We all know that less and less visitors come in via our homepages and actually those years of rows over what should get priority on the old /index.html page are [slowly] coming to an end. All that said they are still a great way to set the tone for a site and also for someone doing a little research to get a quick comparison of what people are up to at the moment 🙂
Since the rise [and rise] of GOV.UK it could be easy to think there is only one way of approaching government websites but over the last few months there have been a few teams doing their own thing.
The National Archives launched their new look late September. As you can see below it is a very modern looking site, attractive but also easy to navigate. The ‘mega menu’ is an interesting (and slightly brave?) choice but I think it works really nicely. The options in search to swap between the site and the records isn’t that obvious though. It works great on all my mobile devices as well (which is true of all these sites.)
I’m not sure when the new Ordnance Survey site went live but I’m pretty sure it must have been this summer some time. I have to be honest I think the massive hero/carousel is way over the top but they have also made some interesting choices. The split of the site in to ‘Public’ ‘Business and Government’ and ‘International’ each with their own focus and secondary navigation is an interesting idea and something I batted around a bit at the MRC – sometimes it is just too hard to do a one size fits all website. They also do some lovely stuff with maps and geo as you’d expect.
The TfL beta has been available for a while now and I’ve been interested in following the progress on their blog. Again it is a very attractive site – it showcases some pretty impressive photography in that classic ‘hero’ spot but also puts the most used features of the site – like the journey planner – front and centre. I can attest to how well this works on a mobile as well given I am regularly a little lost in London and yet never download a Tube app!
Lest we forget this is now the standard we all get judged by. I once heard it described as “looking like one of those domain squatter pages” but the reality is the focus on just delivering what the user wants has been hugely successful (which I doubt was a surprise to anyone reading this!)