Why You Need a Home Link

One of the few things users can rely on every website having is a home page, which is understood as the official starting point that provides an overview and introduction to what’s available on that site. Being able to find this easily is especially important for visitors who enter from a search engine or ad, often bypassing the home page and landing on some other lower level page.

And at some point in their visit, they may want to visit the home page to see what type of website they’re looking at. When we watch people using websites, we also see people often going back to the home page when they become disoriented or when they finish one task and want to switch to something different. As one user put it, I just assume that when you’re trying to get somewhere on a Web site and you don’t know where it is, the home page is where you should go. Traditionally, websites have made this common navigation task easy by displaying a link labeled home in the top left corner of every page, as well as a logo that links to the home page. But many websites today have eliminated this text link and now offer only the logo.

This is an unfortunate example of designing for yourself rather than your audience, because to people who are immersed in technology and spend all day looking at websites, it may seem obvious that the logo is clickable and a text link seems redundant and unnecessary. But most websites are intended for a wide range of people who aren’t website designers. If you ask these people to stop and think about it, they might be able to guess that a logo is clickable. But when they’re actually using a website, they’re not analyzing it. They just quickly glance around looking for the most obvious way to get where they want to go.

A link that is labeled with the exact name of the page they’re seeking is the most recognizable choice. So just because some well-known websites have eliminated the whole link doesn’t mean that you should, too. Providing an explicit link that’s labeled home makes this common navigation task easier for many users. With all the work that goes into crafting the messaging on the home page, why not make it easy for your users to find it?

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