A Brief Look Into the History of Landing Page Design

A Brief Look Into the History of Landing Page Design

If you’ve never had a chance to look back through internet archives, I would highly recommend you do.  It’s a fascinating look into the history of digital design and it’s interesting to look at the various trends that occur across time.

Taking a look at some popular websites over the years, I’ve noticed a few key changes to landing pages over time that I thought would be fun to discuss.  If you’re looking to re-design your landing page in the near future, these might be trends you want to consider when making changes to your design.

Calls-to-Action

Many landing pages today have a single primary call-to-action – a glaring button, link or field that calls your attention in an attempt to get you to act on it.  This is a relatively new trend, looking back 5-10 years, you may notice that landing pages often had multiple calls-to-action.

There could be several reasons, business or otherwise, that caused this shift but let’s consider this from the user’s perspective.  Generally, the more choice users are given, the more difficult a decision will be to make.  This means that limiting choice makes it easier for users to decide whether to click on something or not. Having said this, presenting only a single option may not always be ideal as that option may not appeal to more than one primary persona or user group.  Perhaps we’ll start seeing designs oscillate back to what we saw in the past where we’ll start seeing more than one call-to-action again.

Display of Information

When individuals and companies first started to create their websites, they wanted the world to know about everything they could offer.  The only issue with this is that the more information users are shown, the longer it will take for them to process.   Overwhelming users with a lot of copy will likely make it harder for users to find what it is that they are looking for.  This was a trend that we saw about a decade ago.

Now we see lean landing pages with a tag line and some supporting copy at most.  Of course this makes it easy for users to process the information available to them but this means that sites really have only one opportunity to grab the user’s attention. Again, it’s about finding a balance that suits your product or offerings.  You may find that you need to present more information than a single tag line, and that’s ok.  The key is to make sure that you don’t provide more information than is necessary.

Use of Images

Last but not least, the use of images has changed quite a bit over time. There was a time when the use of pictures was limited on landing pages due to long load times – dial-up anyone?  As this has become less of an issue, visiting a site now without images is almost surprising. In fact, large banners have become the focal point of many landing pages.  It’s the norm now to see one hero image, a tag line and a single call-to-action button.

Using images is a good way to compliment or enhance a message.  It’s also a good way to reach users who are visually motivated.  I suspect this trend is here to stay with perhaps a shift towards ‘Live’ images or gif’s; as pictures that move could be used to portray rich experiences in-depth.

If you have a minute, visit the ‘Internet Archive – Way Back Machine’ and have a look at the history of your favourite websites and share your thoughts on what’s changed for better (or worse) in the comments below.

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Lisa Min is a Senior Experience Architect at Akendi, a firm dedicated to creating intentional experiences through end-to-end experience design. To learn more about Akendi or user experience design, visit www.akendi.com.

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