CEO at Econsultancy
24 November 2000 15:45pm
Personally I think that splash pages are never a good idea. Never have I not clicked 'skip intro'. In some cases I have abandoned the site as soon as the splash page or sequence has started. But may be I'm just a 'savvy' web user for whom these pages are just a nuisance in the way of me getting where I want to go? Maybe some people out there are impressed? Maybe it does help the brand? I don't think so (and log files that I know of show that the 'skip intro' link is rather popular), but I'm open to hearing anyone's views.
To give some objectivity to this matter, I have copied part of an e-mail from Carl Zetie of Giga Information Group below:
"You would think that the need for a "skip intro" link would give people some clue as to how well received splash pages are...
By coincidence, I just co-authored a piece for my employer on this topic and other home page design issues. (This was a qualitative study based on discussions with a variety of users and website owners among our client base, especially in the context of our website evaluation service. It was not a systematic study or attempt to be statistically significant, rather it was a collation of repeated anecdotal evidence.)
We found that:
- Lots of new-to-the-web companies want to have the splash screen
- Precisely zero visitors do. (Yes, we did have a recount.)
We even found instances of people who were so annoyed that they took even more time out from their goal to send angry email to the webmaster!
Especially annoying were ones that replayed every time you returned to the company's home page because you got lost in their poor site design.
Some other comments from the study:
- The motivation for such a request appears to come from a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of the web as well as the nature of branding. The home page is a navigation page, not a destination page.
- The request for splash pages often came from marketing people familiar with other media and incorrectly thinking about the website in the same way.
- Some Web-savvy users actually interpreted the presence of a splash page as evidence that the company in question didn't know how to make use of the Web.
Actually, there is a pretty good correlation there: large, successful companies that really are internet-aware or technically savvy are very unlikely to have a splash page and in fact are likely to have a home page that is simply a navigational map (e.g. Cisco, Oracle, Yahoo!). Companies that have a splash page are generally small, often young, and are trying to *project* the image of being a savvy internet company. Oddly, it doesn't appear to have occurred to many of them that the way to do so would be to emulate the savvy internet companies rather than each other...
Bottom line: a website splash page is the very opposite of user centered. It sends the message "I consider my desire to 'project my brand' more important than your time, bandwidth, or goals in visiting my site." It remains a mystery to me why so many companies are eager to send that message.
Quote freely, attribute to Giga Information Group if it helps your case.
Giga Information Group"
Creative Director at Agenda Solutions
25 November 2000 16:16pm
I've yet to hear a credible reason for a splash page but I disagree with the assertion that intros which replay every time are the most annoying. If there's a splash page there, I want to show it as a bad example to clients and colleagues without having to clear the cookie each time.
On a more serious note: splash screens along with interstitials, pop-up ads, spam, banners that try and fool you into clicking, etc. should be filed in the wastebasket/recycle bin under unsolicited and/or dishonest promotion.
I find it hard to see how annoying or fooling the user creates brand value, positive PR or sales. I would encourage any credible company to avoid anything that may fulfill (imagined) short-term requirements without looking at the longer term effects.
Often you will find that a splash page indicates a naiive company or its agency, more focused on themselves than their users. They should be forced to chant daily the digital mantra:
"It's not what you want to say, it's what your users are prepared to listen to."
MD at Xavier Adam Public Relations
25 November 2000 18:17pm
I like them... sometimes... apart from when you go back on the browser and have it all over again.... :-)
On 16:16:58 25 November 2000 paul wrote:
>I've yet to hear a credible reason for a splash page but I
>disagree with the assertion that intros which replay every
>time are the most annoying. If there's a splash page
>there, I want to show it as a bad example to clients and
>colleagues without having to clear the cookie each time.
>On a more serious note: splash screens along with
>interstitials, pop-up ads, spam, banners that try and fool
>you into clicking, etc. should be filed in the
>wastebasket/recycle bin under unsolicited and/or dishonest
>I find it hard to see how annoying or fooling the user
>creates brand value, positive PR or sales. I would
>encourage any credible company to avoid anything that may
>fulfill (imagined) short-term requirements without looking
>at the longer term effects.
>Often you will find that a splash page indicates a naiive
>company or its agency, more focused on themselves than
>their users. They should be forced to chant daily the
>"It's not what you want to say, it's what your users
>are prepared to listen to."
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