An article that still sucks…

… and by that I mean it sucks me right into it! Remember Great Homepages Really Suck by Cameron Moll? I read it back when it was new in 2003, and it was lovely to read it again today as part of my homework for DGM 2740.

We’re asked to review on the following criteria:

  • Is the article well-written?
  • Is the article applicable?
  • Are arguments in the article valid and sound?
  • How is information in the article applicable to Web designers?
  • How can we interpret the article’s information with respect to visual design, usability, Web standards, etc?

To the first three questions: YES, YES, and YES! Here’s a seven year old article that is still perfectly applicable to web designers and the clients they serve today.

In fact I’m currently encouraging my clients to get more, not less, content on their pages, both so that search engine spiders are more likely to find them, and so that the folks who find them will find what they’re looking for. More often than not, they’re looking for information, not for an immediate purchase, and we want them to stay on the site, remember it, and use our information to make a good purchase decision.

The Bottom-Up development Cameron Moll mentions is just another way of explaining what we were taught to do in this class: create the content first and then use the home page to create logical, easy-to-use paths to that content. “Determine the final pages on which your visitors should land, and emphasize those pages on your homepage.” I remember hearing Cameron speak on Good vs Great design. Well, this article isn’t just good, it’s great, because it’s so brilliant and simple. I love it.

As far as web standards go, this thinking applies well here, too. After, if users can’t get at the content, it doesn’t matter how “flashy” the home page might be.

While the particular design suggested for his example, Salisbury, doesn’t look trendy by todays standards, that was SEVEN years ago. The principles still apply perfectly, and many of the features he’d suggested are in fact being used on Salisbury’s site today with an updated look and feel.

Personally speaking, I was glad to read this today; it reinforces exactly what I’ve been trying to do with my clients. This is a classic article for the ages.

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