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I am currently working on a homepage for a site listing many different types of products. The products sold are what they have currently acquired, meaning they never have the same things once it's sold.

I have set up the website as a tease; showing things based on user history, but also things based on how well its viewed in general. The user is supposed to either browse for inspiration on the homepage, or go straight to the categories listed in the navigation.

The client wants to list every single product on the homepage, separated by two tabs: "currently on sale" and "for sale soon". How do I tell him that a homepage is a gateway to other content, and its not a display case for all content available on the site? The current direction he wants to take seems to be to make the homepage a single page e-commerce website.

My question, is there any research to back up that this does not work for e-commerce? Or, if this is viable, how to go about it?

  • Can you add some sort of markup? Depending on what you mean by "category tabs" I'm not sure I'd consider all the products really even to be on the homepage simultaneously. – Tim Grant Sep 8 '17 at 12:08
  • They're not exactly category tabs, it's just two tabs with one listed as "currently on sale" and one with "for sale soon". The products on the site are never the same, they sell what they acquire. Have edited the question to reflect that. – Wanda Sep 8 '17 at 12:20
  • Thanks, and one correction on my part: I was trying to suggest adding a "mock-up" not "markup" -- which could still be good, although the question is more clear now. – Tim Grant Sep 8 '17 at 14:07
  • how many products? In terms of UX and marketing as well, there's a huge difference between 6, 20, 50 and 200 – Devin Sep 8 '17 at 19:00
  • So far the highest number was around a 1000. – Wanda Sep 11 '17 at 8:46
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There are a lot of great articles that tell you what to put on a homepage but very few that say what NOT to.

This extremely detailed article by Jakob Nielson has some great points to take not of. Here are a few things that should help you:

Emphasize the highest priority tasks so that users have a clear starting point on the homepage.

  • Highest priority! As a company, you might have dozens of products and hundreds of services that you provide but the idea is to

attract users, not smother them

Avoid redundant content.

  • Redundant doesn't mean exactly the same. It means, anything that might look or feel the same. As a car company, you'd have lots of variants and models of a single car. Can't go listing them all! Just show the top selling/new cars (yes, not even all the cars)

These should help make the client understand the purpose of a homepage. Here's another good article on what is critical for a homepage.

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I might start by asking the client which web sites he uses to purchase things. Also find websites by his competitors.

Analyze the websites that he uses, as well as those of his competitors. Point out strong and weak points of all of the. Also note the information found above the page told and below.

View them with him on a small monitor, as many websites look heard on a 36 inch monitor, but look crappy on a laptop.

I'm short, yet to demonstrate that the web site you are designing combines the his favorite features of websites that he either uses or great feature of his competiors.

Good luck.

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The client wants to list every single product on the homepage, separated by two tabs: "currently on sale" and "for sale soon". How do I tell him that a homepage is a gateway to other content, and its not a display case for all content available on the site? The current direction he wants to take seems to be to make the homepage a single page e-commerce website.

What's wrong with a single page e-commerce website? How do you know it's not an appropriate solution for the task? Focus on basics first.

You have a conflict: you want it one way, they want it another. It's a wash until one of you comes up with the research to back up your position, right?

Wrong. They're paying you (I assume) so the burden of proof is yours.

Dig into their motivations. Find out what job they expect their homepage to do. You mentioned a "display case" metaphor. Is that your characterization, or their words?

You also mentioned 2 tabs, "currently on sale" and "for sale soon." Why do they want that, have you asked? Is the site new, or has it been around a while? If it's an established site, monkey with the information architecture at your peril. Nothing's worse than moving the front door on users. You have to balance continuity with customer expecting against your designer's urge to innovate.

Think about your motives. What's your cause-and-effect hypothesis about your design? What makes it better? Does "better" have anything to do with their customers? Frame things in a way that you could put your assumptions to some kind of test.

And - at the end of the day, remember they sign the front of the check - you have to convince them, not the other way around.

As far as research is concerned - plenty of generous ideas already provided above. Start with your design theory as rationale, then maybe refer to some competitive examples. If you can't find anyone else doing what you're suggesting, good luck convincing your client to pay for the experiment.

  • Reading your post made me realize I kind of left out too many details; the amount of products can be up to a 1000, usually it's around 900 active products. That's my main reason to not want all that right away on the homepage, but on a dedicated page with filters. Especially since the product categories can be ridiculously broad and different (think car parts and jewellery). The tabs was their idea, I thought it'd be better to make those dedicated pages. Currently the site looks like the competition in terms of layout. Thanks for the food for thought! – Wanda Sep 11 '17 at 8:48

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