Yes, this is one of those strange meta posts that’s about the website in which the post is contained. My apologies.
I’m just about ready to let my new site loose in the real world, and that’s thanks to an epiphany I’ve had in the last few days. For ages I was agonising over one single issue: what should my homepage look like? How should it function? What is it even there for? I didn’t know whether it should house all the content on the site, or be a dump for everything that didn’t fit into my three categories (design, music, media) or just be a static page with a generic ‘hello there, well done for finding my website’ message. Sure, any one of those three options might be a bit boring, but there has to be some sort of meaningful content on that homepage because it’s right there at the front of the nav menu!
The ‘innovation report’ leaked by the New York Times a couple of weeks ago is, if you didn’t know already, a really big deal. It outlines the future of the company in a very honest and self-critical way, highlighting several key areas where it has failed to keep up with changes in technology and changes in media consumption habits. One of the big main points it makes is that the NYT has been putting a whole load of effort into how its homepage looks, and how its main section fronts look, and how its print front cover looks – when actually that’s just not how most people consume media any more. When people discover an article they didn’t already know about, it most likely happens through social media. When people do know an article exists, but don’t have it bookmarked, they’ll most likely google it. The same is true for the CBBC website (which I help run at work) and the same is true for my personal website.
So that’s how I arrived at the revelation that not only could I let go of that pressure to make my homepage something impressive and meaningful, but that I could in fact feel free to remove the ‘home’ link from my nav bar altogether! The homepage still exists, of course – it simply brings in all my latest posts. But by taking it off the nav bar I’m streamlining the user experience and encouraging people to skip straight to the category they’re interested in.