Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Voice in My Head

While working on other projects, I came across this extremely clear explanation of why splash screens on website home pages are bad architecture, if not potential evil. OK, that might be a bit much.

Sink the Splash Pages incorporates some Nielson work along with a lot of internet common sense. You're putting a wall between your extremely expensive content and the world, and it's going to have unintended consequences.

Research from all levels, Nielson to local, show that splash screens increase the likelihood of a user not continuing to the website. You've got to get advertising, but doing it in this way -- or promoting things you as a department are selling like tickets -- becomes an annoyance and has a negative impact on the content. They violate that most basic of modern internet communication precepts: it’s not a speech anymore, it’s a conversation. The splash screen isn’t just an outbound lecture, it’s screaming at your consumers to pay attention to something.

Nielson said it best: The homepage's impact on a company's bottom line is far greater than simple measures of e-commerce revenues: the homepage is also your company's face to the world.

Andy King adds this pithy assessment: Splash pages can backfire with users. Rather than enticing them to explore further you repel them clicking and screaming.

Where do splash screens work? When the message they convey is something of great interest to the end users and complements the message of the website’s home page. Primary example, short-time frame celebrations – a splash page that lauds a national championship or other momentous achievement that the users will find more information about after the click through.

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