We’ve recently used heatmap software to get an impression of the way people use our homepage; disappointingly, the central area, which we use to promote university achievements, major news and events, is often bypassed. This indifference is largely down to everyday visitors using the homepage as an entry point to the GO portal, but we are concerned that major announcements are going unnoticed.
We’ve had some strong homepages over the past year, as yesterday’s blog post attests; but we seemed to have got stuck in a rut by using the same three story template time and time again. It is clear that the single story homepages with the dedicated background images have far more visual impact, and are harder to ignore as a consequence.
The obvious step was to add some interaction, so that we can navigate between stories, therefore individual stories can fill the whole area making a greater impression. Also by adding a random element we can ensure some freshness for each visit.
We’ve been using uppercase Futura Bold for our homepage headlines since the 2008 redesign; the justification for this was simple, that I felt it had more impact. Over time I’ve noticed that the blocks of text have a solidity, that consumes too much of the negative space around the letters; as a consequence the headlines are less readable.
So I’ve opted for lowercase Futura Book instead, as it seems to create more breathing space, but still has enough oomph for a headline.
The coloured bar on the right will be used to flip between screens, there will be a colour association based on tints in the image itself, or as a direct contrast to the background colour; and this will also be used as the highlight colour in the headlines.
There will be sub navigation across the bottom where applicable: the links will have titles if the sections are different, or can be generic circles if you are flipping through a gallery.
The new homepage style will make its debut for Edge Hill’s 125th anniversary celebrations, which begin in January 2010.