Research Topic

Homepage & Category Navigation UX

How do users perceive your homepage and navigate your categories?

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. All of this research is available as part of Baymard Premium.


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.

Benchmark UX Performances
Poor
Mediocre
Acceptable
Decent
Good

Homepage & Category

64 Guidelines

Homepage

15 Guidelines

Category Taxonomy

15 Guidelines

Main Navigation

16 Guidelines

Intermediary Category Pages

6 Guidelines

Site-Wide Layout

12 Guidelines

60 Major E-Commerce Sites
What’s This?

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.

Explore the current Homepage & Category UX performance:
Explore 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 page types. 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.



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, 77 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

15 Guidelines, 89 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

16 Guidelines, 66 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, 47 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

12 Guidelines, 69 Pages

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


Subscribe to Baymard Premium to access all of our Homepage & Category UX research

Get full access to all our Homepage & Category UX research reports, benchmarks, and page designs previewed here, along with our complete 700+ guidelines for Search, Product Listing, Product Details Page, Checkout, Accounts & Self-Service, and Mobile E-Commerce. Utilize our 54,000+ hours of UX research to improve your Homepage & Category user experience and to document your UX decisions.

Learn more about Baymard Premium


Test Methodology

This research on Homepage & Category Navigation UX is part of Baymard Institute’s full 54,000+ hours of large scale research catalog, which is based on:

  1. Usability Testing: 8 rounds of qualitative usability testing with 1,200+ test subject/site sessions following the "Think Aloud" protocol (in-person 1:1 moderated lab usability testing).
  2. 12 rounds of manual benchmarking of the world’s 60 top-grossing e-commerce sites across all 700+ UX guidelines across (34,900+ implementation examples and 57,100+ UX performance scores).
  3. In-lab eye-tracking testing.
  4. 8 quantitative studies with a total of 10,721 participants.
    Baymard’s research methodology is described in detail here.

UX Audit Service

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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.

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