Homepage & Category Navigation UX

How do users perceive your homepage and navigate your categories?


A Research Study on ‘Homepage & Category’ UX

61 guidelines for e-commerce navigation

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.

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.

This page provides you an overview of Baymard’s research specific to Homepage & Category Navigation UX.


The Current Homepage & Category Navigation UX Performance

To accompany the usability test sessions we’ve also benchmarked 60 top-grossing US and European e-commerce sites across the 61 Homepage & Category Navigation usability guidelines. This benchmark has been conducted three times, first in October 2013 and latest in May 2018. This has resulted in a benchmark database with 10,980 homepage and category navigation elements manually reviewed and scored by Baymard’s team of UX researchers, along with more than 5,870+ categorized best- and worst-practice implementation examples from leading e-commerce sites.

The Homepage & Category Navigational UX performance for the average top grossing US and European e-commerce site is just above “acceptable”, with an impressive 7 of the 60 view) sites benchmarked having an overall “good” UX implementation and performance, and only 2 having substantial overall UX issues – with the “large middle” performing acceptable.

With that said, the benchmark dataset also shows that there’s still room for improvements when looking within the specific topics of the user experience – in particularly the UX within Homepage, Main Navigation, and ntermediary Category Pages, cause issues for many sites, with some generally “missed opportunities” within the e-commerce industry as a whole.

Learn more on Homepage & Category UX performance in:

Our article “7 Navigational Implementations that Make Kohl’s Best-in-Class”
By exploring our e-commerce UX benchmark


672 Categorized ‘Homepage & Category Navigation’ Examples

(free research content)

Explore annotated design patterns across 672 examples of Homepage & Category Navigation designs and features from leading e-commerce sites, organized into 4 different categories.

This is a great way to get inspiration for your own Homepage & Category Navigation design, and to get a feel for emerging trends in e-commerce navigation.

Browse all 641 Homepage & Category Navigation design examples




5 Research Reports on Homepage & Category Navigation UX

(paid research content)

All 61 Homepage & Category Navigation UX research findings are available as part of Baymard Premium, and are divided into the following 5 topics (200+ pages of research findings in total):

5 × Homepage & Category Topics

Homepage & Category

Homepage

Homepage & Category

Homepage

15 Guidelines, 52 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

14 Guidelines, 58 Pages

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

Homepage & Category

Main Navigation

Homepage & Category

Main Navigation

16 Guidelines, 53 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

6 Guidelines, 32 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

10 Guidelines, 39 Pages

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

(Baymard Premium also gives you access to an additional 64 reports with 640+ research findings on topics such as E-Commerce Search, Product Listing, Product Pages, Checkout, Mobile E-Commerce, and Account & Self-Service - the complete set of findings from Baymard’s 32,000 hours of large-scale UX testing & research)


UX Audit Service

Get your e-commerce navigation reviewed

What are the 15 most important changes you can make to your homepage and category design?

We will put together a detailed 40-page report of the 15 most important usability improvements you can make to your e-commerce homepage design and category taxonomy.

Get your navigation audited


Test Methodology

This research on Homepage & Category Navigation UX is part of Baymard Institute’s full 32,000 hours of large scale research catalog, which is based on:

  1. Usability Testing: 7 rounds of qualitative usability testing with 1,000+ test subject/site sessions following the “Think Aloud” protocol (in-person 1:1 moderated lab usability testing).
  2. 10 rounds of manual benchmarking of the world’s 60 top-grossing e-commerce sites across all 640+ UX guidelines across (27,900+ implementation examples and 50,000+ UX performance scores).
  3. In-lab eye-tracking testing.
  4. 7 quantitative studies with a total of 9,221 participants.

Baymard’s research methodology is described in detail here.