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Single Page Web Layout - Navigating the Pros and Cons of This Popular Design Trend

As trends and styles continue to evolve in the online arena, it seems likely that both audiences and web designers alike will be forced to assimilate new ideas for content layout, presentation and general user experience. The single page web layout is an excellent example of one such trend. A clean, easily navigable framework, single page web layout has become immensely popular amongst designers whose clientele may not require the type of web architecture needed for content-heavy platforms.

A seamless balance of style and substance, single page web layout has become an almost ubiquitous element of the web landscape in a shockingly brief amount of time. That being said, adopting this particular format does introduce some limitations, which web designers may find to be a deal breaker. With that in mind, here is a brief summary of the advantages and disadvantages of single page web layout. Hopefully, this information will allow you to derive your own strategy for implementing this particular layout scheme in the future.

Opportunity No. 1: Ease of Navigation

The data regarding modern web browsing in the age of modern portable devices is quite illuminating. According to Wolfgang Jaegel, over 80% of mobile device users considers a streamlined, intuitive and easily navigable web experience across all of their devices to be a top priority. Knowing full well the inherent limitations of phones and most portable devices (i.e. small screens, thumb-based engagement), web designers have deployed single page web layout as a means to ensure that mobile users can quickly make their way around a page without getting frustrated by drop-down menus, small buttons, etc.

Simply put, a single page web layout is an effective tool for reducing bounce rate amongst mobile users.

Opportunity No. 2: A Streamlined Development Process

In an industry where fast turnaround times are a must, single page web design can be used to great effect. Essentially, a single page framework can be used as a quasi-template for a wide variety of clients across a broad array of industries and specializations. Combined with the fact that single page web layout is now an integral component of ready-to-use wordpress themes, there seems to be few reasons why this particular format should not find its way into the toolkit of all professional web designers.

Opportunity No. 3: A Great User Experience

According to statistics released by Adobe, 38% of web users will exit a page if they feel that the design or layout is unattractive to them. Statistics such as these serve as a stark reminder that user experience must always remain top-of-mind for designers. The highly intuitive, no-nonsense navigation offered by single page web layout will help ensure an optimal experience for users, no matter what device they may be using.

Challenge 1: SEO limitations

Knowing full well that search engine optimization plays a formative role in determining whether or not a client’s web page will benefit from organic search, web designers find themselves in a somewhat of a quandary when it comes to single page web layout. A shortage of on-page “real estate”, for lack of a better term, gives copywriters and content creators fewer opportunities for internal linking, keyword targeting, and limits the breadth of keywords that can be effectively targeted through content. This should be considered when going through the planning phase of your web redesign workflow as explained by Chase Design.

No matter how beautiful a design may be, it does have to be seen in order to be appreciated. This is a core challenge of single page design schemes. Simply overloading a page with text can also be quite damaging to page ranking and usability, which means that designers and marketing teams need to think carefully about how to maximize available page space to ensure the best possible results. Additionally, having in depth content and multiple pages doesn’t mean that you can’t have an amazing homepage with “single page” anchor navigation.

Challenge No. 2: A Lack of Analytical Transparency

Analytics services thrive on websites with ample opportunities for navigation and clicking. If you’re eager to learn what your audiences are actually doing on your website, you need to a hierarchy of pages that they can travel. Somewhat ironically, transparency in analytical analysis is built upon more complex page structures. If you’re curious as to why audiences are either bouncing or converting, a single page web layout doesn’t offer many opportunities for information gathering. Simply put, tracking opportunities on single page designs aren’t that numerous.

Challenge No. 3: Promoting E-Commerce

If you are trying to promote or manage a thriving e-commerce hub, a single pay web layout simply isn’t the right design for the job. Studies have shown that customers consider on-page clutter to be a primary reason for exiting a web page. Keeping an ecommerce system clean will likely require a more sophisticated system of organization and navigation than can be provided by a single page web layout design.

As you can see, there are a variety of unique benefits and disadvantages of single page web layout. Perhaps, the best perspective on this issue could be the following. A single page web layout may be ideal for certain projects, while also being entirely incompatible with others. Far from a one-stop solution, web designers should consider single page web layout to be one of several possible solutions they can deploy to meet their client’s needs.

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