Apr 16 2010

Single-Page Websites: Examples and Good Practices

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Single-page websites are becoming more popular among web designers, both for their own projects and for client sites. There are a lot of cases out there in which a single-page site makes a lot of sense: if there isn’t a ton of content; if the content is all closely related; or in cases where a particular stylistic element works best on a single page.

In any case, single-page sites are cropping up all over the place. But figure out when to use a one-page design and the best way to go about creating one is still a challenge for many. While a lot of general web design best practices apply to single-page sites just as they apply to more complex sites, there are some special considerations, which we’ve included below.

Is a One-Page Site Right for Your Project?

Single page websites seem to be particularly popular among designers. But that doesn’t mean those are the only sites they’re appropriate for. Other places we’ve seen them include app websites and websites for particular products (like books). So how do you decide if a one-page site will meet your needs?

Try asking yourself these questions:

  • Do I have a lot of content?
    Content-rich sites are probably not the best fit for a single-page site. If you have more than a dozen pages worth of information, you’re probably better off with a more traditional, multi-page structure.
  • Am I trying to sell a specific product?
    A single page website can be a great solution for selling one product, like a book, website theme, or similar.
  • Are you comfortable with Ajax and JavaScript?
    A very large number of single-page sites use Ajax and JS for navigation and other elements. It’s a very valuable way of creating an uncluttered site that still contains a fair amount of content.
  • Is my content all related?
    Trying to put a bunch of unrelated content on a single page is likely just going to confuse your visitor. If you have a bunch of unrelated pages, they’re probably best left as separate pages.

1. Minimal Content

When designing a single-page website, limiting the amount of content is important. First of all, rememeber that all your content needs to load at one time (unless you’re using Ajax, but even then there’s sometimes a fair amount of content to load at once). Also, if you want to use transitions between your content areas, they often work better when there isn’t a huge amount of content to cover between sections that aren’t bordering each other.

Five or six separate content areas seem to be about the norm on many single-page sites. Some sites limit it to only two or three, even. It’s rare to see a site with more than ten different content areas on a single page.

Examples

A single-page portfolio site that showcases a dozen movie websites. Minimal information is provided in the header, including a contact link.

Colourpixel has a lot of varying information on their site, but for the most part everything is kept short and to the point. There’s contact information, a portfolio and about information, all on a single page.

Ben Lind’s website includes only the minimum amount of content to get his message across.

Single-page sites are perfect for things like events (a wedding in this case). There’s not too much content to include and the single page makes it easy to find whatever you’re looking for.

Stoodeo’s site only contain’s a single page worth of content. By placing the contact form to the side, they’ve really minimized the length of the page.

2. Consider Horizontal Scrolling

Not all horizontally-scrolling websites are single page sites. But a fair number of them are, and it’s an interesting way to break out of the standard single-page box.

Horizontal scrolling can also work better if you have more content. Combining a horizontal layout with JavaScript can also facilitate larger amounts of content without overwhelming the visitor.

Examples

This site incorporates both horizontal and vertical scrolling to get six pages worth of information on a single page.

F Claire Baxter’s site is a fantastic example of using JavaScript to create a site that smoothly scrolls horizontally.

Charlie Gentle’s website uses a horizontal-scrolling slideshow effect to display content.

A huge horizontally-scrolling single page site. They include the contact form right at the beginning, setting it apart from a lot of other horizontal sites that include it on the last screen.

Peter Pearson’s site uses a mix of animation and horizontal scrolling on his site. Multiple pages worth of content are broken up across multiple horizontal screens.

3. Consider Screen Size

With a single-page site, you may want to consider the visible area your visitors likely see within their browser. Crafting your pages to fit comfortably within that space can minimize scrolling while viewing individual sections. This can be particularly important if the transitions between areas are important to you. Once a visitor starts scrolling, they may just keep scrolling rather than using your navigation links.

Examples

This is a very simple, three-screen single page site. Each section of the site easily fits within a single screen and requires no scrolling. The use of bi-directional scrolling to navigate is also a unique touch.

The CreativePeople website uses accordian sliders that come up from the bottom of the screen to display content. No scrolling is required.

Each content area on the Dafvy.co.uk site fits easily within a single screen with no scrolling required. The background color transitions that occur when you click to navigate to each individual section is a very nice touch.

Fuel Brand uses a single-page that fits within your browser window and uses Ajax to show more content.

A simple site with a slideshow and minimal information. The content adjusts to your screen size.

4. Clearly Set Apart Each Section

Most visitors to your site are going to be used to loading a new page for new content. If you squish all the content on your single-page site too close together, they may not see the transitions from one section the next.

There are a variety of ways to differentiate between sections. Using a header for each content area is one way. Some sites use an actual line to separate different areas. And still other sites use ample amounts of white space to set areas apart from one another.

Examples

KINO uses consistent hand-drawn headers for each section of the site, along with a thin, hand-drawn border separating each one.

Simple banners between each section keep a consistent look throughout the page while setting apart each content area.

CreativeSwitch uses images similar to distinct headers for each section of the site, clearly marking transitions between different types of content.

Even something as simple as a thick black bar can be enough to set your content areas apart from each other, as is done here.

The Tomatic website uses a retro rocket and space exploration theme. The header includes a rocket with planets. Various other sections on the site continue the retro theme, and then the footer includes a robot and UFO on a planet’s surface. Each section is set off with a unified header.

5. Take Advantage of a Bigger Background

Big backgrounds are popular in all kinds of website design, but single page designs open up new possibilities for large backgrounds. Many designers take advantage of large background images as a way to set apart their content areas while maintaining a unified look to the entire site.

For example, some sites might have a scene in the background that starts with a sky at the top with one content area, then further down they have a ground-level scene with another content area, and at the bottom they have an underwater scene with yet another content area. The possibilities with this kind of site are almost endless.

Examples

This coming soon page is another great example of using a unified theme throughout the site.

The Volll site uses a seascape/landscape image for the background, with the main content at sea level. Additional information shows up above the main content in the sky and below in the water, right down to the ocean floor.

Jamie Wright’s site uses a more abstract, colorful theme throughout. It really sets the site apart and draws your attention exactly where it should be.

Luke Larsen’s site uses a background that resembles a goldfish bowl.

This is one of the most innovative background designs I’ve seen. As you scroll down the page, colored bars in the background interact with other background elements to produce a one-of-a-kind effect that’s hard to even explain (so go check it out!).

6. Use JavaScript and Ajax to Organize and Display Content

If you have a bit more content to display but still want to stick to a single page design, consider using JS and Ajax to hide some content while others is displayed.

Slideshows are the most popular techniques for incorporating JS, but modal windows and other methods are also used.

Examples

SOFA uses JavaScript to display content on the home page as needed. It results in a very clean, polished design that still presents the necessary information without requiring visitors to leave the main page.

The Giant Creative site uses a JavaScript slideshow to display content while keeping the visitor on a single page.

Deluge Studios uses a variety of slideshows, modal windows, and other JavaScript techniques to include more information on their website than is immediately apparent.

The TapTapTap website uses JavaScript to load information about each of their products without loading a new page.

Jon Brousseau’s site uses JS for subtle enhancements like modal windows and tooltips.

More Examples

Below are a bunch of other great single-page website designs.

Dale Harris

Justin Tsang

Blazing Emblem, LLC

Fish Marketing

Jared Design

Angel Des Lacs

Koffie Verkeerd

Project 365

Kevin Lucius

The Rissington Podcast

Bullet PR

Skywalker Graphics

thinkdj

Jan-Eike Koormann

Janic Design

Adam Woodhouse

Paolo Manganiello

Los Colores Olvidados

Hot Meteor

IndoFolio

In Review…

One-page websites can be a fun and different way to design a site, whether it’s your own personal site or for a client. Consider ways to differentiate your one-page site that might not work as well on a multi-page site. Things like big background images or certain Ajax techniques work really well on one-page sites and have a bigger impact than they do on more complex sites.

Here’s a quick run-down of the best-practices mentioned above:

  1. Minimal content. There’s only room for so much content on a single page.
  2. Consider horizontal scrolling. While not all horizontal-scrolling websites are single pages, it’s a format that lends itself well to the one-page format.
  3. Consider screen size. Creating content areas that fit within a visitor’s screen without requiring scrolling is common in single-page sites.
  4. Clearly set apart each section. You don’t have the convention of separate pages for different content, so you need to figure out another way to delineate content areas.
  5. Take advantage of bigger backgrounds. Single page sites are often longer or larger than other pages, giving more opportunities for creative use of big backgrounds.
  6. Use JavaScript and Ajax. Organizing a lot of content on a single page can be enhanced if you use Ajax or JS techniques like modal windows, tooltips and sliders.

Showcases

About the Author

Cameron Chapman is a professional Web and graphic designer with many years of experience. She writes for a number of blogs, including her own, Cameron Chapman On Writing. She’s also the author of Internet Famous: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Online Celebrity.

Comments and Discussions
  • Lewis Nyman, 16 April 2010

    Nice outline Cameron.

    I love these sites, they make the web feel so modern.
    Another great one is: http://www.webleeddesign.com/
    (This is not my site btw)

  • murat uysal, 16 April 2010

    You may want to take a look at this “one page” example:
    interanaliz.info

  • NooN, 16 April 2010

    Great post, thank you

  • Nicole Bauer, 16 April 2010

    Thanks for that great article! I’m going to design a one page site soon and that was exactly what I was looking for. Great examples also!

  • HD Guy, 16 April 2010

    Truly fantastic designs! Nice round-up!

  • Albert Lie, 16 April 2010

    Very nice list. I thought that a single page website only suitable for selling purpose and design portfolio. Any other idea about this?

  • clea walford, 16 April 2010

    great post and designs. love these single-page sites.

  • Govind, 16 April 2010

    Thanks a lot!!!!!!!

  • Govind, 16 April 2010

    Thanks for this post!!!!!!!

  • Nancy Lee, 16 April 2010

    That’s great, you could also add this one too

    http://www.i5bala.com

  • Jordan Walker, 16 April 2010

    That is a good list of one page websites and sets a high benchmark.

  • Paolo, 16 April 2010

    Make minimal! Great post.

    • Creative Mashup, 18 April 2010

      Good point. Minimal and clean is what is all about :)

  • Abdelhadi Touil, 16 April 2010

    Great tips and example about this type of website. I like to make as style in Portfolio website.
    The example presented by Lewis Nyman is very funnu, I feel mysel like in an adventure ^_^
    Thanks.

  • Brian, 16 April 2010

    These are great examples. We made the decision to go single-page as well at http://www.websitemuscle.com/, and I think it was the right decision.

  • Jordan Moore, 16 April 2010

    This one – http://www.martinanddonna.co.uk/ reminds me of this one – http://forabeautifulweb.com/

  • Nick Hand, 16 April 2010

    Great collection! Always love these roundups. Also check out http://www.nickhand.net – One-page portfolio example!

  • Ronnie, 16 April 2010

    woah! you forgot mine :)

    http://www.ypsyps.net
    (maybe the content on it, isn’t really great work, but i’m getting there ;))

  • Matt Davenport, 16 April 2010

    One of the best I’ve seen was http://www.howhealthyismydrink.com although I’m always checking out onepagelove.com for inspiration

  • Marc, 16 April 2010

    Take a look at audi.com

  • Richard from Purplest, 16 April 2010

    Good article! We do see more and more of these single-page websites. I actually created one for my wedding last year.

    http://shierlyrichard.com/

  • Lena Tailor, 16 April 2010

    Very impressive list of themes.Thanks for sharing.Looking forward some new things.

  • Franz, 16 April 2010

    Hi great list,
    here is another nice single-page: http://devinist.de
    maybe not realy the design but the technic

  • Uros, 16 April 2010

    Nice collection. For my last project i use one of this technique (http: //www.minialpeadria.com/)

  • Jim Brusciano, 16 April 2010

    I like this site http://www.robertomarzola.it what do you think?

  • Zach Williams, 16 April 2010

    Some great examples here!

  • Mark, 16 April 2010

    Sensational examples on show in this list! Thanks for taking the time to collect them all together

  • kevin, 16 April 2010

    yeah, love single page sites. Bookmarked!

  • Martin Hyde, 16 April 2010

    Great post, want to create a single page site now. Thanks

  • lava360blog, 16 April 2010

    yes its a good option if you want to sell a single specific product.thanks for share the idea

  • monica of hola!design, 16 April 2010

    Great post! I love one page websites! I really like the in review points. Thanks!

  • Brian Cody, 16 April 2010

    I have a one-page site. Take a look and let me know what you think.

  • Clayton Correia, 16 April 2010

    Great resource. Thanks! My latest portfolio is single page. Had lots of fun building it and I can’t see myself switching back to multi-page now.

  • fjpoblam, 16 April 2010

    I’ve always had a one-page site, but I’ve split it into two for mistaken reasons… I reckon I’ll redo it as a one-pager: easy enough. (Same for clients.)

    Just this, Cameron: on a commercial site in which contact is offered, I was told on webmasterworld, the Feds “require” a privacy notice (under penalty of fine). Think this deserves a separate page?

  • César, 16 April 2010

    Another interesting aproach to single page websites: http://www,upperx.com

  • Joel Acevedo, 16 April 2010

    Hi guys… I think my portfolio is another good example of a single-page site. joelacevedo.com

  • Joel Acevedo, 16 April 2010

    Hi guys. My portfolio is also a single-page site. Check it out. ^

  • Peter Pearson, 16 April 2010

    Thanks for featuring http://www.peter-pearson.com!

  • Dave W, 16 April 2010

    These are all great example on how a simple single page site can be very interactive and dynamic.

  • designfollow, 16 April 2010

    great examples, thank you for the post.

  • Kapil, 16 April 2010

    Fish advertising is awesome.

    I came across one such site of my ex-company and was inspired to think of designing on those lines. I feel that the site http://www.plusthought.org outshines the sites shown in examples via extensive use of AJAX/JS to display multiple-content-items in one interface without re-loading.

    Worth a look.

    Kapil

  • bala s murali, 17 April 2010

    great collection

  • AurelienG, 17 April 2010

    I’ve used coda slider to make my one single page website. check it !

  • Dustin, 17 April 2010

    Dustingamester.com would be another good example of a single page website

  • Pieter, 17 April 2010

    Nice wrap-up about Single-Page Websites, thank you.

    Another great example is the website of Trumm, http://trumm.nl

  • Amrinder, 17 April 2010

    Huge but poor selection of websites. Quantity over quality I would say.

  • JayDz, 17 April 2010

    Very useful tips and examples, thank you so much :)

  • FeryKloucek, 18 April 2010

    Thanks for great post and inspiration!

  • Turnip, 18 April 2010

    I recently came across http://www.leukocyt.com . To be honest it is a rather cpu intensive site, but I really liked the desing.

  • Sam DeSocio, 18 April 2010

    I used some of these examples when I put together my latest site- hopeforpittsburgh.org

  • NooN, 19 April 2010

    Thank you Noupe :)

  • Martin, 19 April 2010

    Thanks for featuring one of my sites :)

  • Lisa, 20 April 2010

    Yes, single page websites have certainly come a long way from the 80′s! Remember when they used to be flat, white with a logo and a phone number…some of these still exist unfortunately!

  • Vivoo Creative, 22 April 2010

    Great collection, I love 1 page websites, or 1 page wonders as I like to call them! My own portfolio is also single paged, http://www.vivoocreative.co.uk I used illustrations in mine, hope you like :-)

  • thinkbot, 25 April 2010

    “Hi, my name is BLANK and I’m a web designer. Here are three links to my work, a web 2.0 illustration and a giant background that I downloaded off of a stock site.”

    I’m EXTREMELY tired of these formulaic, topheavy template sites with giant headers. WordPress and Tumblr are making designers lazy.

  • rex, 25 April 2010

    Take a look at this one-page site too http://rekc.ru/
    It was made with no use of jQuery.

  • David Pratt, 02 May 2010

    Great list. Here’s another good example: http://jamesreeve.info/

  • Laur, 19 May 2010

    Nice Post :) Love it!

  • Evan Skuthorpe, 24 May 2010

    some great examples here. my new site is very near to launching and funnily enough it’s based on a single page structure so this is very timely to see. Thanks!

  • Yuriy, 16 September 2010

    Some seriously good work here! Check out my one page design @ yuriyz.com. If not featured I appreciate critique :-)

  • Tim, 17 September 2010

    These are so helpful!
    I used these as a guide to design my one page portfolio!

    Thanks
    Tim

  • Brandrally, 06 October 2010

    I find the best single-page folio site to be Cuban Council http://www.cubancouncil.com really nice, clean and functional.

  • Djimbo, 22 October 2010

    Once again, these are nearly all web/graphic/designer/portfolio sites.

    How about some real-world sites done for actual clients who sell real products and services?

    Everything seems to be about web designers designing to impress other web desigers. Were are the clients’ sites?

    Like all of these ‘best website’ showcases, it’s just another huge desiger circle-jerk.

    But then, maybe they don’t actually have any clients :o

  • Johnny Boy, 05 November 2010

    Lovely stuff…!!

    Here’s my one pager for ya’ll…

    http://www.johnharfield.com/

    :)

  • legal service, 23 November 2010

    thx for great mood during walking at the collection! great designs, high inspiration!

  • Ching, 25 February 2011

    Like the way you segmented the one page websites into different tips, so they seem easier to follow ;)

  • Erykah, 19 April 2011

    how do you design the example after the CONSIDER HORIZONTAL SCROLLING subtitle…..??? anyone?

  • Raj, 10 May 2011

    Great Post! Planning to do one website for my own like this :)

    Thanks for the post

    Raj

  • Srinivas, 11 July 2011

    good sort of examples ,really i had been looking for some guidance,thanx for the post,.,..

  • Justyn, 14 July 2011

    Thanks for a wonderful article! I have a client who simply needs a one pager and it’s hard for me to break out of my box.

  • Duane, 06 January 2012

    This is a good looking collection of single Page web design.

  • bezimenko, 09 May 2012

    I like it. I want to do something like that but I don’t know how. Is there any tutorials or finished sites that can be downloaded and just change pictures?

  • Osman Güngör, 05 July 2012

    I think that is actually a very useful one-page web sites. but it is still widely used in the classical system

  • David Kasteler, 21 March 2013

    Very nice compilation. Thanks for sharing.

  • antalya transfer, 28 April 2013

    I used these as a guide to design my one page portfolio!

  • Guillermo, 07 June 2013

    Hello! Thank you for the tips. I have a question: How good are “onepagers” with SEO and the new Google algorithm?

    • Bromley Man, 27 June 2013

      Guillermo, as per my experience One Page sites are tough to have SEO done. A good website consit of quality contents that are branched out on various pages.

      Single page sites were best used for landing pages when there was only HTML. Now the trend is changing and you see many single page site with quality effects on it.

      As per new Google algorithms, i am not sure about it yet. But i am working on a single page site and doing seo on it, lets see how it goes. i will surely share it here.

      Regards

  • shoebuy coupon code, 21 September 2013

    It’s nearly impossible to find experienced people in this particular
    topic, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about!
    Thanks

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