looks so much like the home page of Facebook. This is probably some of the biggest news of this kind since 2008 when Facebook updated its home page to look more like Twitter at the time.
The interesting part of this is that Twitter has moved away from its old look, which was more like the current Google.com and LinkedIn.com home pages. Why is this significant? Because Facebook and Twitter are trying to distiguish themselves (either separately or perhaps together?) as the leaders in the industry. Their competition at the moment is Google, and we'll know who won when Google does its next home page update.
It also brings us to another point that is good for all webmasters and designers to remember: While you want your home page to reflect your or your company's uniqueness, you also want new readers to instantly feel comfortable with your site. If a sign-in process is required, you don't want that sign-in process to be confusing. You don't want them to have to search around for a "enter site" button to get past your flash page (most won't - they don't have time, and they'll just move on). You want your "about" and "contact" information to be EXTREMELY easy to find. Basically, you want your readers to instantly feel "comfortable" with your site, and to focus on your content, rather than "searching" for your content.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking.