Splash screens are a website introduction page. They are rarely seen any more on the web since they are considered old-fashioned and antiquated. A splash screen acts as a front page before displaying the home page. Splash screens usually cover the entire screen.
Splash screens used to be slow-loading fluff that contained animation and sound. They delayed the real content. Flash pages were the worst offenders and have fallen out of vogue. In the early days of the web, a splash was the analog of a book cover. There are legitimate, functional reasons to include a splash screen on a website:
- to direct users to the appropriate website for their country or language preference.
- to direct users to a low-bandwidth, mobile or dialup site or one more accessible to disabled users.
- as an extra form of advertising.
- as an aesthetic complement to the main page.
- to take a user to a page with promotional product details.
Even though these are all valid reasons for a splash screen, we feel they are not good enough. In fact, most are pretty lame. We propose a modern application for splash screens.
First is reducing the first-page content to a brief message for fast, viewer absorption. This message should contain three things: 1) who you are, 2) what you do, and 3) why the viewer should care. The last one – why? – is of highest importance to readers. Readers are travelling down a fast highway and have only a glance – as if at a billboard – to see your idea. Keep it real simple.
“Why you should care?” includes differentiating factors about your product or service. It may contain what motivates your business specialty. It tell how you are unique and describes your “onliness” factor. What is it only you can offer and no one else?
Committees manage Home pages. They end up cluttered with many messages. This of course, dilutes the viewers attention span. The Home page clutter makes it difficult if not impossible to find the basic reason the site exists. People are impatient and want these answers fast. They are searching and making quick decisions. A simple splash page resolves this problems. You can be limit scope and optimize the effect especially for memorability.
Second, by reducing the content and special effects on a splash screen, you can speed up the load time. People don’t want to wait. They have high expectations for speed.
Splash screens are a fast decision-making page. The splash screen goal is different from what most committees want to cram on a home page. It’s about accelerated communications. It creates the moment of instant recognition that the visitor has arrived at the right place. No sensory overload. No searching around. It’s designed for short attention spans. This is a *hook* designed to catch people’s attention. A real Home page contains too much information for fast economy of attention. A splash is being kind and polite with the user and not inundating them.
Splash pages are designed to greet your visitors with the content you’d like them to engage with first. Whether you’d like to impress your visitors with your most stunning image, a simple newsletter sign-up form, a list of your services, a direct contact page or a collection of images ready to be sold.
Our goal is reducing the perception of clutter to focus on the answer to “why stay?”. That emphasis is part of a good communication strategy.
If your Home page is well designed, you’ll never need a splash screen. But if an overwhelmed committee dictated diverse wants, a splash screen can be a lifesaver to keep your website focused.
Get to the point fast.
Our landing page philosophy has evolved into simply publishing a “product or service positioning statement” on the home page and including simple CSS rollover navigation with the least image decoration. The user wants to know immediately what the point is of your website. “What’s in it for me?” “Why should I care?” There must be instant recognition, simplicity, and clarity of why to stay or explore. Most home pages have too high of information density – aka clutter or intimidation. Or in marketing language, “Emphasizing everything means emphasizing nothing.” These bad communication habits slow page download time – and visitor comprehension.
WP Splash Page plugin is for creating a simple splash screen on your WordPress site. A minimal control panel lets you choose text color and background image among other things. Search Engine Bots can’t see the splash page. They go to the Home page. Reduced first-page content doesn’t mean losing search engine ranking or visibility. The Splash screen plugin is invisible to search engines. Content for Google, etc begins with the Home page. There’s no downside for machine SEO.