Homepage & Category Usability

Exploring the customer’s product finding experience

A part of Baymard Premium access

This study on e-commerce homepage and category navigation is the culmination of 2 years worth of usability testing and research, distilled into 61 usability guidelines.

Full access to the Homepage & Category Usability study includes 5 reports with 61 actionable e-commerce navigation guidelines, and a benchmark database with 11,500+ UX performance scores and 5,700+ categorized best practice implementation examples.

(Beyond including full access to this Homepage & Category research study, the Baymard Premium access also include 6 additional studies (E-Commerce On-Site Search, Product Lists & Filtering, Product Details Pages, Cart & Checkout, Mobile E-Commerce, and Account & Self-Service) with a total of 700+ guidelines covered in 70 e-commerce UX research reports)

This research-based and pragmatic toolset will help you achieve the best possible homepage and category navigation experience and conversion rate.

Huge Logo

“Baymard produces some of the most relevant and actionable user experience research available. They really understand the needs of UX and Product Management professionals, and their deep experience in the eCommerce field allows them to offer sophisticated, nuanced insights.

5 Reports with 61 Guidelines for Homepage & Category Navigation Perfection

Product finding is key to any e-commerce business – after all, if users can’t find it, they can’t buy it.

This original usability study focuses on how users navigate, find and select products on e-commerce sites. A group of users age 21-56 were recruited to test 19 of the leading e-commerce websites across 8 different verticals (mass merchants, apparel, electronics, jewelry, home decoration, toys & gifts, specialty equipment, and health & drugs). The tested pages and design elements include the homepage, category navigation, site taxonomy, category pages, and cross-navigation.

Throughout the test sessions, the subjects would repeatedly abandon sites because they were unable to find the products they were looking for. Indeed, the subjects encountered 900+ usability-related issues, and this is despite testing multi-million-dollar sites. All of these usability issues have been distilled into 61 concise usability guidelines that will help you design a user-friendly homepage and category structure so your customers can find the products they’re looking for.

What you’ll get in the 5 Homepage & Category reports

61 research-based design guidelines divided into 5 categories.

80 user quotes illustrating how users think when using the homepage and category navigation.

950+ screenshots showing concrete design and usability issues – and solutions to them.

60 benchmark case studies of production sites illustrating what works and what doesn’t.

399 print-optimized pages exploring the customer’s product finding experience.

Belk Logo

“I can not tell you how much help your benchmark studies have been for our company, e-commerce and UX teams. We have used and continue to use these reports for baseline benchmarks as we build test protocols or eye tracking scripts etc. in lab.

Topics Covered in the 5 Homepage & Category Reports

7 × Homepage & Category Topics

Homepage & Category


Homepage & Category


42 Guidelines, 104 Pages

The primary objectives of a site’s homepage, the opportunities it can provide to both new and repeat users, the homepage structure & design, carousels, personalization, and promotions.

Homepage & Category

Category Taxonomy

Homepage & Category

Category Taxonomy

16 Guidelines, 92 Pages

The structural foundation of a site’s product categories, including information architecture, catalog breadth, and category naming.

Homepage & Category

Main Navigation

Homepage & Category

Main Navigation

17 Guidelines, 80 Pages

The visual design of an e-commerce site’s taxonomy, including mega drop-down menus, the visual hierarchy, and courtesy navigation.

Homepage & Category

Intermediary Category Pages

Homepage & Category

Intermediary Category Pages

7 Guidelines, 55 Pages

How Intermediary Category Pages can guide users toward better-defined categories and products using inspirational paths, featured products, and curated content.

Homepage & Category

Site-Wide Layout

Homepage & Category

Site-Wide Layout

18 Guidelines, 112 Pages

How general site-wide elements should be designed and positioned, including considerations on newsletter dialogs, ad positioning, footer, and return policy links.

Homepage & Category


Homepage & Category


19 Guidelines, 188 Pages

How to implement accessibility-compliance requirements for e-commerce sites including considerations for images, links, form fields, page setup, site structure, and overall visual design requirements.

Homepage & Category

Digital Subscription Services

Homepage & Category

Digital Subscription Services

23 Guidelines, 118 Pages

What digital subscription service sites need to provide for users, including what types of pages are needed, how access to specific content should be provided, and what information to include in and how to lay out the plan matrix.

Room & Board Logo

“The Baymard reports have proven to be an invaluable resource for us. Comprehensive, pragmatic and actionable. We have redesigned our checkout process and made changes to our category pages based on usability guidelines in the reports.

Benchmark: Is Your Navigation Experience Better than Macy’s or Etsy’s?

Based on the findings from the research study we’ve benchmarked the homepage, main nav. menu, site taxonomy, and category page implementation of 60 top grossing US and European e-commerce sites, across multiple years. This provides you with a comprehensive benchmark database with 750+ manually reviewed pages, more than 3,200 screenshots, and 5,700+ categorized implementation examples of the 61 usability guidelines presented in the 5 reports.

When you purchase the homepage and category usability study you get full access to this benchmark database.

Furthermore the benchmark database include tools that allow you to review your own site (or your client’s) and see how it stacks up against the competition.

What You’ll Get in the Homepage & Category Benchmark

Full unrestricted access to the benchmark database with 60 homepage & category usability case studies of top grossing e-commerce sites.

Multi-Year Benchmark comparison enabling you to inspect changes to site design and UX performance over time.

750+ annotated page designs designs for systematic design inspiration on a particular page type (Homepage, Main Navigation, etc).

An interactive review tool to rate your own homepage & category navigation performance and see how it stacks up against the competition.

11,500+ UX performance scores providing a detailed breakdown of homepage & category strengths, weaknesses, and common mistakes.

5,700+ best- and worst-practice examples, illustrating how to implement the 61 homepage & category usability guidelines.

Lenovo Logo

“Excellent tool – looking forward to using it with our other sites and prototypes as they’re developed.

Get your 5 reports and benchmark with Baymard Premium

Get instant access to the 5 e-commerce Homepage & Category usability reports (along with 76 other e-commerce UX research reports) and the full benchmark database with Baymard Premium access.

Refund policy: We stand by our research and offer you a full 14 days “no questions asked” refund. If you’re not satisfied, simply e-mail us at christian@baymard.com for a full refund.

Baymard Institute’s research is used by:

Deloitte Digital Logo

“Baymard’s training provides the proper language and sound evidence to understand what it mean to create a truly usable interface in the ecommerce business.

Google Logo

“I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the amazing work on this audit. You should know that this has been very well received internally and there’s a lot of excitement around adopting the ideas you have shared.

Integer Logo

“My team loves Baymard Premium and it has become a valuable tool for us. We consult with a number of large brands and manage their eComm (both DTC and eRetail) and your data is amazing, it gives us all the testing data without having to run the tests ourselves. Our clients appreciate us having the depth of knowledge Baymard provides, we’ve used Baymard data multiple times to defend our recommendations and to inform our designs.

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“I’m an avid user of your reports and recommendations. I have leveraged your articles and findings for my previous B2B work at Grainger, B2C work at Ulta, and now I’m at Hyatt. Thanks

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“Truly a great learning experience about almost every aspect of eCommerce and the steps you need to take to improve the shopping experience for your users. Everyone working with eCommerce should attend this course. Absolutely worth the investment!

“I wanted to pass on some praise to the Baymard team. I’m doing some desk research at the moment into best practices for navigation, search and filtering, and I’ve been using a lot of Baymard reports. Even though we’re not in the e-comm business, the insights you provide have been invaluable and inspirational to my project. It’s really really great work. I’ve previously grazed the content before out of interest, but now that I’m actually putting it into practice, I’m really feeling the value of this work. Thanks for making it available so that the whole community can benefit.

WCR Window Cleaning Resource Logo

“I just wanted to let you know that I think your site is the best thousand bucks I’ve ever spent. I wish I found you years ago.

Avast Logo

“We have recently tested some of your recommendations for the Avast checkout and got some great wins!

Nike Inc. Logo

“Intelligent, consumer-focused insights that are clear and actionable. The team in the room really loved the way the Baymard Institute highlighted the optimizations in the various user experience elements (copy, layout, design, calls-to-action…), from the perspective of consumer struggles. Baymard’s Usability research really complements our other existing research tools.

Office Depot Logo

“Baymard has been a great resource in helping us improve the customer experience. We are continually applying these best practices to our sites.

Etsy Logo

“Thank you. This was an excellent piece of work: professional, thorough, and actionable for the team. We’re very happy with the work Baymard has done for us so far, and I hope we’ll have the chance to work together again on future projects.

ClickBank Logo

“It is immensely valuable having a thorough, independent study to help validate my work and in particular, help facilitate buy-off from stakeholders. Baymard has quickly become one of my most trusted resources for the UX/UI field.

Huge Logo

“Baymard produces some of the most relevant and actionable user experience research available. They really understand the needs of UX and Product Management professionals, and their deep experience in the eCommerce field allows them to offer sophisticated, nuanced insights.

Kohl’s Logo

“I really like the work Baymard Institute does around usability. Their articles often get my Ecom gears turning.

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“Damn. The reports that the @Baymard folks do cost money, but they’re worth it.

Smashing Magazine Logo

“This is very, very useful! Let me check what we can do to improve the usability in the Smashing Shop.

Sports Authority Logo

“Thank you for all the value delivered ahead of our new fiscal years. Your insights not only provided a definitive foundation for our UX roadmap but completely sold our executive team on the value of expert usability insights. Your service paid for itself in a matter of days and ensured all critical gaps will be filled ahead of us running the audit again next year.

Clicktale Logo

“Some time ago we purchased the Ecommerce Homepage & Category report - the research and insights are extremely useful to us and help us a lot in our work!

Belk Logo

“I can not tell you how much help your benchmark studies have been for our company, e-commerce and UX teams. We have used and continue to use these reports for baseline benchmarks as we build test protocols or eye tracking scripts etc. in lab.

Hallmark Logo

“These reports are fabulous. The content is exactly what our team has been looking for, and so much more! Extremely helpful, thank you!

B&H Photo & Electronics Corp. Logo

“I can confirm that the list was fully implemented. Every time we put up a change we either A/B test or we watch it very closely to determine that it’s doing better and not the opposite. So I can confirm that these fixes have improved our checkout. Thanks for everything.

Lenovo Logo

“Excellent tool – looking forward to using it with our other sites and prototypes as they’re developed.

Elastic Path Logo

“Baymard’s real-user research is invaluable for ecommerce marketers. It leaves no stone unturned, and with the guideline checklists provided, you’ll be well equipped to optimize your mobile presence.

Internet Association of Australia Logo

“We recommend it, especially if you plan on re-developing your website – and you want to make sure your web company is doing something near best practice.

Jarden Consumer Solutions Logo

“Thanks for everything. The audit was extremely useful, I think we have gained valuable insight.

Overstock Inc. Logo

“Thanks again for the great work on our checkout project. Our whole group found it incredibly insightful. We’re applying the suggestions you provided to our new checkout design which launches at the end of the month! One of my colleagues was also interested in your group’s competitive expertise with regard to responsive web and native apps.


“New e-commerce usability report c/o @Baymard helps us help our customers find the products they are looking for: http://t.co/6dRtNcUeuG

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“Thank you very much for the 7 usability audits of our country-specific sites. The audits have provided us with specific and actionable advice, allowed us to prioritize development resources , and enabled us to compare UX performance between the 7 different country-specific sites, and against State of the Art implementations. The audit itself is done really professionally and the recommendations contain actionable and insightful information.


“All you need to know about navigation & categories for a successful e-commerce website http://t.co/EqdqtTltWm Via @Baymard

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“I have found the M-Commerce and E-Commerce reports very useful, thank you!


“Does your #ecommerce site suffer from the usability problems Baymard Institute’s study uncovered? http://t.co/QTx4U5NrWl RT @boxuk

John Lewis Logo

“Many thanks for presenting earlier. I have caught up with the teams and they all found your audit report really useful and are on board with the suggestions.


“Quite excited to read this report covering e-commerce taxonomy: http://t.co/jCgZyAmt5H ht @benkappler #ia

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“Given the tricky science of conversion rate optimization, it is great to know that you are dealing with professionals whose advice is based on solid research. It was a pleasure collaborating with the Baymard team.


“A great report with many important findings and insights. A must-read for every web design professional.

RepairClinic.com Logo

“Within a very short time Baymard Institute provided 15 clear, useful improvement suggestions for our checkout process. We intend to implement all of them. It’s easy to find companies that offer website improvement suggestions. But, most companies don’t do their homework and don’t provide specific examples of how best to make the improvements. With Baymard Institute, the checkout process suggestions they made were intuitive, specific, and actionable. I highly recommend their audit service.

StickerMule.com Logo

“Wow, this is great! Just reviewed it with the team. It’s a huge help and we’re excited to fix these issues.

Hallmark Cards, Inc. Logo

“The walkthrough today was great. The report was very, very well done and loaded with great opportunities for us to improve our business. I wanted to again express my appreciation for working with us on such a condensed time frame last month. You and your team have been amazing partners to us and we very much appreciate the work, expertise and partnership.

S3 Stores Logo

“We implemented “E-Commerce Checkout Usability” guide for all our stores and saw doubling of checkout conversion rates. We will soon work on implementation of other usability guidelines. Thank you Christian and Jamie for your excellent work!

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“We like what we are reviewing from the audit - great analysis and feedback.

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“We have worked with a number of third party companies before on various projects/audits, and I can certainly say that working with Baymard was not only a pleasure; but you delivered on time; to the level of depth we wanted; addressing important issues; and answering all our questions; and you did all this for a great price. A big THANK YOU on behalf of N11.

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“We found the audits extremely helpful and validated a number of changes we have been wanting to make or are in the process of making, so thank again for all the great insights.


“Big recommendation from @waligorski: I REALLY recommend the BI report. http://t.co/xw6LXkm5iP - best 150$ spent. (cc @baymard) #ecomchat

EasyAsk Logo

“I have purchased the e-commerce search usability report and it’s great. We use it as a benchmark for search best practices.


“The Baymard Institute have some seriously good reports on ecommerce usability, design, and best practices: http://t.co/cuxO3VwiVe


“Worth every dollar. It’s well done, good looking and simply very useful.

Kingfisher PLC Logo

“The Baymard E-commerce Usability reports have proven to be a valuable resource for UX teams within our organisation both at group and operating company level. The reports contain precise, actionable insights and recommendations which are backed up by extensive research and data. The severity and frequency ratings have helped our development teams to prioritise which areas to improve first. The most recent improvements we’ve recommended from the Ecommerce Search report have been extremely well received by senior stakeholders and have already been fed into the backlog.

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“I love the information that you guys provide and have bought a couple of reports. Love them.

Room & Board Logo

“The Baymard reports have proven to be an invaluable resource for us. Comprehensive, pragmatic and actionable. We have redesigned our checkout process and made changes to our category pages based on usability guidelines in the reports.