Cameron FrancisNovember 02,2013

Should You Design A Single Page Site?: Pros and Cons

Category: Web Design

Most of us have encountered them while surfing the web, and there are numerous examples that are quite inspiring, single page sites are a modern web paradigm where all content is housed in one document.

While configuring a site as a single page may result in an extremely large document that requires endless scrolling, a variety of ingenious methods that utilise modern techniques and standards like AJAX and CSS3 have come into vogue, providing a method of displaying information as required. Many single page sites also make use of parallax scrolling, which is a fairly new technique used in the design of sites.


Parallax Scrolling

Parallax scrolling normally involves the creation of a 3D depth illusion using background and foreground images that move at varying speeds. Many sites are already using it to provide their visitors with a better web experience.

In the past Flash was dominated, however Flash has some associated problems. One of the primary problems with Flash is that it is compiled code, so it cannot be read by search engines. In addition, Apple does not have Flash packaged with its mobile devices, because Apple has a preference for using HTML5. In order to implement Parallax scrolling, JavaScript, jQuery, CSS3 and HTML 5 are utilised.

In this post we will focus on sites that make use of HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and jQuery. We will not discuss sites that are Flash-only, which can also be considered single page sites.

Using Single Page Sites

It is easy to understand, that every kind of site will not be suitable as a single page site. However, a frequent trend that is now seen, particularly among portfolio sites, demonstrates that some sites can derive benefits from a single page site design that is simple but multi-faceted.

The concept that a site may be designed with only a single page seems ludicrous, however, with the industry changing toward advocating simple sites that are easy to use, one page designs have become an option that are effective and viable. This trend has accelerated due to the fact that many web accesses now occur from mobile devices, and simple sites have better usability on mobile devices.

Trends and Issues

While multiple page traditional designs will certainly not go away, there are several advantages that single page sites have that may offer you potential uses for them. Designing a site that is totally self-contained may be a concept that you must get accustomed to and it takes quite a bit of planning and thought. Some concepts you will have to consider are:

  • Can a single page website satisfy the requirements of your project or would it be better to have multiple pages?
  • How should the content be organised?
  • How should the navigation function?
  • What content is necessary and what should be left out?

Single Page Site Benefits

Single page website designs have several advantages in comparison to multi-page websites:

  • When navigating the site, page refresh is not required, since content is either on a page or it is loaded utilising AJAX
  • Enhanced user experience since navigating to content is more responsive and faster than going to another page
  • Maintenance is simpler
  • You can focus your design on having a very high quality single page, rather than having multiple page designs for varying site content.
  • Your page rank is applicable to the entire site
  • High density of core content seen by search engine crawlers
  • Uniqueness. Single page sites can favourably impress site visitors since they are less commonplace
  • Simple solution for sites that have one product, like “brochure” sites
  • They are the preferred choice for applications designed for mobile devices

Single Page Site Disadvantages

Single page sites have several disadvantages in contrast to multi-page websites:

  • The file size of a page can become very large
  • You will need to employ CSS3 or scripting support to create a quality webpage
  • At times tabbing to various elements can be tricky, since there may be a lot of content on a single page. However, this should not be a large problem if the site is well designed
  • Designing a single page site is more time consuming since it will involve more creativity and thought to effectively put all content into a single page
  • The page may take a long time to load if there is a large amount of content


Whenever you implement a specific type of Website Design, you are unlikely to be able to satisfy all parties. Single page websites can be designed to be very usable and accessible; however, there will be scenarios where they are not appropriate. For instance, a single page site would not be a good option for a large e-commerce site.

Author: Cameron Francis Cameron Francis is the Director of eTraffic Group. He has been engaged in all aspects of online marketing for the past 8 years. He is actively involved in SEO, Paid Search, Social Media Optimisation, and Web Design.

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