What should a Web site cover be expected to do.
The Home page can serve as a complete index, with links to everything inside, if it doesn't mind giving up the most logical position from which to ingratiate readers. However, when explanation of purpose is needed, the first page is the most sensible space for a meaningful introduction to take place. From a design standpoint, this translates into less is better. Meaning that a mission message can be absorbed more easily within a cover layout which is designed to be free of distraction.
Conversely, if the site's purpose is clear to everyone with no anticipated need to emphasize anything new, an index can be appealing too. With links to everything in the site, such an approach affords readers a complete preview and total access upon arrival to the Home page.
This first cover design for IdeaSite is a compromise. Between pull down windows and linked subheads, a great deal of immediate access is proffered. At the same time, prominent titles, a themeline and the subheads themselves serve to explain the site's mission. As it turned out, the best solution was an even quieter approach. As shown on the next page, the final approved design works because of help provided by an index page. This tool stays available to readers throughout their visit enabling convenient and complete access to everything in the site at all times.
Art direction, creative direction, design and photo illustration*