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I want to make my landing page to display a project (the details page). However I also want to make it keep changing project every time user refresh. Is this a good practice?

Also, for the url, should it keep changing like website.com/portfolio-1 or should it stays as website.com?

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    Shouldn't you just create different landing pages for different projects? I would find it quite erratic if not annoying to refresh a page to find it's changing content. – Daniel Zahra Apr 2 '15 at 11:12
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    Welcome to the site @framelita. To answer your last question I would say that each project should have its own URL so a user can bookmark them. You could then show the project with the most activity first and an easy list of other projects for the user to search through on the homepage – DaveAlger Apr 2 '15 at 11:48
  • @Daniel There will be a Portfolio page where the user can go to see the whole portfolio list and there will be different landing pages for each projects. I was just wondering if it's okay to feature different projects on main page everytime user refresh. – framelita Apr 3 '15 at 7:04
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    @DaveAlger Thanks. I think I will just put the latest projects on the main page. – framelita Apr 3 '15 at 7:05
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I don’t think it’s a good practice:

  • If you keep the home page URL, it would not be clear that and why the content changes. Users visit http://example.com/, see a portfolio detail page, wonder why they don’t learn something about this site in general (like an introduction or an "about this site" section), and probably don’t even notice that refreshing the home page shows different content.

    Bots (like search engines) wouldn’t like this very much, either (that can’t reasonably index that page if the whole content changes everytime).

  • If you redirect to the detail page’s URL, bots can handle it more easily, and users have at least a chance to notice what happened (by looking at the URL, what probably not many users do, depending on your user base).

    However, your users expected the home page, landed on a specific page, don’t know why, and might not notice/expect that there are other items, too. They can’t refresh the page anymore to see another portfolio item.

What you could do instead:

Have a real home page (with a short introduction/about, etc.), and display a teaser for the random portfolio page.

Good practices:

  • Give it a heading like "Random project", so users know why this teaser is shown on the home page.

  • Offer a link to the full list of projects near this.

  • If users click on any link and then use their browser’s back button, don’t show a different project (they might have catched the random project from the corner of their eyes when visiting away, got interested, and hit the back button to take a closer look).

  • Offer a "Next"/"Shuffle" button if the random discovery aspect is important to you: clicking it shows a different project without reloading the page.

It’s good for serendipity,
users don’t get confused,
bots can handle it, and
you still have a real home page.

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It largely depends upon the site but I would say that in general it isn't good UX to have content change each time the page is refreshed for the following reasons...

Most everyone suffers from a condition known as change blindness

People might not even notice the change unless the view is drastically different after the page refresh. If one minor component updates with slightly different content then it is hard to even notice. Drastic changes, on the other hand, could knock a user off balance (Where did the search input go? Am I still on google.com?)

Here is an online test you can take where two images refresh with only one change between the two and it measures how fast users can notice the thing that is different.

The most important content should be shown first

If the user refreshes the page and something less important is replaced with something more important than this is totally okay and expected in certain situations such as news feeds, email, twitter, etc. If the content changes every single page refresh then it no longer feels like the most important information is always being presented first.

It's hard for a user to discover this interaction

The final reason that changing content on each page refresh is not a good user experience is that the feature is hard to find. If you really want to show random projects then add an action button that says "Show another example" so the user understands the result of their action.

Showing random content on each page refresh doesn't inform the user what is happening.

How can a user know that what they really want to see is 1 or even 10 page refreshes away?.

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