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 40+ 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 40+ 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.
To accompany the usability test sessions we’ve also benchmarked 214 top-grossing US and European e-commerce sites across each of the 40+ Homepage & Category Navigation usability guidelines. This has resulted in a benchmark database with 13,000+ homepage and category navigation elements manually reviewed and scored by Baymard’s team of UX researchers, along with more than 7,000+ categorized best and worst practice implementation examples from leading e-commerce sites (all categorized and performance verified).
The UX performance scores from our most recent Homepage & Category UX benchmark update are plotted in the interactive scatterplot above.
The Homepage & Category Navigation desktop UX performance for the average top-grossing US and European site is “poor”, made up of 20% “decent”, 34% “mediocre”, 41% “poor” and 4% “below poor”. There are no sites that perform exceptionally well or even just well, however, there are 4% of sites that have massive performance issues within this area. Within each of the 4 subareas, there are a large number of sites that fall below poor.
Hence, the benchmark dataset shows that there’s great room for improvement when looking within the specific topics of the user experience — in particularly the UX within Category Taxonomy, Main Navigation, and Intermediary Category Pages, but also within Homepage where only just above 50% of sites deliver a “decent” or better UX performance.
The issues identified in these topics cause problems for many sites and include some “missed opportunities” for the e-commerce industry as a whole. (All areas explored in-depth in our full research catalog.)
This is a sub-set of the full benchmark which includes 214 e-commerce sites.
View our full UX benchmark
Explore annotated design patterns across 2,300+ 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.
We’ve released a small subset of the Premium research finding on homepage and navigation UX for free in these 40 articles:
Get full access to all our Homepage & Category UX research reports, benchmarks, and page designs previewed here, along with our complete 650+ guidelines for Search, Product Listing, Product Details Page, Checkout, Accounts & Self-Service, and Mobile E-Commerce. Utilize our 130,000 hours of UX research to improve your Homepage & Category user experience and to document your UX decisions.
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.