November 29, 2008 in Web Usability

Category Page Design


category-page-designCategory pages, also sometimes called gallery pages or services pages, they are a vital part of your website and are frequently visited by your users. The category pages are the main pages that gel together your website and are used to help the user find the content they require from the website.

Category Links

The category page in its simplest form is a list full of links, the links linking to the content pages the user really wants. But category pages make the process of finding your data quicker.

The list of links on a category page could be a list of products, services, or a list of news items or blog posts, I call these pages category pages as they are an overview of the categorized content pages.

The category page is probably the most important web page on your website and chances are you’ll have a few of them, a real key decision making page, you’ll get a lot of opt outs at this stage if you get them wrong.

Decision Making Pages

Category pages seem very straight forward, but are often the most annoying pages for users as a lot of designers input too much content in them or make them overly complicated. Too much content makes them unreadable, to little makes them too bare.

Some designers even spread the list of links on the content pages over several pages, this is bad as the user can end up lost and frustrated at the number of clicks its taking to get to the content page they want.

If used correctly category pages can offer the user a direct path to the exact answers to their questions but if the categorization is bad or overly complicated the user can end up going between the category page and the content page over and over again.

We need to ensure everything the user needs about that category is on that page and that the most important information as always is at the top of the page. I would suggest a brief explanation of the category and calls to action to the most important or popular categories on your website.

A Picture Tells a..

You could also have some supporting images that represent the product or service and marketeers often say to have a human face in your photos to make site more trust worthy and personable, having humans sporting your goods and looking happy is always a great way to sell the experience.

Conclusion

To summarize; category pages are a page full of category links, the links point to the content pages on your site and I’d suggest keep these pages as simple as possible, a simple list of links to your content pages will do the job nicely.


About Anthony

Anthony Brewitt is Design Bit, has been for years - he's an experienced WordPress Designer, and Muggle-born Marketing Philosopher. Let’s talk about your website; your marketing, blog design, and that cool new mobile web thingy. Contact Anthony

11 Responses to Category Page Design

  1. As long as the page remains fast loading, I think having a representational image for each category can be very important for user navigation.

    A user just wants to see the content they are after and will not mind viewing a category page if they know it will take them where they want.

    An image that strongly represents the category often cuts out the need for reading any text and as such the category page just becomes a quick visual aid leading to the good stuff!

  2. I think category pages are an important part of the site, they can represent the quality of your site and what you are selling or promoting. Have good images to represent a category has proven to work, as categories without images don’t catch the eye of the user. A good enticing image will pay dividends. Great post.

  3. All pages of your site are important as all are representing your business or services. These are the 24×7 online marketing persons who are contacting your prospect clients. eye soothing graphics makes the work easier as most of the customers dont have much time to read all the texts. Good graphics / Images are providing the quick visual aids to the viewers and grow their interests.

  4. Thanks for info.

  5. okay guys, I really am on board with the concept of making a neat, clean category page for my blog. It should be a page that shows the categories and sub categories, and thumbnails next to each would be great. But I don’t want to display each individual post as that would be information overload. Rather, I want all of the relevant posts to be displayed only when a category or sub category is clicked. For example, if someone clicked on a sub category called “hiking” they would then see all of the posts I have under the hiking category. So anyways, how do I create such a page? I should mention that I don’t know much about coding.

  6. Ray

    Nice article, thought I would say a very difficult topic to write on.

  7. Thumbnails can really make or break your design. You would need punchy images to represent each post, which will catch the attention and make the user want to read on. A catchy title and punchy intro are also just as important. It’s the first impression that counts, so give them a taste of the best.

    Last of all the content needs to be good. There is no point in having a fantastic category structure for the user to then spend 5 seconds reading a post. It all needs to be designed so that it all looks beautiful and as user-friendly as possible.

  8. Couldn’t agree more with Claire about the images, its always the one thing a user will notice on a web page.

  9. I think it is an interesting information that I have been read,This is an extremely helpful list. As I found several good resources on a variety of topics, It’s best resource site.Good graphics / Images are providing the quick visual aids to the viewers and grow their interests.Thanks for this post.

  10. This is exactly the discussion I’ve been have in my studio at the moment and this article is on it’s way to a colleague – I completely agree but my colleague is not so convinced yet, but hopefully after reading this might change their minds – thanks for the post

  11. Myself and a work friend were talking about this this morning. Thanks for the evidence that I had been right and after this I can rub his nose in it!

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