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Opinion

The rise and rise of the one-page website

Rich Dean, Creative Director

By Rich Dean on

Supersonic Playground Ltd

It doesn’t seem like yesterday web designers were caught in a daily battle with ‘the fold’ – a strange and now thankfully outdated obsession with trying to fit every important detail within the immediately viewable area of a visitor’s screen. If you’re not familiar with the fold, it’s a legacy of newspaper design. Display stands would fold newspapers in half so that they could show a wider range of publications. With effectively half of their front pages hidden until purchased, newspaper designers were forced to squeeze all their eye-catching headlines ‘above the fold’. When content consumption started to transition to the web some 20+ years ago, a similarity was identified with the way web pages extended vertically below the viewable area, and so the fold was reborn.

I always disliked the concept of the fold, something so easily undone with a simple flick of the mouse wheel. Not to mention that it’s always been virtually impossible to know what the fold was. So it was a breath of fresh air when, almost over night a few years ago, a new form of simple long-scrolling single page websites emerged, and so the one-page website was born.

Today one-page websites are becoming more and more popular with designers and clients alike. There are even galleries solely devoted to the genre – with strict entry criteria (just the one page, of course). I think one-page websites are fantastic for so many reasons, and so in this article we’ll take a look at what makes them work so well.

The anatomy of a great one-page site
One of the best things about one-page sites is that they allow you to talk about a wide range of topics without needing to write pages and pages of content. By their very nature, one-pagers are designed to be succinct – they’re essentially a stack of ‘mini pages’.

Image of a one-page website

Designed with mobile browsing in mind
One of the key drivers in the rise of one-page websites is the advent of mobile browsing. Whereas in olden days, scrolling a page was seen as a negative, on a mobile device it’s a necessity – users on mobile have become adept at quickly swipe-scanning content, and one-page websites feed off of this behaviour with their clearly defined section-based layouts.

Easy on the bandwidth
Another benefit of one-pagers is that they provide an overall quicker browsing experience, as they effectively remove the continual lag of moving from page to page. While it’s true they may be heavier in kilobytes than the average single page from a traditional site, once the one-page website has loaded there’s no more waiting for further pages to load. When bandwidth is tight, as it often is on mobile, this can greatly increase the chance of your visitors achieving their goals (and yours).

They’re cost effective too
It stands to reason that one-pagers are much more cost effective than a traditional multi-page site, and this is another reason why they’re so popular among small business owners. You can get a one-page site up and running at a fraction of the cost of a traditional site, and with all the other benefits that have been mentioned, it’s not hard to see why one-page websites have become the way to go for thousands of businesses.

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