Splash / Landing Page "Fork in the road" pattern thoughts


#1

[B]What’s good UX Masters?[/B]
My first post! Sooo… I have a client who’s company offers two tangentially related services. Currently, when you arrive at their website, you are immediately presented with a “fork in the road” choice of which “site” [I](aka. business offering)[/I] to enter. I don’t know what that pattern is actually called - most often I’ve seen it on clothing sites where users are forced to choose their entry path by gender before they are presented with content.

I’m wondering if anybody knows of any research or writing about this type of pattern? When is it useful, when is it not? I’d also like to hear about any experience with it or thoughts you guys have?

In my scenario, where the pattern is being used to select between two somewhat disjointed choices, I find it confusing and it [I]“feels”[/I] like hitting a giant speed-bump. However, I’m hoping to find some objective research on the pattern, or at least well reasoned opinions about it before addressing the issue with the client.

Thanks!


#2

Welcome @fresh-off – great first post! I’ll send some eyes this way and see what we can come up with.


#3

Welcome Fresh-off,

I haven’t come across research on this. My suggestion would be if you can’t find any, then do a quick mock up of the fork option, and an alternative, and then test some people in the target audience. That way, you can at least go to the customer saying you ran some tests and found out “this”, rather than just having your gut feel. It wouldn’t even necessarily have to be a large quantity of people just as long as you got some helpful information and some sort of convergence that you could talk to.


#4

I’ll second what Natalie has said—even if you found research that made suggestions one way or the other, things vary so wildly between industries or even within industries, so testing with a subset of your own users is really the safest course of action!

I vaguely remember the guys at Campaign Monitor (makers of the excellect email marketing software that we use for the UX Mastery newsletter) once tested something similar, where new visitors to the site were presented with the question “Are you a designer? YES / NO”

They market their software as being “for designers” (a lot of their customers manage campaigns on behalf of their clients) so they were trying to ascertain whether having user self-identify would result in a more targeted audience. They didn’t implement it in the end (presumably because they decided it was worth trying to convert people who DIDN’T identify as designers as well).

Hope that helps.


#5

I saw this on Twitter today @fresh-off


#6

Thanks for the responses! I’ve started looking further afield at companies like IBM and Aon Hewitt, who provide multiple unrelated and broad product & service offerings.

I really like the idea of directly testing this with customers and agree that testing will likely provide the most definitive answers!

@HAWK – I like the example you provided, especially the wording!


#7

Hi and welcome,

Hawk’s example is great, it gives the user options, most important I think is the ‘whole homepage’ button.
I always feel users hate if they are routed down a particular direction, where the system objectives override what the user wants to do.

If we think about Neilson’s Heuristics ‘User control and Freedom’, being able to make choices but not forced down a particular path.

Paddy