Starting Points for Three Types of Users

Different types of users prefer different starting points. You should include all three types of starting points on the home page. On main category pages, you can leave out the "First-Timers" starting point.

Three types of user starting points:

  • Search Forms: Searchers are usually experienced users, or know exactly what they're looking for. They will nearly always head straight for the search form. So make sure the search form is displayed prominently above-the-fold of the page;
  • Browser Links: Browsers are inexperienced users, or don't know exactly what they are looking for. They will almost always look for links to content they may be interested in. Prominent links to main categories, content features and special offers will catch the interest of users; and
  • First-Timer Guidance: New visitors, or first-timers can usually benefit from a guided tour, or in-depth overview of your site's content and features. You should promote a link to the first-timers page near the top of the page.

The first-timers page should provide information on, or links to, the following topics:

  • The benefits of using your site;
  • Your site's features;
  • The content departments or categories available;
  • Information about your company;
  • Your registration form;
  • Starting points links and a search form;
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ);
  • Mini site map; and
  • Privacy statement.

For e-commerce sites, also provide information on, or links to, the following topics:

  • How to order;
  • Accepted payment methods;
  • Secure shopping statement;
  • Satisfaction guarantees;
  • Shipping and return policies; and
  • Details on how to contact you for further assistance.