Does Your Web Site Need a Home Button?

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    http://www.flyteblog.com/flyte/2005/07/does_your_web_s-2.html
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A freelance designer we’re currently working with asked me if she could design the site without a home button, feeling that the company logo could serve that purpose.

A few years ago I would have said yes. If there’s no home button and the company name and/or logo is by the navbar, it’s widely understood that it will link you to the home page.

However, from a usability standpoint, I’ve changed my mind. First off, it requires you to scan all the navigation. Although I recommend as few buttons as you can get away with, I’ve seen plenty of Web sites that offer a plethora of navigational choices. Not finding a home button might take a few seconds, which is a lifetime on the Web.

Secondly, some of your prospects may not be as Web-savvy as you are; they may not know that a logo is expected to take you home. Yes, they may ultimately discover it, but how many will give up while trying?

Strictly from a design perspective, I believe that if you’re running out of room the home button can be sacrificed. However, realize that you are making a trade-off in usability.

On the flip side, regardless of whether you have a home button, your company name and logo should always link to your home page…after all, it’s expected.

And one pet peeve: don’t relegate your home button to the bottom (or far right) of your navigation; put it at the top. You start at the home page, you don’t finish there. It would be as ridiculous as clicking on a start button to shut down your computer.

Rich Brooks
Homeward Bound

  • http://www.timflight.com/ Tim

    "It would be as ridiculous as clicking on a start button to shut down your computer." – Thanks for the belly-laugh!

  • http://www.timflight.com/ Tim

    "It would be as ridiculous as clicking on a start button to shut down your computer." – Thanks for the belly-laugh!

  • http://www.biztipsblog.com Denise Wakeman

    Rich, I couldn't agree with you more. People who are tech and web savvy tend to forget that there are A LOT of people on the web who are not. Don't make people have to work to find their way around a website. If there is no obvious way to get back to the home page, it really irritates me, and some designers don't seem to know that the logo should link home too. Make it simple and easy to find. Period. Your web visitors will thank you for it.

  • http://www.biztipsblog.com Denise Wakeman

    Rich, I couldn't agree with you more. People who are tech and web savvy tend to forget that there are A LOT of people on the web who are not. Don't make people have to work to find their way around a website. If there is no obvious way to get back to the home page, it really irritates me, and some designers don't seem to know that the logo should link home too. Make it simple and easy to find. Period. Your web visitors will thank you for it.