If the homepage is dead, what is the most important aspect of website design?

With commentators pronouncing the death of the homepage, designers tell us what they think is now the most vital aspect of website design.

Hege Aaby, partner and creative director, Sennep
Hege Aaby, partner and creative director, Sennep

“The most important aspect of a website is the content. The design should make it as easy and intuitive for users to find what they are looking for. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the homepage is dead, it has just changed to aid people access a service or a product from the moment they land on the website. It’s now a stronger focus on user journeys, personalisation and user experience design to make websites feel more instant, intelligent and tailored to the user’s needs.”


Leland Maschmeyer, executive creative director, Collins
Leland Maschmeyer, executive creative director, Collins

“The most important aspect of website design is something that’s often discussed but rarely employed: empathy. It’s why I encourage our teams to never play the ‘it’s best practice’ card when defending their work. People don’t care if your site follows best practice; they only care if it works well for them. To achieve the latter, designers must develop deep empathy for peoples’ underserved needs and unarticulated desires. Only then can we make choices that are surprising, delightful, informative and valuable — qualities that, in my book, are far more admirable than ‘conforming to best practices’.”


Joe Macleod, founder, #includedesign
Joe Macleod, founder, #includedesign

“There is a cultural understanding of the ‘homepage’ that has been established over a couple of decades. The erosion of that model, though changes in media, devices and contexts, will be temporarily disruptive to us until we find a new agreed model. These digital cultural norms need to change as we evolve our understanding of the tools we use. Once upon a time we all thought portals were the best way to experience the internet. We would ignorantly package up all the content – weather, news, stock market prices – in one page. We realised this wasn’t a good direction and they all died. The inevitable death of the ‘homepage’ is digital evolution in action.”

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