The quest for a decent home page

I’m not sure why home pages were even invented in the first place. I mean, sure, you need a page to open when you boot up your browser, but they just make things, well, awkward. Plus they’re not very useful: most of them just serve as a landing page; you don’t really use them except to read news about how kids can’t bring bagged lunch to school (*cough* Yahoo *cough*.) And when you do that kind of stuff, you just get distracted from what you were originally meaning to do all along.

I want to know why that is and how I can help fix it.

I polled some of my friends to see what they had as their homepage. Here’s what I got.

  • Chrome’s New Tab page shows some of your recently closed and favorite sites.
  • Google‘s home page.
  • Facebook.
  • Yahoo.

I figured that Yahoo is only common since it’s the default homepage (I think) for Windows. Facebook and Google are good ones, but they’re really limited in scope; they can only be used for one purpose.

But when you look at Chrome’s New Tab page, you can see that that’s useful. People might actually use the links to their favorite sites and recently closed tabs. Obviously, though, it only works on Chrome, which severely limits it.

I looked at Yahoo and Facebook on a smartphone and realized that they were flashy and an all-around mess. Homepages should, you know, work and not look crappy on phones.

So after doing all that analyzing, I realized what people want:

  • Simplicity
  • Links to their favorite sites
  • A search bar
  • Works well on any browser/device

A good homepage will have at least one of these, but a great homepage will have all of them.

I’ve been using DuckDuckGo (a search engine; read about it) as my homepage for a while now and it, like Google, is severely limited since it doesn’t show a list of popular sites. I realized, hey, I’m bored and decent at web development, so I should probably put my money where my mouth is and make my own home page.

Some of my goals:

  • Keep it simple, so people will actually use it.
  • Let people search using a variety of engines (this would give people a reason to not use Google/Chrome’s New Tab page as their home page.)
  • Add links to popular sites like Facebook, Youtube, and Gmail (so people have a reason to not just use Facebook as their home page.)
  • Keep flashy ads or stuff that isn’t useful off the page.

And voila, I’d made a home page. You can find it at Take a look; if you see any good sites/search engines I’ve overlooked please let me know using the link at the bottom of the page. And set it as your home page, it’s far better than any other homepage.

Also, I was considering adding some apps like a notepad, clock/calendar, and weather app, but I realized that people wouldn’t really use it and it would take away from the simplicity of the page. I could add those, though, if enough people want them. Another thing I’m thinking about is letting people add their own top sites.

Enjoy, I guess.

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Neel Mehta

Harvard College. Web developer. Sometime philosopher. Baseball junkie.

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