Monday, December 17, 2007

Analyzing the Future - Part 4 - Home Page Elements

An analysis of the placement of page elements on 18 newly redesigned college/university home pages.

This post is in essence a repeat of the research I did a year ago on the top 20 university Web sites. You can read that post here. The difference here is that the sites I'm looking at are completely different and they've all been redesigned within the past year.

I've changed a few bits this time around, so I went back and redid the numbers from last time to properly correspond.

Most Common Page Elements

No major changes here except that features and events have become more popular, and "quick links" have become much less popular.

Element Sites 2006 Sites 2007
Photos 100% 100%
Primary Navigation 100% 100%
Search Box 100% 94%
News 85% 83%
Top Banner 90% 78%
Secondary Navigation 70% 78%
Feature/Spotlight 55% 78%
Events 30% 67%
Quick Links 45% 22%

Page Element Placement

I've placed the results from 2006 on the left and from this year on the right. Overall, there were few earthshaking changes, but there were a few trends:
  • Identity/logo branding is more consistently placed in the upper left-hand corner
  • Search box placement in the upper right-hand corner has become almost universal
  • Primary navigation is less concentrated on the left side of the page, and is becoming more common on the top or upper right
  • Secondary photos have become more common and tend to be concentrated below and to the right of the main photo
  • Feature item area is increasing in size
  • News and events continue to be concentrated on the lower left-hand and right-hand portions of the page (respectively)
Top Banner

Search Box

Primary Navigation
Secondary Navigation
Main Photo

Other Photos

Feature Item
Quick Links

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