On the web, a splash page is an introduction to a website, placed before the homepage. These pages are often animated and introduce the products, services or mission of the organisation.
The term is borrowed from computer program loading or ‘start-up’ screens containing company and author credits along with copyright and patent notices.
Splash pages are an anachronism from the early days of web design (i.e. late 90s), typically relying on a person entering a website by way of the domain name.
With the growth in the use of search engines, a user is more likely to link directly to a content page, by-passing the splash page and reducing the effectiveness of the splash page as a branding exercise.
…a 30-second animation rarely supports completing a task.
A companion reason for the demise of the splash page is the psychology of web-use—users are typically task-oriented, and a 30-second animation rarely supports completing a task. As a concession to this reality, ‘modern’ splash pages often feature a ‘skip intro’ option.
The term ‘splash’ is derived from the language of space exploration where, upon re-entry to the Earth’s atmosphere, the manned capsule landed in the ocean, or ‘splashed down’.