A Review of Design Trends on 120 Web Application Home Pages
This article is a full chapter from the Web Application Collection, which contains 24 additional topics and 2,000+ design samples all focused on web applications.
For most applications, the sales process starts with the home page and, of course, this is reflected in the layout and design of these critical pages. Most often, the home page offers up a quick sales pitch that seeks to educate users on the purpose of the product and lead them directly to a conversion point, like a sign up form or free trial.
Beyond this, the home pages tend to include a wide range of sales tools. In some ways, the home page becomes a barrage of techniques to convince you that the product is worth trying. Some of these things include: videos, customer testimonials, customer lists, feature lists, and free trials, to name a few.
Here I have broken down the home pages collected into some common patterns. Let’s take a look.
The Sales Pitch
One of the most common design elements that you will find in nearly every sample here is a bold to the point sales pitch at the top of the home page. These clear messaging blocks are there to inform visitors of what the product is. the idea is to educate users as quickly as possible as to the purpose of the product so as to interest them to dig in more. This just makes really good sense. There is nothing more frustrating then landing on a web site and simply not understanding its purpose. In this case, clearly stating what an app does is key.
The subset collected here focuses on sites with tag lines that primarily tell us what the product is.
Focus On Benefits
A slight twist on the sales pitch is to focus on the benefits of the product and not so much what it actually does, things like saving time, maximizing sales, and improving customer relations. My favorite from this bunch has to be fromSlideRocket, which states “You’ll Never Go Back to PowerPoint.” This powerful statement is targeted right at their competition and rings true to so many users. Interesting that the most powerful thing they could do is set themselves apart from their competition in such a bold way. After all, I imagine the most annoying thing they probably get from people is a response like “oh, you’re basically like PowerPoint,”to which I am sure they are constantly rolling their eyes.
The point is this. Sometimes it is better to present the benefit of your product before you tell people what it is. Sometimes this can happen at the same time and in others it takes more work. Regardless, this can be a great way to connect with your visitors in a meaningful way.
A One Page Sales Pitch
A fairly common approach for many web applications is to turn the home page into a one page sales pitch. In such cases, the home page literally contains almost everything you might want to see and know to get sold on the product. This can include key features, pricing, customer testimonials, industry accolades, videos, and more. The end result is an overwhelming amount of positive information about the product. In the end, these one page pitches are a powerful way to demonstrate a lot of confidence and support for your product.
Lean and Mean
In stark contrast to the one page pitch comes the lean and mean category. In these home pages, they typically provide very little information and in some cases the actual function of the product isn’t even clear. The goal is to entice you enough to get you to dive in for a free trial or other key action. Such a simple approach is easy to forget, and depending on your product, this may not be the best answer. But if your product is easy to understand and better experienced then talked about, then perhaps this is just the right approach to try out.
Focus On Features
Obviously, at some point almost every website selling a product has to give you a rundown of the features. And, of course, web app sites are no different. What makes the following subset of home pages interesting is that they almost entirely focus on features.
A perfect example is the Hootsuitesite. This social media tool is not alone in its class. As such, focusing on the features it has is perhaps the single best way to sell the tool.
Interestingly, there were a larger number of samples for the atypical category than I expected. The sites featured here simply don’t follow the standard layout formula. Samples such as this can be a great way to find truly fresh ideas.
But wait, there’s more!
If you enjoyed this set of inspiration, you will love the full collection it comes from. Explore 24 more topics and 2,000 design samples to inspire your web application design work. Check out the full Web Application Collection for more details.