This post on Fast Company, which features purported inside scoop on how the American Airlines home page is managed, tells an all too common story.
The post features a hypothetical redesign of the home page that dramatically simplifies and focuses the page from the hash that it is currently. An anonymous staff person from American commented on how their decentralized team of over 200 people who work on the site are simply incapable of creating a design like that due to their structure and processes.
Here’s the problem at American and many other organizations with overcrowded, ineffective home pages: they have decentralized the ownership and management of a centralized interface. In effect, no one owns this one page, so any design has to be the product of compromise and consensus.
Home pages benefit from benevolent dictators who make sure this critical entry point to their site (yes, home pages still matter even with Google driving people past them) is focused on achieving tangible outcomes that matter the most.
Massive teams and committees simply cannot muster the discipline required to create a focused and effective home page.