Common homepage mistakes to avoid

The same mistakes come up time and time again on homepages: things that harm usability or accessibility, or make it harder to get your message across.

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Images taking up all the space above the fold

Don’t let an image be all people see when they first hit the page. You need a message too. Images have a big impact, but they work best with words to draw the user in.

Using carousels

Carousels are a popular solution for homepages because they give you the ability to put more than one thing at the top of the page, or just to fit more content into a smaller space.

That might appease your stakeholders or make your page look more concise, but it creates a poor user experience. People don’t tend to click carousels because they think of them as adverts.  And they’re often not accessible either.

Images with no alt text or copy as an image

If an image doesn’t have alt text then someone who is blind or visually impaired won’t know what it shows.

If the image is just decorative – like an abstract shape or texture – that’s fine. But if the image is part of the message that’s a big problem. Worse still is having text in an image because, again, a person who is blind or visually impaired won’t be able to get their screen reader to read that.

Too much content or too many CTAs

Having lots of content and CTAs can overwhelm your users and make it harder for them to find what they’re looking for. Some people who are neurodiverse might find this particularly challenging.

You need to focus on meeting key users needs and serving top tasks, and cut anything that adds clutter and distracting ‘noise’ to the page.

We-ing all over your copy

Using the word ‘we’ a lot is a good indicator that you might be too focused on what you want to say, rather than what your users actually care about.

Yes, you need to say who you are and what you do. But should try to do this by speaking to the user directly and focusing on their needs and goals. For example:

  • 'We're the number one ecommerce platform' 
  • 'If you can dream it, you can sell it with Shopify'

Unhelpful link text

I saw a lot of unhelpful links, things like:

Make your link text specific, put links at the end of a sentence, and front-load the keyword where appropriate. 

Guidance on writing link text

Readability Guidelines, Content Design London

Writing in all caps

Writing in all caps seems to be more common on homepages than elsewhere. It doesn’t get your message across in a more clear or urgent way – it just makes your copy harder to read. You should use sentence case instead.

  • This is sentence case
  • This Is Title Case.

Guidance on using capital letters

Readability Guidelines, Content Design London

Old latest news stories

‘Latest’ news that’s from more than a month ago can make it look like your site is out of date, and make users doubt your professionalism or relevance. If you don’t publish news stories regularly, it might be best to pull this element from your homepage. Consider replacing it with a different content format that’s more suitable instead.

Not showing the navigation or using splash pages

Not showing your primary navigation on the homepage, using a splash page (an introductory screen that appears on first load) or an entry page can be really disorienting for users and leave them confused about how to navigate.

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