I recently came across an interesting article about the seven deadly sins of Web design. One element in particular got me thinking (not just because we were using it on our own site): the slider. Most sites you see on the Web have rotating panels on the landing page. It's a popular way to present a variety of information, right? According the article yes, but also ineffective. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of alternative examples out there. Well, look no further because we've got a few options for you.
Divide & Conquer
It's important that information be concise, but there's often more than one point, product, or service you want to call visitors to when they land on your company's digital front door. Sliders have been the popular trend, but that seems more because of pragmatism than anything else. With a slider you get more space, allowing you to illustrate with a bigger image or have a few extra words. What if you took those same slides, and divided it into three or four columns, each highlighting something important you want your customers to know?
A Picture is worth a thousand words...
... but a video is worth a billion bytes. A short introductory paragraph (2-3 sentences, max) next to a play button is very enticing to today's Web dwellers. Instead of a rotating set of information, try a two column approach with a video and a some additional highlights you'd like to call attention to. The video should be relatively short (no more than 60 seconds) and include a call to action that the visitor should follow up on. It's hard to get an overview of a business with several service or product lines, so you should focus on just one or two core services (or two you really want to highlight) in the 60 seconds or you might not be able to present enough information to whet the viewer's appetite.
Show me the Product
Something we did recently for a client instead of a slider was display some of their products. In this case, we randomly selected three products from the catalog to display on the landing page, so each visitor saw something a little different. This can act as something of an A/B test, where you can see which products are getting the most views and then start featuring them more (by changing the pool of products from which the randomized list is pulled) or less (so you can sell off some of the less popular inventory). This requires a bit more analysis over time, but it's a good option to showcase new products, sale items, or things you sell and think are just plain cool.
One of my favorite examples the 7 deadly sins article gave was for genesistutoring.com where they showed, very concisely, how their service worked. The other information about who they are and what they do, immediately followed, but the layout of the steps kept me scrolling and engaged. It's definitely an interesting approach and not an example every business will be able to follow.