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Too many sheep

Yesterday we discovered that, for most companies at least, there are way too many links on your home page. Seriously, if there are only two or three things you want visitors to do, why are you thrusting 150 links in their faces?

I suspect that it’s a modern day occurrence of The Tragedy Of The Commons, a socio-economic theory which goes back to the 19th century. This basically says that a shared resource always gets destroyed by overuse. If a group of herdsmen share a common field, for every animal they add, the individual herdsman gets all the benefit, but the negative impact is shared. The logical course of action, therefore, is for each to add as many animals as possible, until the pasture becomes useless to all.

With your home page, the same thing happens. When you put something in a prominent position on the home page, it gets lots of exposure. It looks great. And the downside? Well, there’s just one item more on the home page. That’s not a big imposition, is it? Not with all those other links there. Inevitably, with everyone fighting for the same space, the only solution is to manage areas as a timeshare, nowadays usually with a rotating carousel, so each department can have the same space. Once you’ve got all this going on, dozens of lesser links tend to sneak on to the page too.

And the visitors? Nobody seems to care about them any more. Worse still, nobody seems to care about what the company would like the visitors to do, either.

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