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Keeping everyone happy on the home page

I’ve mentioned on many occasions the three-second (or five-second) test for websites: can a visitor tell exactly what we do, just by glancing at our home page? Because if they can’t, well, the first impression we’re giving is that we’re not here to make their life easier.

The common explanation given for not making things clear from the outset is that the parent company, or the MD, or even (secretly) we actually like that bland slogan filling up the screen. It’s considered a good thing to thrust that in the customer’s face before anything else. But I’d bet that’s then followed up by a paragraph of text which does the real job, something like:

WE PROVIDE SOLUTIONS
The Blue Widget Company supplies the world’s fastest blue widgets

So, what’s the answer here? How do we keep everyone happy? It’s pretty simple. Swap them around.

The Blue Widget Company supplies the world’s fastest blue widgets
WE PROVIDE SOLUTIONS

That’ll only take a website designer a few minutes, it shouldn’t upset anyone internally, and it’ll do the number one job of a home page: to tell customers they’re at the right place.