Logo equals link to home: your mileage may vary

logo link home page

logo link home pageDo people actually know that on most sites, the logo is a link to the site’s home page?

I know Jacob Nielsen says so. But recently on a site I run I’ve been trying to highlight certain days of the year by changing the site’s logo to an appropriately themed version. You know, like Google does.

I thought it was a great idea.

But every time I put up a carefully crafted, painstakingly placed ‘special day logo’ I get a few complaints from influential people about how inaccessible or invisibe the text about the day is.

They argue that no one sees our explanatory text because they don’t know to click on or mouseover the logo. As evidence they offer up the fact that they personally don’t.

“But it’s a web design practice that’s been widely followed for almost ten years now,” I reply, exasperated. “Surely you’ve noticed it.”

I am met with silence.

So I’m doing an informal survey of my online friends to see if this they are aware of and do they use the hyperlinked logos.

So far it looks like the more likely you are to read Jacob Nielsen columns, the more likely you are to know that click-the-logo means ‘home page’.

The more likely you are to read Jacob Nielsen, the more likely you are to know

People do click the logo to go home. Of the thirty or so (on average) ways to leave a page on the site in question, click-the-logo is the most often used way. But it counts for only about ten per cent of the “exits” on any given page.

So if you have a little bit to say, which is better? the article on the front page, or the explanatory text accompanying the changed logo?

It’s still the explanatory text with the logo if for no other reason than your odds of it being seen are much higher. The front page on this site is the most frequently viewed page, but it’s still only about 20 per cent of the total page views in a given month. Whereas the logo is on every page.

The page views also tell a story, though a confusing one. The latest special logo didn’t fare as well as our trial balloon special logo. Only about a third as many page views. But still significantly more page views than last year’s front page article.

It’s hard to isolate all the reasons for that. Maybe this special logo’s purpose wasn’t clear to people. It was about Earth Day. Someone emailed me to say, “Nice logo, really spring-y.” Thanks. I think. Bet that person didn’t click.

Maybe our visitors care more about poverty than the environment? A bit of a stretch of a conclusion, given what public opinion polls say about the subject.

Traffic in general on our recent day was significantly higher 38% more visits than our ‘trial balloon’ day (Wednesday vs Friday).