Monday, March 2, 2009

De-cluttering your Home!

We've been doing some substantial site revisions in the last few months, and since putting the new Home page up, we've gotten some questions like, "Why did you take X away?" The revision to the index page (and, indeed, the site in general) has been driven by a series of surveys and phone interviews we did over the last year and a half. We tried to solicit feedback from a broad range of customers using a variety of services and service levels. From there, we tried to generate a site design that addressed their comments and complaints, and some guidelines to direct our design process now and in the future.

One of the biggest issues that we kept coming back to was that people frequently couldn't find what they were looking for, or they didn't realize that the features they most wanted from us were things we already did. As such, we realized that what you leave off a page is sometimes as important as what you put on. The Home page in particular was suffering from information overload.

So, in the redesign, some things were purposely removed from this page. They are either infrequently changed, infrequently accessed from this page, or used by a small percentage of customers. Here's where people are making changes:

Adding, Changing and Deleting Addresses (including on Personal Domains): 60%
Spam Settings: 14%
Spam Report Settings: 11%
Filters: 4.4%
Upgrades and Account Type Changes: 3.3%
Vacation Mail: 3%
Adding Trusted Senders: .7%
Adding Personal Domain: .65%
URL Redirection: .49%
Password: .2%

(In case you are interested, in terms of pages viewed, far and away, the pages that get the most hits are the spam pages. Everything else is dwarfed in comparison.)

After looking at those statistics, our revisions focused around making it easier to work with your addresses and your spam settings, right from the front page. Some other items either had their information removed (to de-clutter the page) or the links removed (if most people got to that page from somewhere other than the homepage.) Both those changes gave us more space to keep the most important information front and center.

The site design guidelines we came up with, in order of importance, are:
  • Don't let customers hurt themselves
  • Make using email a better experience
  • The easiest way to make changes should be the customer-facing way
  • Make it easy for customers to find answers to their questions
  • Present each user information appropriate to their account
We hope you like the new changes to the Home page. Let us know how you think we did!

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