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Would like some thoughts on the first (entry) page of our current website, www.saintpetershcs.com Personally I don't like it and I think we should being users to a real entry page that could have a small slideshow but need more content for people to easily figure where to go....more along the line of something like this, http://stanfordhospital.org/

It seems that when people landing on the opening page right now they seem lost on where they need to go.

Edited: As a website user and coming to a healthcare website would you want to see a flash (ad agency like slideshow) or land on a page with information about the healthcare system, sites and services.

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What is your actual question? We can't just give you a review of your site, but if there is something specific you want advice about (more specific than 'I would like some thoughts on the page') then we can probably answer that. However if your question is actually "Should I have a big inaccessible Flash banner on the homepage with no useful content in it or should I have some useful navigation instead" then I think I know the correct answer there. –  JonW Feb 6 at 12:52
    
The flash page also switches to HTML5 so it will be supported on Iphone/Apple. –  Allen Feb 6 at 15:30
    
I don't think the problem is totally about whether that carousel thing is flash or html5 (although there is absolutely no good reason for it to be flash at all) it's that it exists in the first place. The homepage of the site has just a massive bit of nothing and no content. No wonder the users can't figure out where to go; there nothing there. People want content, not a big advert for the site they're already currently looking at. It's pointless and a massive waste of screen space. –  JonW Feb 6 at 15:46
    
When given the option, yes, always go with meaningful content on the home page instead of pointless flash intros/slideshows. –  DA01 Mar 13 at 1:41
    
I'm sorry… but your site looks like crap (somebody has to be that guy… and I rather like doing it). It doesn't tell me anything on the front page. What is this site for? What is it supposed to tell me? It has flash and a bunch of javascript, use HTML and CSS instead. There is actually nothing on your site that would require JS, much less flash. And please, make it responsive. Right now you get dark blue, light blue, then white going outward on a large/zoomed screen - ugly. –  bjb568 May 12 at 2:46

4 Answers 4

Don't do it.

Nielsen Norman did some research into this.

They weren't very positive about this type of intro/carousel.

This all stems from the simple fact that people don't read on the internet. They're in a hurry. Nobody wastes much time, unless they're really interested in something.

So here's your paradox:

  • Users that aren't interested in what's on the screen straightaway, will leave within seconds, so you'd have to speed up the carousel/animation greatly to get them to view everything.
  • Users that ARE interested will not have the time to read everything properly because it goes way too fast.

Combine that with often variable amounts of content without affording variable slide duration, and you're stuck with a nasty piece of UI that takes control away from the user without giving anything substantial in return.

On top of that, the controls for these sliders are often simple monochrome bullets that are hard to spot, too small to click and don't tell you what you're going to see once you click it.

This is all apart from the obvious but oft forgotten access issues for keyboard and screen-reader users.

Here are some more links:

http://weedygarden.net/2013/07/carousel-interaction-stats/
http://www.widerfunnel.com/conversion-rate-optimization/rotating-offers-the-scourge-of-home-page-design

Having said that...

There are always some use-cases where this type of UI is warranted. There always are. These are however few in number and very niche. I'd recommend them if you'd be selling something that can't be explained otherwise. Something that's best sold by being shown. Think about products like Google Glass, the portfolio of a professional animator, etc.

And then I'd recommend getting the movie put together by someone who specializes in it.

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I'll try to be nice about this.

I like the homepage you linked to. But as a user, I am sick and tired of seeing most new websites these days with a Slideshow-style homepage. When I visit a website, I want content. As much content as you can give me on a single page - with the bare minimum of scrolling involved.

I don't want to scroll horizontally or vertically just to view a total of 3 paragraphs on your entire homepage. I don't care about images as much as I care about content. I don't care if you can make a button the size of my monitor. I care about what you, and your website can do for me and how easily, and efficiently you can do it.

Slideshow-style homepages are bad for SEO as they do not contain much written content. It's OK for large companies who have already amassed a large user base, but not so much for the smaller companies.

Things I expect to see on your average Company website:

  • Content
  • About Us, Contact Us, Products / Services, Feedback, etc.
  • I also expect to have a glance of what exactly it is that you offer (Products/Services), in written text, and also some images beside it.

That being said, if you plan it just right, you can have the best of both worlds. You can have a fullscreen slideshow and also have lots of content.

Also, I would advise against the use of Flash on websites unless your website is using it to display an 'application' inside the webpage, or if you are using it for games. If you want a Carousel or slideshow or even movies, I would recommend you use HTML 5 (maybe have Flash as a backup for Movies for older browsers).

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Carousels (or slideshows) are not very useful, because more often than not they are skipped over by users. Some possible reasons include...

  • The information they want isn't there
  • They look like advertisements
  • More likely to scroll on the page for info, and miss the fact there is hidden content

You need to find out what do your users actually care about. Your brand promotion is likely not what your user wants, go out and get in touch with your users.

Keep it simple! If you can find a way to address the user's needs without bombarding them with information, then you're on the right track.

Give them clear action(s) that will direct them towards their goals, as well your overall stakeholder goals.

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I worked on a children's hospital website. Take a look at Boston Children's, Seattle Children's, Mayo Clinic, and maybe check sites that rank highly in your specific type of institution. This page uses a huge portion of the screen for 1 very simplistic message that takes far too long to finish. It cannot be interacted with and is the largest part of your site's download file size. Start with why people are coming to the site, who your users are, and the prioritize. For donations, use a different treatment so they stand out. Simply using a different color will help it jump out without making it annoyingly large. You might want to grab ideas from http://worldwildlife.org for how to increase donations if that is a business goal. But whatever you do, don't use the majority of screen real-estate just to say you do excellent work. A tout from local news or a respected magazine will do much more for your credibility.

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