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Where to stick your logo

I’m going to take a guess and say that the company logo on your website is top left on every page. It may even stay there as visitors scroll down the page.

The reason is of course convention, but conventions are there to be broken. So why do so few sites break this one?

Long-established usability experts Nielsen Norman Group explained a long time ago. They undertook some testing of a mirrored home page and found that for every design they compared, more users remembered the brand name when it was displayed on the left side of the page, rather than the right side.

There are other, equally important, reasons. Telling users where they are is essential on the web, and the top left is the first place people look to see. There’s also the unwritten rule that a click on the company logo anywhere on a website will take you to the home page – so presenting the logo to users without making them search for it is critical.

Centered logos, as you might expect, provide mixed results. It seems that brand recall is closer to the strong performance of a left logo than it is to the poorer performance of one on the right. However, users don’t find them as intuitive as a means of navigation to the home page either.

So your website designer isn’t being unnecessarily conservative by sticking the company logo in the traditional place.