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PhoenixUK
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Making an entrance page and an index (home) page query?

Nov 24, 2012 7:49 AM

Tags: #navigation #landing_page #navigation_links

Hi All,

 

I've not done anything this way before but for a uni web design and development assignment, I've to firstly design a website with all the theory and how it will all come together.

 

Therefore, I'm wanting mine to be a little different from the generic kind and whilst I'm basing my subject matter on Tigers and the several species of, I'm creating an entrance page in fireworks that is the following;

tiger_landing_page.png

I'm planning on sectioning up and placing hotspots around the interior of the tiger body, this will enable viewers to select and go to set pages like "about" "tiger zone" "contact" and so on.

 

However, I still need a traditional-ish homepage but I'm unsure how to make it that whilst people come in via the entrance page ( as above and the main url) whenever they've left this page to go in to the main homepage, they don't return via any of the main sites navigation menu / links back to this entrance page, is this possible in anyway?

 

I'm trying to get my own head around this and I have spent a number of hours researching this issue but I cannot find any resource that is anything like what I'm needing to do.

 

Thanks as always people.

 

Regards,

 
Replies
  • Sudarshan Thiagarajan
    4,000 posts
    Oct 15, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 24, 2012 8:27 AM   in reply to PhoenixUK

    You can have 2 'landing' pages. The initial one when your visitors click can be this one. From here on, any clicks will take them to content pages. From one of those content pages, the 'Home' will take them to the 2nd landing page. All this is fine. But, there is a possibility for your user to return and see the landing page again if they see their history or bookmark the initial index page, or, even notice the web url which you cannot hide.

     

    I see a few ways of achieving it:

     

    1. Use a PHP session/ cookie combination  to control the user session - if he is a returning user, redirect him to 2nd landing page - thereby hiding the 1st landing page from his view if he has already been there
    2. Consider using an inline parameter - maybe a jQuery based plug-in that loads this tiger page into the main page (which is actually the 2nd landing page). This can be configured to shown only at the 1st site load, one time only

     

    Let us see what others on this forum have to say. Their opinions will  be very valuable, I'm sure.

     

    -ST

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 24, 2012 8:56 AM   in reply to PhoenixUK

    I don't want to pour cold water on your idea, but your proposed design harks back to the late 1990s when "splash screens" were all the rage. You've correctly identified the problem that a splash screen is attractive the first time, but after that it becomes a hindrance. Take a look at this blog post that summarizes all the drawbacks: http://blog.silktide.com/2010/11/why-splash-pages-suck/.

     

    As Sudarshan says, you could use a cookie (it could be a JavaScript one, it doesn't need to be PHP) to register if the user has already visited the site.

     

    Another idea might be to keep your large image on the main landing page, and put it in a sliding panel that can move it off the page, or bring it back if the user wants to view it again.

     
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  • Sudarshan Thiagarajan
    4,000 posts
    Oct 15, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 24, 2012 9:13 AM   in reply to PhoenixUK

    Yes, 2nd landing page will be the 'traditional' homepage.

     

    This case, the tiger page will have to be 'index.php' so it'll load when your site is entered in a browser. Why PHP - we'll get to that in a bit.

     

    Let us use, lets say a cookie to see if the user has already been on your index.php (which is your tiger page). If they already have, they will be taken to index2.html (the 2nd homepage - which doesn't have to be php as we aren't using any cookies/ sessions here).

     

    Something like this should work:

     

    <?php

    // please note there is a dot prefixed in '.yourdomain.com':

    setcookie('homepage', 1, time() + 365*24*60*60, '/', '.yourdomain.com');

    if(!empty($_COOKIE['homepage']))

    {

       header('Location: http://yourdomain.com/another_page.html');

       exit;

    }

    // you could add more PHP code (if you require), but ensure this patch of code is right at the top of your tiger index page

    ?>

     

    This should be placed at the very top of your tiger index page which is your initial homepage when users enter your site.

     

    This is how it works:

     

    homepage - the defined name for this cookie

    1 - enables the cookie

    time() - expiration value for the cookie. The value suffixed with 'time()' is for 1 year - meaning the cookie will remain active for 1 year. If you want it to exist until the browser is closed, set it 0 like this:

     

    setcookie('homepage', 1, 0, '/', '.yourdomain.com');

    The / next to time is the areas within your domain that the cookie is available for. / denotes higher most domain path. This is useful if your index.php file (main splash page) is located within the main domain root itself. If not, if it is located somewhere like yourdomain.com/tigerhome, set that to this:

     

    setcookie('homepage', 1, time() + 365*24*60*60, '/tigerhome/', '.yourdomain.com');

    Please notice the trailing and prefix slashes for the folder value

     

    yourdomain.com - is the main value of your domain itself. Please note the prefixed dot [.] before the yourdomain.com.

     

    How the header works:

     

       header('Location: http://yourdomain.com/another_page.html');

     

    If the cookie called 'homepage' exists, then when the user is trying to load index.php, the header condition is read by the browser first. If it is true, the user is taken to another_page.html. If not, the user is allowed to continue viewing index.php page.

     

    The reason we have this at the very top is because when the user attempts to load up index.php page, you dont want the content to be shown before redirect happens. Hence, the header condition along dependant on the cookie is first read by the browser.

     

    If you want custom time setting - maybe 1 day, set it to this:

     

    setcookie('homepage', 1, time() + 1*24*60*60, '/', '.yourdomain.com');

     

    5 hours, this:

     

    setcookie('homepage', 1, time() + 1*5*60*60, '/', '.yourdomain.com');

    And so on...

     

    Note: The cookie will expire if the user clears browser cookies manually!

     

    But this is the basic way of getting a cookie set for getting what you want done.

     

    Also, I've set up a test page on my domain for you - expires in 1 year from first visit. Loads on index.php and redirects to test2.html if the cookie is already set. Try it out for yourself here.

     

    Trust this helps.

     

    -ST

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 24, 2012 10:39 AM   in reply to PhoenixUK

    An intro page -- in this case your tiger image map -- is considered a splash page. 

     

    Experienced web developers don't use splash/intro pages for real web sites anymore because they hurt your chances for a good ranking on search engines.  The domain name home page is the most important piece of real estate in the site.  It's the first thing people land on when they come to your domain.  If the index page lacks keyword rich content, it will never be recognized by search engines.  That's a missed opportunity because search engines drive traffic to web sites.

     

    I would like to see you build a compelling home page with real text inside headings and paragraphs.  And, if you wish, an image map of the tiger.  This will keep humans interested and at the same time give language translators, search engine bots and screen readers something to grab onto.  

     

     

     

    Nancy O.

     
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  • Sudarshan Thiagarajan
    4,000 posts
    Oct 15, 2010
    Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 24, 2012 8:57 PM   in reply to PhoenixUK

    While I second that the concept of splash page will lead to lower search engine rankings, considering you've also clearly mentioned you're only doing this as an 'academic assignment', to achieve the 'one-time-only' splash page, my response in reply #4 should work for you. Did you try it?

     
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  • Currently Being Moderated
    Nov 25, 2012 1:02 AM   in reply to PhoenixUK

    Although it's an academic exercise, I think the weakness of your concept is that a visitor to the site will see the stunning image of the tiger only once. I like the idea of splitting the tiger's body into sections to reveal information, but you have a large amount of empty space on the left that could be turned into a menu. The tiger could be used as a background image, and the text in different pages or sections could have a semi-translucent background that allows the tiger's stripes to show through.

     

    Don't underutilize your greatest graphical asset.

     
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