SAMO© homepages

In the late 70s before he became the darling of the Manhattan art-world Jean-Michel Basquiat was painting graffiti around NYC using the tag SAMO© – this stood for ‘same old shit’ and it is one of those little factoids that have always stuck with me.

Over the last couple of weeks I have looked at the homepages of upwards of 100 government, quango, university, charity and foundation websites looking for inspiration (read ideas to steal!) and what I have discovered is that it is all a bit SAMO© 🙂

I don’t really mean that in a bad way but it is clear that over the last couple of years a dominant format has emerged for primarily ‘information’ website homepages.  This ‘carousel’ dominated format (examples of which are below) is actually one in the past I have been a fan of and there are some very nice examples around but I do wonder whether it is actually the most effective direction to take?  I am increasingly unconvinced of the success of carousels as either a navigation or even marketing tool (though I should probably seek some evidence to back that up!) and also as I am also starting to believe the hype about ‘responsive’ websites – particularly above and beyond creating separate mobile versions of sites – I’d like to be sure that any format would suit this as well.



So has anyone got any interesting examples of organisations doing something different?  In this kind of niche – I am well aware of more radical designs out there but I’m looking for websites from these kinds of information/content heavy sites that are not commerce nor news – like everyone I have been ‘inspired’ by the BBC alot in the past (and their GEL stuff is hugely useful generally) but they might have gone a little too radical with their latest homepage for my immediate needs!

To be honest if this the best way forward I am happy enough – to some extent I am second guessing myself as I have already produced wireframes and getting design concepts based on this format but I just have this nagging doubt I want to silence before I go any further.

3 responses to “SAMO© homepages”

  1. I think you’re right about this Matt: avoiding SAMO(C) – great.

    However: avoiding SAMO(C) by mimicking what others are doing? Sounds a a recipe for SAMO(C)…

    What need or value is the homepage trying to deliver? You’ve not mentioned it…I don’t think designing a homepage on what looks pretty – or works for someone else – is such a sharp idea – unless they really do share your needs 😉

  2. I don’t think ‘mimicking’ anyone has ever been my intent (and I’ve been doing this a long time) – I see nothing wrong with looking around for inspiration though and it was only when I realised all the sites looked the same that I really started to look at more and more – it is not as if I will be looking to clone a site lock, stock and barrel. I certainly have never done anything because it looks ‘pretty’ and I understand the needs of my users pretty well at this point but also understand that those needs are not unique.

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