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I know that it is common behavior to have the logo of a web page be a link to the home page, but should I also have a 'home' link in the navigation bar for it as well?

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I agree with some of the answers. I wanted to add that if Home is not provided, you could always include it on the top level on your breadcrumbs. –  Ignacio Aug 9 '10 at 21:04

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I don't know how many times (many) I've been asked "How do I get back to the home page?" when I've skipped the home link in the main navigation.

I've started doing 1 of 2 things recently:

  1. Move the home link to the last or second last item on the main menu. I've wondered if this is a good idea because personally I often look for "Contact Us" in that position, but it seems to help users. But sometimes I will put it second last so at least it's there, but I could see this getting lost in the middle then.

  2. Add a home image (small house shaped icon) somewhere in the upper portion of the page, usually on the right. The removes the need for an extra menu item.

I haven't had any complaints after doing either of these (that they can't get back to the home page).

I also think the general reason why people want to go back to the home page is because they get lost on a website, so I think reducing the cause is a better solution that encouraging people to "start over" to figure things out. This is unless your home page is like Facebook or SO where it contains the most recent information.

I do also like DisgruntledGoat's idea of doing something similar to Facebook's logo/home link with a roll over to show that it's the home page link.

Similar question and answers here: http://webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/1649/

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Your intuition about why people click a home link is fairly solid. I observed a few usability tests for desktop and mobile sites. We found that "home" was more of a panic button than something that drove the experience forward. –  Tucker Oct 21 '10 at 19:26

If there's room then I don't see a problem, but if your navigation is horizontal you don't want it overflowing into a second row.

Having said that, if you plan to expand your navigation later then removing the link at that point might confuse users.

It's not essential - if you notice there's no "home" link on the Stack Exchange layout as the site logo is the name and that's obviously clickable.

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The Stack Exchange layout puts the logo next to the navigation menu. I'm sure that helps communicate the fact that it serves as the link to "home." –  Patrick McElhaney Aug 9 '10 at 21:05
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Well the Stack Exchange site mostly target a more experienced audience which are used to such navigation. For other audiences I think a 'Home' button helps with the navigation. –  Gamlor Aug 9 '10 at 21:07
    
@Patrick - that's a good point, the logo is effectively part of the navigation. –  ChrisF Aug 9 '10 at 22:05
    
@Gamlor - I take your point, it will be interesting to see with some of the more non technical Stack Exchange sites to see if it becomes a problem. –  ChrisF Aug 9 '10 at 22:06

It's true that it is standard practice to have a click-able logo that returns home. However, I have seen first hand that non-technical users have problems when this method is used exclusively. Even when Home is on the breadcrumb. For this reason I will always include a home link on the navbar. People expect to see it.

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I almost always add a Home link in the navigation.

Also users expect the logo to be clickable and to navigate to the home page.

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One way might be to do as Facebook does (the ultimate example of a site designed for average web users in my opinion).

A few versions ago a small home icon would appear when you hover over the logo. This very quickly conveys what clicking on the logo will do without having to tell the user or to make it noticeable when the user might not been it (hence appear on hover).

What they do now though is have a very obvious hover effect (the background gets lighter) so the user can see that clicking the logo does something, however maybe not exactly what until they click it for the first time.

Maybe try something like the first situation.

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Having a hover effect definitely improves the experience, it clearly shows that its a navigation element. The only problem is with touch screens because there's no hover behavior. –  mbillard Aug 9 '10 at 23:39
    
Very true, however I was assuming this was for a website for use on a normal computer. Maybe if you know a device is a touch screen you could add a small home icon next to the logo or make it so the hover effect is always on (in effect just always show the home icon). –  matto1990 Aug 9 '10 at 23:44

I'd say that ultimately it depends on your userbase. A lot of mine for instance are reasonably uninitiated, so on our Intranet applications we still include it and also make the logo/header link back to the main page.

Breadcrumb or not, users need an obvious way of getting home and the best way to go about that would be to include a link in your navigation. That way, it's a little more intuitive for users of all abilities.

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I do also believe that this is completely on a "depends" basis. I mean, it depends on:

  • Whether the site logo (as a home page link) is obvious enough for users
  • Whether you have enough space on your nav bar, for a separate home link
  • Whether you are expecting so-called "noobs" (who may not be used to the logo being a link to home, as pointed out before) or a little bit more advanced users who are used to looking to the logo for the home link
  • Whether your site is large enough to warrant a duplicate home link

As a general rule of thumb, I would suggest that you do go ahead and have the logo be a link to home (obviously), and then go ahead and conduct some user tests to ascertain whether you need a separate link or not.

You may get all kinds of advice from people, professionals, books and so on, but until you conduct tests or get feedback after you have implemented whatever you have chosen, you will not know for sure which way is best. Good luck. -b

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I often think about this question when I approach the main navigation for a site, and the answer will usually vary depending on the individual context. For example:

• How many items need to populate the main navigation; can we afford to add ‘Home’ without cluttering it?

• How web-savvy is the intended user-base of this site? Look at the personas - would they recognise a design pattern such as a site ID link? (If you're not still not sure, user testing is key)

• Does the site’s logo design lend itself to being a clickable object? (It may be of a size, shape or visual contrast that doesn’t make it easily recognisable by users as the site ID)

• How frequently do you see a user wanting to return to the home page, given the site’s content?

• How ‘deep’ does the navigation go? How frequently do you see users needing a journey reset button?

• Is there important content on the home page that you can frequently seeing users going back for?

My advice is also to always include a clear breadcrumb. One thing that continues to surprise me in usability tests is the amount of people who regularly use the breadcrumb.

At the end of the day though, user testing should answer this question. If users are struggling to figure out how to return to the home page for lower level content, it might be time to add a link in the main navigation :-)

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Personally I hate them. I prefer the Stack Exchange approach of having the logo be the home page and close to the menu. But, the best example of the logo being part of the menu is definately apple.com.

Some other examples:

Microsoft.com - no home link Dell.com - no home link Intel.com - no home link Sony.com - no home link HGTV.com - no home link (and a counter argument about StackExchange users being more sophisticated than other users)

Because I have to thrown in sites I love with Home links: LinkedIn.com - home link 37signals.com & child sites - home link

I think when you view enough large sites you realize that their is a trend to let the logo be the home link for numerous reasons.

One reason I personally think is important and relevant is SEO - using the alt text for the logo is much more valuable than having home as anchor text for a link. Having numerous links to the same content that early in the HTML can also have a negative effect.

While duplication of navigation can be very helpful - it can also eat up valuable whitespace or space for other navigation.

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Don't forget that the Home page link is just a part of the information architecture. Having it in home page depends on the rest of it.

Eg. a better choice for this might be the breadcubms menu:

You are here: home -> category -> product

This works best as a reverse navigation, so the clickable logo with a hover effect should be enough in this case.

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