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The Future of Web: Pageless Design

Posted by Emily Weeks on August 12th, 2013 at 2:06 pm

If you’ve been on the Internet lately (read: everyone), you’ve probably come across a site with an unnecessary amount of pages, too much going on, and most likely, you have no idea where to click first.  You find yourself thinking, "Should I visit the ‘About Us’ page? What about the ‘Contact Us’ link? Maybe I should read the testimonials first to get a better idea of the product." All you really wanted to do was check out your neighborhood’s new café, maybe order a sandwich for lunch, but now you’re about ready to throw your computer at a wall. Somehow you’ve found yourself overwhelmed by enough buttons and links to support an international company’s website.

Enter: Pageless Design. Most people would agree that a balance of design, aesthetics and functionality are important. With Pageless Design, you can have this balance. Pageless Design, in short, is a single webpage that encapsulates an entire site’s data into one fluid page.

It sounds too good to be true. What’s so great about Pageless Design?
It tells a story. Audiences lose interest quickly online, but the visual and interactive aspects of Pageless Design keep them engaged. Similar to a mobile app in which visitors continue to scroll down to see more information, it’s easy for them to locate anything on the site quickly. Additionally, Pageless Design sites transition well onto any device and look great on smartphones and tablets as well as traditional desktops. And if this wasn’t enough to get your palms sweating, your Google PageRank applies to the entire site because there aren’t multiple pages to navigate through.

Do I need to switch my site over to Pageless Design?
Not necessarily. While Pageless Design is innovative, fun and great for a variety of products, it’s not for everyone. Let’s put it this way. If you wear a size ten shoe, you’re not going to be able to squeeze into a size six. It’s impossible. And even if you could, it’d be pretty uncomfortable. Similarly, if you’re a large corporation, you’re not going to be able to fit all your data onto one, seamless webpage—it’s just not practical. In your case, it makes more sense to have a traditional website with multiple links, pages and drop-down menus. However, say you’re a freelance graphic designer, a local singer trying to sell your first album, or a boutique spa service—Pageless Design may be perfect for you. Pageless Design is ideal for those selling a single product or service.

Have you come across any Pageless Design sites around the web lately? What do you think about the rising web design trend?

12 Responses to “The Future of Web: Pageless Design”

  1. Our Motto..."Less Is More...More Is Confusing," In This New Era Of Digital Communication, You Have Less Then 7 Seconds To Capture Your Audiences Attention. First Impression Is Everything...Even In The Digital World. Out Of The Estimated 100 Million + Sites, What Makes Your Website Stand Out From All The Rest!

    GREAT ARTICLE!

  2. francis says:

    Examples would have been nice, but I'm intrigued! This is different form the "continuous scrolling" sites like Google+ mobile, right?

    • Emily Weeks says:

      Thanks for the thought, Francis! Yes, Pageless Design is different from "continuous scrolling" sites such as Google+ mobile, in that they're not continuously updated feeds of new information (such as Facebook). The 4-Hour Chef is a great example of a Pageless Design site: http://fourhourchef.com/.

  3. Darryl says:

    Has there been any studies demonstrating an impact on SEO when moving to this type of design as compared to a traditional design?

    • Emily Weeks says:

      There have been conversations as to whether or not a a Pageless Design site impacts SEO - and the short answer is yes, it does. When a site only consists of one page, search engines will only index that one page. However, Pageless Design is useful for those selling a single service - not for large companies, or sites requiring numerous topics and subtopics (in which case it makes more sense from an SEO standpoint to create a traditional website).

      I'd suggest watching this brief video to gain another perspective: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mibrj2bOFCU

  4. Erik says:

    So...is pageless design the new landing page? To your shoe size analogy, seems like it would work if you are selling a simple product and don't require a full-blown website.

    I have also seen more and more parallax scrolling integrated into this type of an approach as well.

    • Emily Weeks says:

      Exactly, Erik. Depending on your product and motive, a Pageless Design site can function as a landing page for smaller companies selling single products or services. And yes, parallax scrolling definitely enhances the visual aspect of many Pageless Design sites.

  5. James says:

    One of my favourite breweries uses pageless design. I'll be honest, took me a while to get used to it, but I like it now.

    http://parallel49brewing.com/

  6. Eugene Ingram Jr says:

    From the article title, I first thought you were referring to the Kindle and e-book paradigm of not accessing content by page (like in traditional PDF renditions), but rather, scrolling through content. Kindle books, as many know, are read by scrolling (using various navigation keys and mouse buttons or scroll-wheel), and page numbering is irrelevant. Pages are dynamically redefined based on factors such as changing the window size and selecting a more readable font size. Chapters are accessed using a table of contents (that expands and collapses). Specific content is accessed through bookmarks (such as user defined "favorites" and book-specific index).

    Forcing someone to start reading the beginning of a page is similar to opening a large Kindle book and starting at the Preface. If it's a reference book, someone may wish to skip to the section covering their specific topic, whereas if it's a novel, they will start reading at the beginning. Therefore, it seems a careful content analysis is in order to determine if your design, or a hybridized version, is appropriate for a web site.

    • Emily Weeks says:

      If you take a look at the couple examples of Pageless Design sites that have been posted in previous comments, you'll notice that there's typically a navigation bar at the top where visitors can click to exactly where on the page they'd like to go.

      It's true, though, that Pageless Design isn't appropriate for every business - definitely not even the majority of businesses.

  7. phil says:

    I am not really fun of pageless design, well organized websites looks much better as long as UI is not confusing to visitors

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