This year we released our much-awaited Intranet Project. We had engaged the best Usability Consultants to provide us with designs and believe me they had done a pretty good job. But one of the usability feedback that we received was the “Where is My Home?” link.
People tend to use the “Home” link as their panic button. Whenever they feel they are lost somewhere on the site they feel like clicking the “Home Link” and starting all over again. So a very prominent “Home” link somewhere near the header makes sense. Our site used the generic pattern of making the company’s logo link to the Home page and to make it more obvious we also provided a Hover tooltip that says “Home Page” very much like one of my favorite site’s links http://www.smashingmagazine.com/.
|The logo is a link to the home page and also shows a tooltip about what it is.
But if your users don’t spend much time on the Internet and are not accustomed to this behavior they will probably have the same question. We wanted to dig more into this so we observed a few of the popular sites to see where they have kept their Home links.
|On “Facebook” both Logo and Home Link point to the “Home Page”.
|When you are on Amazon’s Home page it shows normal “amazon” logo. As soon as you go on any other page and roll over Amazon.com it shows a hover behavior and a Homepage link.
|Accenture Uses its Logo as well as its breadcrumb’s starting point as Home Link (Also notice the small image)
|UPS includes Home Link in its global footer
|HBO is having a home link in its Side Links Utilities Menu.
The link talks about various pages and the presence of Home Link although the study has been done in 2002 it is still very much valid.
After all, this digging in we can conclude the following things.
- User definitely looks for a Home Link on your site.
- The intuitive design of making the Site’s Logo as a link to the Sites Home page is well understood by many users and should be carried forward to avoid confusion.
- Breadcrumbs on the site should start with “Home Link” they can augment the cause but never should be present alone as a link to Home Page.
|Best Buy’s Breadcrumb is the initial link to Home Page.
- If your “main Navigation” where “traditional users” will most probably be looking for the Home page link allows (in terms of space) the placement of the link it should be very well part of it. But if you have space crunches find an alternative.
|The home Link on LinkedIn is available on the main navigation.
- If you do not have space in your “main Navigation” place your Home Link somewhere at the top and if possible use a Home image as well.
- Users very well receive the Hover effect. If you are making your site’s logo as a link to the home page make something change by Hover over the Logo image. A very good example of this is Amazon’s Logo.