It’s always a big challenge re-designing a homepage, so we thought we’d share some of our thinking, why we made the choices we made.
All things NOT being equal
Any time you approach the design of a homepage you’re opening yourself up to world of conflicting opinions and internal strife. Every department insists on a prominent link on the homepage – as they see it, their link is a big reason people come to our site.
And they’re right. All of them. Sales, support, finance, HR – the people they deal with come to our site to connect with them. Our previous homepage tried to give relatively equal footing to all those different needs and ended up being cluttered and confused. It grew into a barrage of competing links all trying to get your attention at the same time.
We needed the homepage to be more focused. It needed to guide people along, sending them in the right direction at the right time.
Who’s your daddy?
The bottom line is that existing customers are the most important of all.
For existing customers, Login is the most important link on the page. Even though it’s the most important link, it doesn’t need to be the biggest link. It just needs to be easy to spot, then it quickly becomes a habit.
The secondary reason existing customers visit is to find add-ons, find an accountant or get support. Which are all covered in the Do More menu, right next to the Login link.
Getting down to business
With existing customers taken care of, we need to address our other visitors, who fall into these major categories:
- Business owners
- Accountants & bookkeepers
- Software partners
- Job candidates
- Investors & media
And they rank in that order. Even though they all seem equally important, they’re not. Business owners matter most because without them none of us would be here.
Accountants & bookkeepers follow very closely, so we definitely make sure we address them in a prominent way. For everyone else, relevant links are on the homepage, just not prominently.
What does a first time visitor, who runs a business, want on our homepage? They have a few key questions we need to answer, in a matter of split seconds…
What is Xero?
Xero is beautiful accounting software.
It says so right on the tin. Watching the video gives you a very memorable impression of what Xero is all about. That’s why it gets top billing.
Why should I care?
You should care because it’s beautiful – not just on the surface – it will change the way you do business. Don’t take our word for it, listen to what our customers have to say.
It’s important to remember, people don’t care about our product. People care about what our product can do for them.
That’s why all the content on the homepage explains the benefits of Xero – that it gives them a new way of working together and doing business. That it connects people and data together, in real-time. That it makes it super simple to keep everyone up-to-speed, so you can make smart business decisions when it matters most – right now.
What should I do now?
Realistically most people aren’t quite ready to sign up on their first visit – they probably want to learn more about how it works and what it costs, so there’s a Do More menu to guide people in the right direction.
Also, notice when the video finishes, it asks if you’re a business owner or accountant, then guides you to the appropriate page.
It’s made of…people!
Perhaps you also noticed our homepage isn’t dominated by a giant image of our product, like it used to be.
The product isn’t the reason Xero is important. Connecting people, so they can work better together, is the reason Xero is important. The focus is on people, not the product.
We also realized that people have an emotional attachment to Xero. That’s unusual for software. It’s completely unheard of for accounting software. So we wanted to make sure that new visitors get a sense of that emotional connection, which really sets Xero apart from any other accounting software.
One more thing
We built it as a custom page to keep it light weight and optimized for people on the go.
There’s a lot more thinking and exploration that went into the homepage redesign, but that covers most of the big ideas.