During the discovery phase of a web design project a few years ago, the client showed me a whole range of websites he liked and disliked.
Several of these sites had no obvious link in their navigation to go back to the home page. On each of them I watched as he went back to the home page by removing part of the website url in the url box. Intriguing. I don't often see non web designers use the url box. In my experience users tend to use Google search to go to a website.
But what puzzled me was why didn’t he just click on the logo? Much quicker and more efficient? After a while I asked him why he didn’t do that. Now he looked puzzled.
Client: What do you mean click on the logo?
Me: The logo is the home button.
He looked more puzzled.
Me: Yes, really.
He didn’t believe me. I challenged him.
Me: Click on it. It will go back to the home page.
He took the mouse and hovered over the logo.
The cursor changed into a little pointing hand.
He looked surprised.
His finger hovered over the mouse button.
He still looked disbelieving.
I encouraged him to click.
And then the did, expecting to prove me wrong. But he didn’t. The home page came up next. He gasped. Then he got agitated.
That’s just typical of you web geeks! You invent something smart and you don’t tell us about it! How is any non web designer to know that?
He had a point. No good coming up with clever things if you don’t tell anybody about it.
Fast forward to user testing I did a few days ago of another client’s website. Same thing happened except this time the tester used the back button. I asked her why she didn’t click on the logo instead? Because she didn’t know that was a button either.
As web designers we all assume that “normal” people know the logo is the home button. But they don’t.
Moral of the story. Don’t make assumptions.