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The advantages and disadvantages of a One page site

Updated on February 17, 2015
A great example of a one page layout
A great example of a one page layout | Source

The advantages and disadvantages of a One page site

You may have noticed that websites are catering more and more towards mobile devices and tablets. This is understandable as Forbes has reported[1] that over half of all Americans own a smartphone device. Mainly, one can see that websites have begun to abandon the multiple page layouts in exchange for the single page layout. However, is this really in a person’s best interest? Here are some considerations to keep in mind about one page websites.


Identify your audience

Who is the audience?

If you are targeting a mobile audience, then by all means use the one page layout if you can. The reason for this is that one page sites make for easy navigation. Consider this, if you are using a smartphone or a tablet, it is easier for you to scroll down with your finger rather than try to navigate through multiple pages of content. Most mobile sites offer either quick navigation icons or a one page website with all the information presented.

On the other side of the argument, if you are targeting businesses and such industries which will primarily use a desktop or a laptop to review your website, then it could prove to be a bit more helpful to have your site set up in the “traditional” format. Where it is easy to navigate on a tablet or a smartphone, those using a computer do not want to have to continuously scroll down to see the content you are presenting.

Design Considerations

a computer do not want to have to continuously scroll down to see the content you are presenting.

Scrolling designs vs multiple designs

One of the advantages of the single page design is that it uses (in most cases) a single image that is tiled and scrolls with the page. This is ideal for those that really do not want to have to worry about the background so much as the content which is going to be presented. Companies which want to present multiple images generally add a slideshow at the top of the page and then add the information below that. Again, the main drive is for the mobile media marketplace.

The disadvantage of the design in single page layouts is that the graphics are limited to the space and to the loading time for the page. To explain: If you have a page that has too many graphics than the load time will be substantial and thus drive traffic away from the site rather than to the site (as no one really wants to wait on a website to load). The same is true with animations and other interactive content which may be presented on the site. Furthermore, a scrolling design needs to be seamless or you get that weird and unsightly line every time it tiles.

It could be argued that a multiple layout website is just as dependent upon the graphics and interactions when it comes to loading time, but this is not entirely true. As each page loads individually, the graphics are not dependent upon the preceding page. In other words: if your home page is filled with graphics and animations it would load slower than your contact page that just has an interactive google map and an email form.

Design Template Considerations

For those of us who do not like to spend hours on end coding a site or making multiple page layouts, website templates are the way to go. Such sites as provide many different layouts and templates for about anything that you can imagine. Where it is true that you can find a template that caters to the multiple page website, the odds are that these will be oriented to specific web based platforms such as weebly or wordpress. Multiple HTML templates tend to be a bit elusive and expensive when looking for professional grade templates.

Slideshows can be used to present graphic information on a one page site or as navigational points of interests on a multiple page layout
Slideshows can be used to present graphic information on a one page site or as navigational points of interests on a multiple page layout | Source

So which one should you use?

In my opinion, if you are going to use a template website and want to have it with the most exposure, then you need to have a one page layout. Templates for one page layouts are cheap and easy to use. Most of these are customizable to fit your specific needs. Of course, if you need an additional page, most of the one page layouts will allow you to copy the template and use it for a support page (such as a contact page). The bottom line is that the simpler you can make navigation and user interactivity while maintaining a visual level of professionalism the better your site will be.

Please note that many businesses have multiple layouts for their websites. These multiple layouts are contained in the FTP server and redirected based upon the person’s viewing needs. For example a site may have a mobile website, a site catered to tablets, and a traditional website such as the sample

By maximizing the viewer's experience, you open the door to having more traffic which is the overall goal of any great website
By maximizing the viewer's experience, you open the door to having more traffic which is the overall goal of any great website | Source

Plan and Execute

Visualization of how you want to present your website is the first vital step in website design. Visualize your target audience, your main design needs, your budget, and the user interactivity in order to make your decision of whether or not you need to have a One page design, a multiple page design, or a template that covers all of the options.

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