We All Know Splash Pages Are Crap

“Tell them in words, image and ambience where they are and what they can expect”

Splash pages are those sucky things you hit which are supposed to somehow show you how slick a site is but which in all but very very few cases just costs us a little piece of our lives. Time is expensive and it better be good if you’re thinking of trying that one on your visitors (there are probably good studies of bail out rates I’d be interested in looking up as well).

And then there are those home pages without content, sometimes passed off as minimalist, which don’t achieve anything except to show a logo. To me this is just a splash page I get to see over and over. Why am I there? What is it offering me except one click more to get to the real site? Or is it simply lacking a navigation scheme on the home page?

OK what if it is JUST the navigation scheme on the home page? How many minimalist sites are a short list of links in the top left hand corner feigning originality for lack of invention? Yep that was a cruel blow. But honestly I’ve seen a list of Times New Roman plain black navigation as the ONLY content on a site home page lauded as prophetically amazing minimalist design. Don’t laugh this was a graphic designer saying so and I couldn’t help but laugh. Who owns the copyright on that one?

Its just there’s a general concept out there that makes sense - when your site visitor hits your page you have a few seconds to tell them in words, image and ambience where they are and what they can expect on your site. Do you sell shovels? Are you a miner’s union?

I’m guessing I fail this very test in many instances so don’t take it as my throwing eggs at anyone in particular. This is more an introverted observation about something that probably stems in part from laziness. In the end there is signal and noise. Signal is your message and noise is anything that stands in the way of that message.

Anything that does not contribute to your signal is just noise.

3 Responses to “We All Know Splash Pages Are Crap”

  1. Matt Robin Says:

    Alright, alright - the content’s going up mate!!! Hahaha!

    I read: “We All Know Splash Pages Are Crap” in the RSS Feed and impulsively agreed whole-heartedly! :)

  2. nortypig Says:

    Ha I wasn’t thinking of your site at all lol. I’m thinking of some specific ones though where its for all intensive purposes a splash page but they make it their home page…

    or where they just put a small list of 8 page links with no content… and i wonder why didnt they just put one of those pages of content with that list of links… its frustrating…

    but more generally i guess you know what I mean about signal and noise in a communication sense. Web design is as much about communication as about technology, one is a means to an end.

    And often, especially for design firms, I hit their page and think WTF!!! If I can’t figure out this page how is the average Joe gonna get it? Ha.

    So wasn’t having a go at you Matt… Cheers mate

  3. Matt Robin Says:

    Yeah…sites that use Splash pages have a similar effect on me! It’s one of those classic Web Design ‘No-No’s that should never happen at all (and for all the reasons you’ve stated)…

    I came-up with a good explanation for a (potential) client’s re-design once: Their site had a splash page - from the previous designer…and when I saw it, I said to the client “In Web Design terms: a Flash Screen looks really childish and amateur…but worst of all - it’s delaying your customers from seeing your true content and taking longer to make a sale!”

    …at which point there was much head-nodding and the splash page was scrapped straight away! (Unfortunately I didn’t get the work on that one…but hey…win some/lose some!) :D