Best practices for creating an organization home page

A home page is where you create first impressions about your GIS organization and the quality of the maps and apps your organization provides.

Your home page might include resources and information for internal organization members, business partners, or the public. As an administrator, you are responsible for maintaining a home page that reflects your organization's style guidelines or brand and that effectively showcases the maps, data, scenes, layers, and apps that organization members have curated and created in ArcGIS Online.

Get started

As your organization administrator, or as a user with home page administration privileges, you can modify your organization home page at any time.

Administrators can access the home page configuration using the Edit home page button on the organization home page after signing in, or by launching the editor from the Home page tab in the organization settings.

After launching the editor, the following is displayed:

  • Sections defining the header, footer, and contents of the home page, plus color and typography design options
  • A preview of the current settings
  • Options for previewing your home page on different devices

See Configure home page to learn how to configure the components of your organization's home page.

Enhance site navigation

Your organization's home page provides resources and content for both the public and for organization members once they sign in, showcasing maps, apps, and other content to a broad audience. It is important to consider both how an anonymous public visitor and a member of your organization experiences your site.

As an administrator, you can specify which links are displayed on your navigation bar and who can see them. For example, you can configure the navigation bar to make the Gallery page accessible to everyone, hide it completely, or make it accessible only to organization members after they sign in.

In addition, you can configure Gallery and Groups to display a specific collection of content based on the group to which a user belongs (signed-in organization member or an anonymous member of the public).

Incorporate accessible design

Almost everyone at some point in their life experiences some type of disability, either permanently, temporarily, or situationally. The following are some basic tips for including accessible design into your site.

Color contrast

Sufficient color contrast between elements can help users with low vision use your site. Although you can customize the home page color scheme to adhere to your organization's look and feel, the provided preset color themes are designed to maximize color contrast for users with low or impaired vision. If you use custom styles to create a branded theme for your organization, ensure that your selected colors pass the legibility check available in the custom style setup window.

Clear fonts

Like color contrast, although you can customize the home page typography to adhere to your organization's look and feel, the provided preset font themes are designed to adapt to translation and readability across browsers and by a variety of screen readers.

Avoid text in images

Your home page is designed to be responsive and viewable on any device. Avoid embedding text or graphic elements directly into your banner images, as this can lead to undesirable results when viewed at different resolutions or on various devices. Additionally, embedding text prevents users with low or impaired vision from accessing information embedded within an image. Use the organization title and text blocks to provide information to your users.

Experiment with color and style

Harmonize the look and feel of the entire home page, including your banner graphics, background colors, item thumbnails, and so on. Use custom colors to quickly change your theme or use one of the preset color themes.

Edit your content

Keep text blocks short and to the point. Provide enough information in your text to be useful but avoid being too verbose. Each text block can contain up to 1,000 characters. To help your users retain information, use one to two sentences per block or paragraph. You can divide complex text content across multiple text blocks or add text summaries at the top of item galleries.

Consider the following:

  • Make sure that the messaging you provide is relevant to your organization.
  • Word count should reflect the complexity or simplicity of the topic.
  • Avoid using text in the cover image or item thumbnails.
  • Keep your content quality high and always proofread before you publish your site.

Streamline item galleries

You may not need to show all the information for items in your item galleries. For example, the item type or summary may not be needed. You can make your site look clean and professional often by seeing what you can remove instead of adding unnecessary information.

Use clean thumbnails

Keep thumbnails simple. When creating thumbnails for items or groups, avoid using blurry images or small, non-contrasting text. Do not duplicate the title or item type in the thumbnail. Acceptable image formats are PNG, GIF, and JPEG. The aspect ratio for item thumbnails (galleries) is 3:2.

Add links and contact information

Consider adding links, such as social media accounts, when appropriate, and a contact us email link in the footer section of your site.

Get reviews

Ensure that all content and items associated with your organization are curated and reviewed for accuracy frequently. Links can change and information can become outdated.

Example organization home pages

Faribault County, Minnesota presents a well-curated site with branded thumbnails, creating a visually interesting user experience that also communicates information clearly through brief, descriptive text.

Chatham County, North Carolina GIS Portal provides a uniform look and feel to branding with matching thumbnails and minimal text. This site is visually appealing and clearly conveys the goal of each link and image. Notice that the organization uses information banner and footer text box links to provide the user additional information.

City of Seattle GIS Portal divides the home page between web apps and feature layers, displaying only four of each with large thumbnails and clear descriptions of each link. This presents a minimalist, easy-to-read layout.