Some really interesting research from The Atlantic, which seems to confirm a pet theory of mine:
Readers mental model is much different than our own. Those that use the homepage treat it as an index of the site’s content, not a subset.
And that’s borne out by A/B testing:
Over the next year [since the 2015 revamp], through A/B testing and analytics, we found that putting more stories higher on the page and reducing the size of the images increased engagement. So while the original vision was off the mark, through iteration we ended up with a performant page that has served us well for the past two years.
Website home pages shoudn’t be treated like the frontpage of a newspaper: the space for the journalist-selected major stories of the day, but insted as a menu of things the browser can choose from.