Homepage vs Dashboard customization

7 Oct 2012 - 3:17pm
1 year ago
5 replies
15737 reads
Mia Kos
2010

Hello, 

I'd love to hear some thoughts about customized Homepage vs customized Dashboard, as a starting point for different user types. Meaning homepage content is customized for new and returning visitors, while dashboard becomes a homepage for anybody who already has an account (registered, subscribed and expired users). Many examples of this, Facebook, Twitter, Couchsurfing... Still, some sites decide to use their homepage as a starting point for both logged in users and new visitors, Amazon and Airbnb, to name a few. 

To me the the first is a much better option, it's easier to customize (especially layout wise). Also, users who already have an account need their own tools and personal content to be as close as possible.

Am I missing something here? Does anybody see any other reasons why one would choose to have a homepage as a starting point for everybody?

Many thanks!

Mia Kos

 

Comments

7 Oct 2012 - 11:21pm
Joe Ortenzi
2008

Depends. I guess the one thing I think you're missingf is any mention of the users specific to the site you are working on. The "better" option is one thast fits the users of this site better, not really an intrinsically better starting point, just one that matches largest proportion of users and has enough advantage for those who don't like it to still want to stick with it.

What do the users say? What's the business case for either? What is the demographic and how does each layout play against known user demographics? What are the user's reasons for using the site? Are there cross-form-factor issues? (desktop/mobile/tablet)

Do you have any opportunity to test among real users or defined personas?

etc, etc?

8 Oct 2012 - 3:46pm
Mia Kos
2010

 

Joseph, thanks for your comment. Firts paragrapgh - yes sure, agreed. :)

Site is similar to a dating site, the user pattern depends on the stage in the process the member is in. Keep in mind there are several users types explained belowThere is no one big group which does one specific thing most of he time. That would make the decision easy-peasy :). As for business goals there is nothing on the homepage that makes money and that could not be equally well presented on a dashboard for example, at least not to my knowing. The site I'm working on is a redsign, I did testing on the current version and can do more testing with real users.

 What do users say? Many things, it heavily depends on the users group and their stage in the process. 

 Registered users - don't have the full functionality, main business goal, as always, turn them into paying members. They mostly have doubts if the service will be what they expect it to be and if they will be able to accomplish their main goal - e.g. get a successful date. They use search intensively, they have no use of the inbox as they don't have messaging functionality.

 Paying members-have full functionality and specific needs divided into two main categories. 1. search, 2. communication with other members. If they've just started using the service they use search intensively, if they've been using the service for a while they are more focused on communication with other members - they go straight to the inbox and spend most of the time on the route my inbox-specific message-message sender profile page (especially for new messages). 

Expired members - lost interest or expired for other reasons (specific data is available - 1. lost interest because they were unable to accomplish the main goal ( e.g. get a date), 2. they accomplished the main goal and don't need the service anymore, 3. expired for other reasons we can't address with the design. Obviously, needs of the first group have to be met better and there is an existing strategy for doing so based on teaching them how to get more out of the service.

But to go back to the homepage vs dashboard customization. My line of thinking till now. Use homepage for new and returning visitors, we can customize content by their geographical location. If we focus the homepage design on only communicating the value of the service it will be easier to get it right. If the same design also needs to adapt to other user types, it will be a bigger challenge. Use customized dashboard as a starting point for anybody with an account. Although, the staring point for search is on the homepage (Airbnb.com style), this can easily be solved by placing a smaller search on the dashboard. This solves the problem for members who are using search intensively, plus they will be able to go into the search process through a personal recommendation. 

I think I have answered a lot of my questions by writing the explanation :)If you think I'm missing something please do shout, and thank you for asking the questions in the first place. 


 

8 Oct 2012 - 8:51pm
Joe Ortenzi
2008

HI Mia

Wow! Thanks for the info. I'll reply in more detail when I have a moment, but I just want to clarify one point. 

When I say "Business Goal" I can understand why you take that to mean business in the pure sense, of selling something. But a business goal can involve no money, sale or exchange of assets. Many people use "Business end"  to describe the logic of a web application, for example.

For example, A business goal could be to reduce call-centre telephone support costs, or in your case, more broadly, to help convert ordinary users to premium users and reduce the number of users with abandoned accounts.

It sounds like context sensitivity leads content presentation, so it may help if you charted all the user scenarios in order to simplify and clarify the business case and user expectations of each situation, to make sure people can find what they're after or have a path to their needs addressed. 

10 Oct 2012 - 4:16am
Mia Kos
2010

 

 

 

Hi Joseph,  

My apologies for the information overload :) and many thanks for your time and comments. Yes, I do understand the "Business Goal" concept and different things it can mean, and you are absolutely right, mapping that clearly out, and connecting it with the design solution and differetnt users' needs, helps a lot. Still, I think my problem in this particular case lies more in the area of 'Ok, we have data which supports solution 1 as a slightly better option for this user group, but as there is no very big, clear difference, the solution number 2 could be a valid choice if we add 'this' and 'that.' For this reasons, I'm having problems communicating why the proposed solution 1 should be chosen. There is a deadline involved as well :). Thanks for your help till now, any further comments welcome.  Bye,  Mia

 

 

 

10 Oct 2012 - 4:16am
Mia Kos
2010

 

 

 

Hi Joseph,  

My apologies for the information overload :) and many thanks for your time and comments. Yes, I do understand the "Business Goal" concept and different things it can mean, and you are absolutely right, mapping that clearly out, and connecting it with the design solution and differetnt users' needs, helps a lot. Still, I think my problem in this particular case lies more in the area of 'Ok, we have data which supports solution 1 as a slightly better option for this user group, but as there is no very big, clear difference, the solution number 2 could be a valid choice if we add 'this' and 'that.' For this reasons, I'm having problems communicating why the proposed solution 1 should be chosen. There is a deadline involved as well :). Thanks for your help till now, any further comments welcome.  Bye,  Mia

 

 

 

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