I was wondering, should a website landing page be simple or comprehensive? I'm sure there are benefits for both, I personally like comprehensive... But i noticed my page now resembles Google reader, in that the frame of the site loads and then starts loading all the pictures etc....

My question is, is it appropriate to have a landing page like this? All the essentials to the site still load first... or is this a bad practice?

+1  A: 

It varies from site to site. Other than simple or comprehensive, you also have to consider the speed. If your page is comprehensive, chances are that it might load slower. Make your page landing page appealing and html is world of hyperlinks, you can use them anytime across your site :)

+2  A: 

It depends entirely on the purpose of the site and your anticipated audience.

I tend to err on simplicity. In a lot of cases, it's easier on your user to choose 1 of 3 options three times in a row than to sort through 9 options at once.

But at the end of the day, it really comes down to "how much information, or how many choices, are too much/many". That depends on the the sort of information/choices, and the user. The more sophisticated your users, and the more experience with your site you expect them to have, the more they will appreciate a dense interface. The less sophisticated, or less experienced (a first time visitor), the more they'll appreciate clear simplicity.

Rules of thumb, of course.

thanks for your opinion... i'd like to think my visitors are sophisticated, but I received a request to make "Any screen a touchscreen" the other day :\

It should not overwhelm users, I would tend to prefer simplicity. But it depends heavily on the purpose of the site.

The page should also load reasonably fast, else people will be impatient and go somewhere else. Also, Google starts to take loading speed into account for it's search engine ranking.

+6  A: 

It entirely depends on the nature of your business, but in general, I would say 'less is often more'.

You need good content on your site regardless, but you don't have to squeeze a sample of everything on your homepage. When a visitor lands on your site they need to:

  • be re-assured they have got the right place - 'Yes this is a site providing that service or selling that product'
  • be re-assured that you are credible organisation - your site needs to look professional and assured.
  • have a good idea of what other content is on your site (a summary or impression of what your site can deliver if they dig deeper)
  • and targeted links ('signposts' I call them) to the most popular or most topical or important content on your site.

Too much detail and you might scare them off before they start; too little detail and they not be encouraged to dig deeper.

CK mentions Google vs Yahoo. You are probably neither a search engine, nor a portal, so you are unlikely to want to look precisely like either of them.

Nice, clear, answer. Bravo.
Thanks. Clearly the time I have spent recently arguing with my Chairman over our website redesign hasn't been entirely wasted! ;)

It doesn't necessarily depend on the purpose of the site, it depends more on the purpose of the page. What is the primary action that you want the user to take when the land on your landing page? Make it obvious to the user. Secondary calls to action are also appropriate, but if possible, they should complement and be located next to the primary call to action. Secondary calls to action should be less prominent than the primary call and represent a lesser commitment.

As an example, a landing page that we've all seen in one form or another:

  • Purchase Now - The primary call to action
  • Free Trial - The secondary call to action
  • Learn More - Another secondary call to action (or if you prefer, tertiary)

Anything that doesn't complement, explain, or direct attention to the calls to action should be minimalized or eliminated from the page.

The most successful landing pages are those in which the page's calls to action coincide with the goals of the user.

However, no matter what anyone tells you, including me, the best course of action is to test which method is more successful so that you have objective results.

+1  A: 

I would argue that some domains like 'see everything at once'

Think finance market guys. You've seen the shots of the wall street traders, with 5 monitors on the desk so they can see everything at once. And they add tickers to squeeze even more info in.

Probably a good way would be to come up with some use cases. Why is each customer there, what do they want to achieve, can they achieve it easily.

+1 for Use Cases... as much as I hate the term, you need to consider the 'Customer Journey'.
+1  A: 

Most target audiences want simplicity.

Successful web sites focus on making the design fit the user instead of the user fitting the design.

Taking too long to download pages is the most commonly experienced problem with the web. Recent studies have shown that longer download times can result in people leaving the site.