Design the home page

Description

Example home page showing 4 main features

Participants design the home page for a website, intranet or application. By doing so, they identify key features and content ideas.

The idea isn’t to do the visual design or even have it look like a home page. The idea is for people to identify the main things they would like on a home page, and then make a ‘sketch’ representing the ideas.

When they are finished, ask participants to explain what they have included and why.

You can use the home pages to identify key content chunks and priority information – it’s surprising how easy it is to spot consistent issues and ideas.

How to

Prepare

You’ll need:

  • A website, intranet or application to be the focus of the activity
  • Coloured paper
  • Markers markers

Run

Start by explaining what the aims of the activity are – to come up with ideas and features for a website, intranet or application and sketch (or list) them.

Explain the idea of the system. You may want to provide a lot of background, so participants focus on their ideas in some detail. Or you may want to provide only very sketchy background so participants focus on generating high level ideas.

This game can be done by individuals or teams (teams of 3-5 work well), so explain how you will run it and let people get into teams.

Allow enough time for participants to discuss the idea, focus on what they would like to present, and prepare their home page. This may take anywhere between 15 minutes and an hour, depending on the complexity of the topic.

When everyone has prepared their home page, ask each to explain what they have created and some of their rationale.

Analyse

To analyse the game, pay particular attention to the features that people have identified. There will usually be a consistent set of features that most participants come up with. These are likely to be key things for you to pay attention to and provide easy access to.

Also look at the relative priority given to the features. For example, if participants have drawn ‘Contact us’ in a big box on the page, you can interpret this as being important or currently difficult.

Example instructions

Outcome

The outcome of this activity is to design the ideal home page for you, based on what you need most from this website.You don’t have to create a beautiful graphic design, or even anything that looks like a finished home page. But you do have to identify the key elements you think should be on the home page, and their relative importance.

What to do

In your team:

  • Identify all the things you would like to see on the home page
  • Discuss which are most important and why
  • Sketch (individually or as a group) a home page that represents those ideas – this can be pictorial, or done in words

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