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.
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:
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.
We’ve released a small subset of the Premium research finding on Homepage & Category Navigation UX for free in these articles:
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):
(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)
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.
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:
Baymard’s research methodology is described in detail here.