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My experience with Dell's homepage

Recently I was roaming around looking for computers and landed on [Dell's website](http://www.dell.com). I noticed that their homepage had been [realigned](http://alistapart.com/articles/redesignrealign/) since the last time I saw it. Obviously, Dell.com gets a lot of traffic, so I started wondering why their homepage has gotten worse with this recent change.
redesigndellhomepage My experience with Dell's homepage
1. The search feature at the top right is great because it has the potential to help visitors find what they are looking for quickly. But, it should have been designed to reduce the amount of times visitors have to click to find what they are looking for. If someone is doing a search for a product or support related question the website should be able to automatically detect what type of search the user is performing and show the most relevant results.
2. The main image rotates every time you load Dell.com and if the computer you are looking for is the product in the main image that is great. But most of the time that main image is probably not what you are looking for. Instead of showcasing one main product they should concentrate on directing traffic to their 5 main products (notebooks, desktops, servers, printers and TVs).
3. Under the main image there are 6 images, when I first saw them I thought they were clickable, but instead when I hovered over them a navigation menu appeared. It is misleading and awkward to have to move your mouse up to select an option. Usually navigations are top to bottom or left to right.
4. There are also a list of solutions for homes, businesses and even government run agencies on the home page. Those are the same navigation options that are listed under each product, so why do they need to be repeated in this way?
The homepage design is not bad overall compared to the rest of the site, but if Dell woke up and made a few changes I think they could increase their conversion rate. With millions of visitors going to the homepage there is no reason why they should have such a poorly designed homepage.

7538e7e936f6269f349faadd59e1d9ab 64 My experience with Dell's homepage
Neil Patel is the co-founder of KISSmetrics, an analytics provider that helps companies make better business decisions. Neil also blogs about marketing and entrepreneurship at Quick Sprout.

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11 thoughts on “My experience with Dell's homepage

  1. You’ve made some great points. I’ve always found the Dell site to be somewhat cryptic. It actually seems to be fairly common among the big-box PC makers.

  2. I recently wrote about the difference between “branding” and “selling”. Some websites take the branding route, seeking elegant and smooth presentation, while others (Zappos is a good example) use a selling approach to allow their customers to find the merchandise they want to find.
    Based on your comments, it seems like Dell chose to move down a “branding” path on this version of the homepage. They seem to try to steer the customer where they want the customer to go. Selling approaches allow the customer to easily determine their own navigational path.
    Both approaches can work. I tend to prefer the “selling” approach.

  3. I’d like to voice a different opinion. As someone who spent the past 2 years working for one of the Internet’s largest advertizers (can’t tell you who), I found that the only way to truely measure up a page’s conversion is by it’s stats and not by what we feel about it. I was amazed to see pages that I thought were both ugly and not user friendly generating decent conversion rate while other that I thought were optimized didn’t perform as well as the ugly ones. If there is something that this experience taught me, it was that you always need to measure and analyze to get the best performing pages.

  4. Dell still hasn’t contacted me to tell me whether there is a battery recall for my laptop battery. They also haven’t responded to my lack of USB port issue. Yet the one time I typed Dellhell in a random post I got a comment. Sounds like a bad example of customer listening if you ask me – keyword based.

  5. Neil, thanks for your thoughtful comments on the dell.com homepage. My team is responsible for dell.com globally, so your input and point of view is helpful to us. As Ohad states, measurement and analysis are critical for a site of our size given the volume and traffic it receives. I can tell you that we had tested numerous versions of new home page designs before landing on the one you see today. Some looked very different, and candidly I thought would perform better – but they did not. This one performed the best and continues to perform well today. There is always opportunity to improve – so feedback is welcome. As for the specific comments raised, each comment is a good one – but as we tested, we tuned the design to match what you see today. We will take these comments into consideration as we continue to refine. Thanks for taking time to provide input, it will help us get better.

  6. A for functionality.
    D – for style. Dell.com has always been a site that failed to bring the boom-wow.
    Stylistically, it looks like a company vomited its products onto a page and said, “Yep, here’s what we gots.”
    Some color and a very short Flash introduction that takes a tour of the types of products would go leagues with this site.
    I do like the hover menus very much. Nice touch.

  7. In my professional opinion they definitely missed the mark with this design. I am sorry Manish, but I fail to believe this is the best performing page. What were some of the other options?
    The amount of thought it takes to do ANY task from the homepage is ridiculous, and the usability is very weak (expecting one thing, receiving another, etc).
    So, I am sure you will have the stats and traffic – but I am sure you could do MUCH better and see those same stats result in much more sales conversions.
    At least a move into standards would help too. A loose doctype? Tabled layout? Javascript menus? I see this as amateur at best.