From a Design point-of-view, if a page is not ready yet, but the rest of the site is; would it be better to:
- Have a ‘this page is under construction’ message, or
- Not have the page at all, until it is ready?
I’m interested in how each design decision will affect the site’s performance (popularity). Will having the ‘under construction’ message affect the users’ likelihood of enjoying the site?
When designing a site, which decision is more user-friendly etc.?
Most of the time for live sites you should not have a page at all or, if you really want it live (perhaps to show to others and you don’t have a development site), don’t link to it publicly anywhere.
This is because if a user sees that you have content that interests them enough to click on it, they are expecting to see the page. Having an “under construction” page is a remnant from when it was more difficult to create pages before posting them and is sloppy on today’s web. With most CMSes nowadays we can create a page fully before revealing it to the public. In cases where that’s not possible, we can still host the site locally to work on the page(s).
I can only think of one reason for an “under construction” page is could possibly be worth it: If a site is being redesigned, the web page URL has already been linked so much that people expect it to be there, and it’s impossible to keep up the old version (or hopelessly of date). This situation is very rare, if it even happens.
However, there is a similar placeholder type page that can be useful:
Sometimes a new feature/function/library that hasn’t been released yet but will be soon. If you create a page for this, it would make the page an “announcement” page rather than an “under construction” page, which are two completely different things.
In this case I’d recommend adding functionality to allow people to be notified when the feature/function/library is available. This is particularly a good idea if you hope that people will contribute to the project (in which case you should give them the ability to on the page) or if you have a large company where announcements of new features are a big deal.