"Standard" Footer Items

h1 October 16th, 2008

What is “standard” when it comes to a web page footer?

I recently wrote:

It is my contention that virtually no one will read anything at the foot of the page, but they will look for things there (but only things that they would expect to find, things like:

But then wondered, well what do people expect, what is “standard” for a page footer?

I expect a Copyright statement, and some links to items like Privacy, About, Contact, Disclaimer, Terms of Use and sometimes the actual contact details such as Name, Address, Post Code, Telephone number, Fax number, Email address.

I’m also not surprised to see logo, membership icons, trust icons, valid (x)html/css icons, accessibility icons, navigation links, sitemap link, search  box, home page link, page creation date, page update date, page URL, request for comment with link, etc.

Having written up (down?) what I expect in a footer, I thought a little use of google would be in order and found a very interesting article by Jeff Lash on More Than Just a Footer.  In his article he comments:

During countless usability tests, I have observed users who scroll to the bottom of the page when they are lost, only to be left helpless by the generic footer navigation.

Designers need to give as much attention to the footer design as to the other elements on the page. While simply blocking off some space for the footer might be an acceptable solution in some cases, there are many ways to take advantage of the bottom of the page.

He then goes on to suggest three inventive approaches:

 

  1. An out-of-site map: where he references A Sitemap on Every Page. 
  2. Rate it: a rate this button, useful for identifying most popular pages.
  3. Sell it: “Bottom of the page deals” that the user is not expecting.

 

His page ends with Related Topics links.

Also worth reading is Best Website Footer Design? by Ronald Huereca.  While the article is short it is followed by many comments with links to commenters’ favourite footers.  Well worth a browse.  There is also this gem of a comment by Andy Faulkner:

If the reader has got to the bottom of the page, then it is highly likely that they read the content and therefore it is also likely that they found it worthwhile. If they found this worthwhile, then offering similar content in the footer seems like a good idea to me.

What do you expect to see, or think should be, in a footer?

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