Right now there is a paradigm shift happening in web design. It’s gaining traction, but it’s going to take the leadership of designers and developers some effort to nudge the rest of the web in the right direction. What direction is that?

The one where we finally free websites from the outdated conventions of print design and fully utilize the digital platform they’re built on. Where we kick archaic elements like pages to the curb and instead create unique, satisfying, web-native experiences.

With advances in technology from browser capability to broadband limitations, and of course HTML, CSS and JavaScript, vast improvement is now possible and is just waiting for us to make it happen.

Of course, we’ve talked about this before. The most recent example being in early May when we published a post calling on designers and developers everywhere to Stop Building Websites and Start Building Smart Sites.

It’s a wonderful philosophy-driven article that offers several compelling arguments for pageless design. In today’s post I’d like to continue that conversation and complement those arguments with an additional list of eight reasons why pageless design (and services like Impress) are the future of the web.

Think of this post as a series of talking points that you can use with your clients, boss, manager or other developers/designers. Something you can use to craft concise yet convincing two-minute pitches on why pageless design is a better direction for the web in general.

At the very least, I’d like to prompt you to ask yourself and others: Where are we now and how can we make it better?

Why Pageless Design is the Future of the Web

1. It uses story to compel visitors to action

pageless-design-slide1

Why do we have websites? To communicate with our current and future community. That community comes in the form of prospects, customers, enthusiasts and partners. In each case the goal is to accomplish a specific objective, something that almost always requires a specific action on the part of the user. How do we do that? By telling a story!

Stories quite simply provide the best vehicle for delivering messages that are not only heard and understood, but that inspire, motivate and elicit action. Furthermore, on the web we can (for the first time ever) free ourselves from the general constraints of traditional media and advance the art of storytelling. We can create captivating, immersive, interactive and emotional experiences that move people in more powerful ways than traditional media, or even traditional web design, ever could.

2. It’s seamless, intuitive and easy to digest

pageless-design-slide2

Today, when you land on the average website you are greeted with a few prominent trends: a large image slider, top or side navigation, a main body of text/images/icons and a sidebar with various links, images and CTAs. On many sites you are asked to hand over your name and email address immediately, even before you’ve had a chance to learn about the person, group or company whose site you’re visiting.

What a scattered, inelegant, blunt experience.

But, when you land on a pageless site you are immediately immersed in the opening lines of a great story. The ultra simplified design gets out of the visitors’ way and the story you’re trying to tell takes center stage for the entire journey through the site.

All that is left is the beginning of a well crafted story, where the only thing the visitor must do to progress is the most natural and intuitive thing on the web: scrolling.

This simple action makes for a seamless experience devoid of link hunting or any other type of point and click guesswork. And because this format forces the website owner to distill their vision into one page, the overall message is typically much clearer and more powerful than it otherwise would have been scattered between a home page, about page, mission page, sidebar, etc.

3. It’s viscerally and emotionally satisfying

pageless-design-slide3

With the advances in HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript we are able to weave interactive elements throughout our story to encourage, delight and win over our visitors on a “gut level,” which mere fact listing could never accomplish. Doors that open, boxes that flip and fold, buttons that chime or animate in creative ways — these are the types of “bubble wrap” interactions that provide satisfying texture and emotional context to the story we’re trying to tell.

When a design goes beyond merely looking good and actually feels good too, we are able to create addicting feedback loops that encourage specific actions “just for the fun of it.” When those enjoyable actions or micro-experiences (such as clicking a specific button) are built around our calls to action, conversion rates rise with user happiness.

4. It yields higher conversion rates

pageless-design-slide4

None of the above would be valid if they did not result in higher conversion rates. Sure, beauty, design and a good story are all great in and of themselves, but in the context of building websites there really is one metric that matters most: Conversion.

Every website we build should have a primary objective. To generate new leads, to grow your online community, to promote a person or product, to drive more downloads, to sell more goods and services.

These are the things that a single page website is best at. It’s simple, straightforward design combined with a great story and visceral interactions propel site visitors along a single path towards that final goal. It’s more focused than a standard website and more elegant than a mere landing page. The numbers have proved it works best again and again.

5. It makes iteration easier, faster and more effective

pageless-design-slide5

Not only does a pageless design convert better by default, but making changes based on analytics and user feedback is easier, faster and more effective. It’s easier and faster because there’s only one page to deal with. Instead of trying to weave a good user experience across multiple pages you’ve already crafted a concise and powerful one page story. Now all you have to do is tweak the specific details and interactions you’ve created in order to make them even more satisfying than they already are.

6. It decreases bounce rates and encourages sharing

pageless-design-slide6

Thanks in large part to everything I’ve already listed above, bounce rates tend to be lower on single page sites. This is because there’s very little to do or become confused about. It’s just the visitor, a good story and the primary objective for which that site was designed for. If the site’s story and flow are effective, the bounce rates are going to reflect that reality by enticing visitors to hang out longer.

Additionally, it’s hard to share an entire standard website with someone; the bulkiness of it forces visitors to manually zero in on what they like best and share just that bit with someone else. With landing pages it’s even worse. It’s distasteful to share a landing page with others because it’s obvious that you’re just after their money and/or information. But sharing a compelling story and a good experience, well those are things we do every day and they excite both us and those we’re sharing them with.

In this way pageless design offers a unique way to organically propel visitors (and those they share your site with) into an effective sales funnel they actually enjoy.

7. Pageless looks great on all devices

pageless-design-slide7

Pageless design creates a uniformity across platforms where users are already used to scrolling content, interactive elements and intuitive navigation. The apps on our smartphones and tablets are leaps and bounds ahead of current web design standards when it comes to creating memorable and enjoyable experiences.

This is mostly due to their unique limitations which encourage designers and developers to come up with new solutions that don’t lean as heavily on outdated conventions (like pages) but on new technological advancements. This results in new kinds of interactions native to a digital environment; swipe gestures, pop-out menus, use of gps information, gyroscope aided movements, animations, etc.

In many ways pageless design can do the same thing for the web by offering a simpler, more intuitive user experience full of delightful web-native interactions. This can be accomplished by utilizing a design concept we call Responsive +. This will not only ensure that your design adjusts in size to any device but that it feels right when viewed on any device.

8. It’s Affordable

pageless-design-slide8

Finally, we come to the crucial point: the price point. Traditionally, it’s been quite an expensive endeavor for both businesses and individuals to create beautiful, custom websites. Not just thousands of dollars, but tens of thousands of dollars. Thankfully, with a pageless website that’s no longer the case.

Particularly with services like Impress, a beautiful one page site can be delivered in just two weeks and at a price point just under $5,000. Something you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere else when combined with the other benefits I’ve listed in this post.

With pageless design we might actually see, for the first time, the democratization of beautiful and effective web design. Making it possible for anyone who wants one to have a website that feels right, looks great and gets results.

Will You Be Using & Creating Pageless Websites?

So those are my eight reasons for why pageless design is the future of the web. What do you think? Am I spot on, delusional, close but not quite accurate? Tell me all about it in the comments below. And please, feel free to share whether or not you’ll be using and creating pageless websites in the future.

Comments
  • Agnes

    You never really define what is pageless design (or I missed it) so I guess it is a web with just one page and all navigatin into the elements of that page? It shows as a new trend and very elegant one, yet it seems to work for kind of micro-sites, how would you nimplement that for large sites?

    • http://nathan Nathan Weller

      Agnes,

      Thanks for pointing that out. As I mentioned I wrote this as a compliment to another popular post on the blog called Stop Building Websites and Start Building Smart Sites. So I can see how if you just read this one you might want a clearer definition of what exactly a pageless design is. However, you do seem to get the idea based on your comment here.

      It’s worth mentioning that a one page or pageless site is not for everyone. However, the reason it’s the future of the web is because the vast majority of sites currently utilizing a landing/home page, a contact page, a mission statement page, about page and contact page could and probably should combine those things into a seamless experience on one page with a strong funnel and call to action.

      Other sites, such as large ecommerce websites, are not going to want to go this direction.

      Best,

      Nathan

    • http://metamatrix.se Petter Schaffer

      Hi!

      Good read! Why don’t you give us some thought on this idea: “Other sites, such as large ecommerce websites, are not going to want to go this direction.”

      At first the idea sounds obvious, but then – why not?

  • http://harryguinness.com Harry Guinness

    Already am where possible! Much prefer the look and flow!

    • http://nathan Nathan Weller

      Awesome!

  • BJ

    I’m leaning towards agreeing with Agnes here. If it’s a one-size-fits-all type of approach, love to see some data to support it, some case studies and more about what it actually is. I like the conceptual part of Pageless design, but for a larger website, I’m not sure how this would work.

  • http://bravewhale.com Mark Cyrus

    Impress is very Impressive. So I understand the reason for promoting this “Pageless” design style. And Impress’ Pageless design is improving conversions. Though, it’s really just another term for Landing Page or a One-Page-Site.

    I wouldn’t say this is the future of the web, especially since landing page sites are likely a very small percent. But designing with story driven actions in mind is perhaps in our future. I don’t see the majority of sites: magazines, blogs, e-commerce; being condensed into one Pageless page, but I do see how Impress can inspire such sites to improve how they direct and speak to their users.

    • http://stuartrunyan.com Stuart Runyan

      I agree Mark, especially this statement; “But designing with story driven actions in mind is perhaps in our future”.

      Great points in the article, I see all this being highly relevant in a PPC scenario but how would you deal with SEOs who want to generate organic traffic?

    • http://dtelepathy.com/blog Nathan Weller

      Mark,

      I completely understand where you’re coming from. I will concede that there are certain types of websites for which pageless design is not the answer. But I hope we can both agree that a future forging trend does not need to be a one size fits all solution. That sort of perspective seems to lack nuance to me.

      The reason why I persist in calling pageless design the future of the web is not because it’s a one size fits all solution but because it’s the smartest way we know of right now to communicate all of the information that needs to be delivered by a small business, freelancer, restaurant, teacher, author, app creator etc. – all wrapped in a compelling story that drives higher conversion rates.

      I would be surprised if the data showed that there are more magazines and ecommerce sites out there than small business sites. I would be even more surprised if those areas of need are growing faster than the need of new art, products, apps, etc. that could benefit from an Impress style website. So while it may not be for everyone, I’d say it’s for most. Even (or maybe especially) if that means they have to rethink what and how much they want to communicate to their visitors in order to crystalize their message and optimize the site’s funnel.

      To close, thank you so much for your thoughtful comment; I wanted to respond in turn.

      Best,

      Nathan

  • http://www.renesejling.dk Rene Sejling

    Would be great to implement something like a pageless or one page design with WordPress. Do you know of a theme or framework that does this?

    • http://dtelepathy.com/blog Nathan Weller

      Rene,

      I had a friend ask me about this on facebook. Here is what I suggest for him:

      “…there are some tools for WP that can help us non-devs create pages with similar flow and impact. Someone with your design skills could probably do a lot by combining pageless theory with a tool like premise for example. http://getpremise.com/

      I hope that helps!

      Best,

      Nathan

    • http://www.webmatros.com Oliver Nielsen

      Hi Rene

      In my experience, the best WordPress theme frameworks for making this kind of website is Headway and PageLines, Headway being the supreme choice. Read more on my site for reasons why, as well as my take on other theme frameworks like Thesis and Genesis.

    • http://IamChristyEller.com Christy

      There are lot of WordPress one page designs, and more showing up every day. I’ve used some of them, they are really fun to work with from a designer’s standpoint for me. They definitely do not fit every one of my clients- ecommerce being one big reason, sites with multiple user forms, large-scale sites in general- it’s just not possible. But I love the idea of story and experience. My goal is always to make the user happy, as opposed to making them work.

      Here’s a great list of one-page WordPress themes: http://athemes.com/collections/best-one-page-wordpress-themes

      Thanks for the post, loved it!

  • John

    Sounds like, you are apply twitter bootstrap a e-book /acai berry ‘long page funnel’ design. Web pages have multiple places to go because different visitors want different information based on their needs. This is good if you are making a linear sales pitch. I could not represent 15k records of different places for example using this.

    • http://dtelepathy.com/blog Nathan Weller

      John,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts! As I’ve mentioned in some other comments above there are always going to be instances in which pageless design is not ideal. In my opinion though a good idea that should set the tone for the future of design does not necessarily need to be a one size fits all solution. For more on this check out my response to Mark above.

      Best,

      Nathan

  • Robert

    Another really good article…you hit on a lot of good points. In my opinion, successful web design can boil down to just reasons #1 and #7 (great storytelling that is easy to view/interact with on any device). I believe the rest will feed off of that.

    • http://dtelepathy.com/blog Nathan Weller

      Thanks Robert! You’re certainly right in pointing out there is a lot of overlap here. You’ve summarized it nicely :)

      I would add the caveat that the benefit of listing it all out (even when there is a lot of overlapping) is because it’s important to execute each site down to the last micro-experience intentionally.

  • http://www.searchandperch.com Benji

    Love your guys’ work and think there are some very convincing arguments in here. May be hard to break the status quo, but I think as more websites evolve into fewer pages people will start to realize that it does indeed make more sense.

    I think #7 is an especially compelling argument because mobile/responsive web design is definitely trending for this year.

    • http://dtelepathy.com/blog Nathan Weller

      Thanks Benji! Love meeting likeminded creatives. Feel free to share those thoughts with your friends and collaborators. It’s going to take more than a few good client projects to change people’s minds about design. It needs to be something we chat about over coffee, beer or whatever/whenever the opportunity presents itself :)

  • http://jeanette.burtonsigns.com.au Jeanette Burton

    I do like how everything you need to know is all in one place.
    With older style sites, you can be left wondering if you have seen it all… or where else you should go. Many times the navigation of a site is not clear, and often confusing.
    So I agree that with the information on the one page, it makes the visit to the site more enjoyable.

    • http://dtelepathy.com/blog Nathan Weller

      Thanks Jeanette! I hope you stay engaged in this conversation as the months go by here. Maybe together we can bring some other designers/developers around to this idea too :)

  • http://www.inverselogix.com/website-design Hemanth Malli

    Great points mentioned in this article !! Yes Story driven sites are much more interactive and interesting for the visitors to visit our sites again and again. Its more intuitive in action !!

    • http://dtelepathy.com/blog Nathan Weller

      Agreed!

  • Siddhant

    Well that’s an awesome idea…… Moreover, it may even help in conserving data too, for example if a “Page-less Smart Site” is not very heave it may just conserve 60% data, over a “Traditional Site”/….

    • Jamie Hamel-Smith

      I can’t speak directly to the bandwidth consumption of an Impress style site vs. a traditional site (they vary so much).

      I will say that for Impress style sites we employ a lot of progressive enhancement and lazy-loading. Basically, we only load what the user sees. You can see evidence of this if you scroll down the Impress site very quickly. Things appear and load as needed.

      I think the best approach is to embrace on-demand loading where possible. If we focus on the experience of a specific portion of the page, instead of aiming for an overall lower site size, we can make the experience better. The benchmark is measured in seconds (not kilobytes) when you’re loading things dynamically.

  • Pedro

    Great article Nathan. I love the way you can keep the attention focused on your story in this pageless design.
    But I got a doubt: how the search engines will index your website if you got everything on one page?

    • http://dtelepathy.com/blog Nathan Weller

      Great question Pedro. We’ve addressed this by giving the various sections of a one page design it’s own unique url (when necessary). A good example is the site we built for Tim Ferris’ Four Hour Body book. You’ll notice that each tab has its own url.

    • Mayast

      I was wandering the same thing… I’m considering re-designing my dad’s bussiness website. I think I would go with a navigation bar fixed at the top to allow visitors jumping between different sections, but I would like to know if links within the same page will work just as good as “normal” ones in terms of SEO? If they don’t, that would be quite a drawback for this “pageless” design, as you call it ;) (I prefer the term single-page website).
      Also, here is a page that I came across yesterday, for me it’s one of the best examples: http://www.iutopi.com/

    • http://dtelepathy.com/blog Nathan B Weller

      Pedro + Mayast,

      Sounds like a good future post would be a case study of “pageless SEO” vs. “standard SEO”. What do you think?

      Best,

      Nathan

    • Mayast

      I’d love to read it! :)

  • http://seandillonsmith.com Sean

    Great post, I really believe that this is the way of future website designs. I obviously feel very compelled to take action after I have scrolled through a longer site, and as an internet marketing professional I have seen some insane conversion rate percentage metrics presented after an a/b test between a paginated site and a flat site. The only slightly uneasy thing for me in a flat site is usually the lack of depth after the conversion optimized, long-form page has been completed. If you suck a user in that far and interest them enough, they are going to want more. That’s why I recommend having your large call to action at the bottom, after the very elegant representation of trust and wrapping them in throughout the whole one-page design but then below that CTA have a link to your blog, social media accounts and or other resources. This way a user can consume more of your content after they have already expressed a thorough interest in your business or organization. Also you can optimize CTAs on the blog to get a higher amount of email subscribers, followers etc. while not taking away from the primary call to action on the initial landing page.

    Cheers man, great post!

    • http://dtelepathy.com/blog Nathan Weller

      You’re spot on Sean. Thanks for the extra perspective :)

  • http://www.raydonmarketing.com Raydon Marketing

    I wanted to thank you for this information. It is indeed one of the better late trends in the market and the provider mentioned here seems to have done an amazing job at their own site, I just ran it on my phone, crunched my brwoser to a mere 2 in on desktop, and they had pretty amazing elasticity to their site, everything worked out perfectly with regards to reason #7 which I think is really important given the 50% web traffic on mobile.

    But, you are correct that this may not be the best approach for everyone. Particularly, larger sites with a lot more need for content space, as well as e-commerce sites could really not be this way. Unless, you mix and match this pageless approach, with the old school site structure with various pages, eliminating a good number of them. But , I still think this is only useful for more static, and smaller websites.

    • http://dtelepathy.com/blog Nathan Weller

      One of the things I really enjoy about writing these future oriented posts is that it often motivates various thought leaders to jump in and help flesh out an idea, validate a prediction or even write a rebuttal. So I’m looking forward to hearing other people’s thoughts on where exactly the boundaries you mentioned lie. I’m also hoping this post will inspire those already in the DT camp so to speak to push themselves in the one page space and show others just how much can be done here.

  • http://www.DreAllDay.com Dre

    Great,informative post. though I am no web design expert i always marvel at single-page sites and want to eventually do the same for my sites.

    • http://dtelepathy.com/blog Nathan B Weller

      As a blogger who markets services (and eventually products) myself, I’m sort of in the same boat. While I have much more than a passing knowledge of design theory, trends, etc. (not to mention the rockstars here at DT to bounce ideas off of) I’m not a designer. I’m a writer. So I’m really looking forward to the continued increase in accessibility of single page web design for anyone.

  • http://www.conversionstudio.net Dave

    Do you have any good examples of this in acrion?

  • http://www.isfnet.com mark

    Thanks for the post, I am trying to create an optimized landing page similar to the use of CSS3/HTML and Java script. And It would be great to use a design like this.

  • http://www.designtoexpress.com John Tanedo

    This is one of those subjects in web design that we can only give so much facts to make it look really viable but still there would be an area where it won’t be the case. Like for example; Digital Telepathy’s company website is not a “Page less Design” is it? Perhaps like every other subject there will always be a grey area where we need to balance or analyze the situation. Like for instance, if we are doing our personal portfolio as a web designer, it would be a whole lot faster if we create a one-page or “page less design”. So that would mean more time for us to work on our client projects. And the fact that page less design is quite an impression now a days it would mean more conversion.

    The reality is “page less design” is impressive because it is new. We have not yet proven that it is more effective than a traditional business website.

    If we have a client who’s needs are of a business listing, real estate listing, e commerce or any other similar website that requires more than one page to get the purpose delivered then we should go for the traditional “average website”.

    I do see how you would think that “page less design” is the future because websites that have implemented such technique lately have been nominated and even won on web design awards more than the average designed websites with pages.

  • jonny d

    All very pretty, but in the commercial world, the balance between prettiness and usability need to be met in a much more defined way. The simple fact is that people have expectations with the web, eg I expect to see navigation at the top or the side of the page. Breaking away from this tradition may look good, but will definitely not assist the user (your customer) to make their process any smoother.

    • http://dtelepathy.com/blog Nathan B Weller

      Jonny,

      Did you happen to look at the case studies linked to in the article? At least from what we’ve see so far, the data seems to be in stark contrast with your assumption here. Not to mention that the center of our objective based design philosophy is a rejection of “pretty things” for the sake of “pretty things”. We value the harmony of good design with smart data. Which we accomplish through iteration.

      On the other hand, if you have some sources that might change my mind I’d love to check them out!

      Best,

      Nathan

  • http://www.responsivemiracle.com/cms/drupal/montreal-drupal-theme/ Drupal 7 Parallax

    I like this new trend. Sidebars are out. I call this web3.0.

  • Dante

    Curious if you’ve found a workaround for SEO. This would seem to kill a good SEO strategy. I suppose if you have only one very specific thing/subject you’re hoping to do well with in search engines…..no worries. But unique pages and all the accompanying SEO best practices that go with them are gold for Google.

    • Mayast

      So links within the same page (eg. “#contact”) won’t be the solution?

    • http://www.webmatros.com Oliver Nielsen

      Mayast > No. It will still be the same page.

    • Mayast

      Thanks, Oliver – now I have my answer :)

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  • Mayast

    I’ve found an interesting article connected to the SEO question:
    http://www.hyperarts.com/blog/single-page-websites-and-seo-a-one-page-site-can-clobber-your-seo/

    I would say every web designer working on a new project has to weigh the pros and cons…

    In some cases an appealing single-page website will work out well, for example with ads (mentioned in the article), “business card” websites, or some environmental/social awareness projects, like http://freethechicken.org/

    But for many clients great SEO will be MUCH more important. Especially if the businesses are local, eg. beauty salons, doctors and health care facilities, bars and restaurants, etc.
    Even if the content of those websites could fit perfectly on one page, and a beautiful story could be told ;) pageless website may not be the best idea.

    I’m still thinking about the internal links, though…

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  • http://vancouverdesigner.jimdo.com/ Vancouver Designer

    Nathan I agree with you that page less design will be the future of the web design. Recently, I have gone through many websites with page less design. The main point I pick out from your reasons to support page less design is that it is more compatible with all types of devices. Especially for touch screen devices, page less design is the best choice to facilitate your community, and as you know, people are switching to touch screen from keypad devices. So it will be the future of web design.

    • Mayast

      I’d say it’s not that much a feature of page-less design, but more of responsive design.

    • Mayast

      You can still create a page-less website that isn’t responsive and only looks good on PCs (I’ve seen quite many examples). So the best thing to do when designing a page-less website (or any website, for that matter) is to combine it with responsive webdesign.

      But I guess that scrolling as a way of moving around the website works particularly well on touch screens.

  • http://www.rgbcmyk.it/2013/ Vito

    before starting to read comments I asked to myself… What about SEO?
    But the last article I’ve read suggests me the right point of view:
    http://www.searchadvertising.it/marketingblog/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/us-ranking-factors-2013.png
    Look at the firt position in the chart.
    What speeds up SEO today?
    Users and customer sharing and building backlinks strategy.
    What is best to be shared? Ideas, emotions, nuance.
    How I can better design ideas?
    Maybe vertical sites are the answer.
    But I believe that our approach, also in horizontal sites needs to take advantage of this affordable solution.

    Cheers,

    Vito

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  • http://www.zmwilliams.com Zachary

    I’ve been giving the concept of “the page” and what constitutes same as I’ve considered what some of the web folks in my area do: charge per page. That practice doesn’t make sense to me for a variety of reasons; a page with a long form is a helluva lot more work than a static about page, for example. I’m glad to have StumbledUpon this; glad to know others are thinking on the subject outside of my corner of the world.

    • http://nanoanimation.tv Nano

      We have seen a huge conversion increase since we transitioned to a page less design. Immediately, we had more people filling out our Request a Quote form. A lot of our competitors were stuffing their sites with keywords and text…only thinking about Google.

      We made our site simple to read and listed the benefits of working with our company. Catering to the stressed our marketing director tasked with getting a 3d medical animation made. So its true, if you think about people looking at your site and not algorithms, you will see results.

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  • http://www.get-hotels.com Davide

    Hai nice, post, i have a question.
    Is this website created with pageless style and they service u suggest on the post, create the website with also a admin? Where I can upload news, like WordPress?

  • http://www.bangkoknightlife.com johannes

    I think that it is a great , but in a world where we have to reach our users through search engines we have to take in to fact that SEO siloing and categorize and streamline our content into pages so we get visitors. Then the page model is still the only way.
    A website without visitor is like having a billboard in your garage.

  • ohboy

    “Doors that open, boxes that flip and fold, buttons that chime or animate in creative ways. These are the types of “bubble wrap” interactions that provide satisfying texture and emotional context to the story we’re trying to tell.”

    I disagree, it is distracting the user. Vulgarity at its best. Don’t ask yourself what you can add but what you can remove and start with these things first.

    You’re talking about a form of information not of entertainment.

    • Jason Amunwa

      Thanks for chiming in, oboy! You say something interesting here: “You’re talking about a form of information, not of entertainment” – this may be the case, but which do you think holds users’ attention overall? Engagement is the key thing we’re talking about here, and if it takes a few bells and whistles in order to effectively get the point across, and get the Web performing better for everyone, we’re all for it.

      As for reducing, in many cases this is a reasonable approach, but I think it’d be difficult to make a case that the Web was at its most effective back in the ARPANET days when it was just words on a screen.

  • http://www.beyond-design.co.uk/what-we-do/digital-design/ Molly Stewart

    Thanks Nathan for such a nice and elementary article. Its really impressive but you cannot deny the fact that Agnes mentioned. It would be really awesome if you would have focused little bit more on “what is pageless design and how it is different?”.
    Anyway it’s really a great work…
    Thanks alot..!!!

    • Jessica Moon

      Great idea Molly~ We’ll definitely put it on the ideaboard :D

  • http://markandphil.com Daniel Schutzsmith

    I get what you’re saying but didn’t we just used to call these “landing pages”? Am I missing something?

    • Jessica Moon

      Hi Daniel! It’s great that you bring that up. Actually, to quote from what Chuck wrote in another article on smart sites (http://www.dtelepathy.com/blog/news-events/impress-smart-site)…

      “Think of the last landing page you encountered. Like the car salesman that wanders over when you just want to browse, landing pages relentlessly hound you to turn over your information. When brand is traded completely for conversion, there is no positive or lasting experience to be found.

      Traditional websites have a whole host of equally damning problems. They are the motormouths at the cocktail party, jabbering at anyone in earshot a flurry of self-aggrandizing information without any kind of interest in the person listening (or, as is often the case, half listening).”

      I can’t put it in better words than this!

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  • tobias

    I agree with many points you make, but I have the feeling with most of them it is irrelevant if it’s “pageless” design or not, but it just matter if it’s done well or not.

    And I very much disagree that in general it will be cheaper. The old “withpage” method has been around for long, so has been mastered by tons of people who are not even real developers, thanks to numerous CMS like wordpress etc.
    To achieve the same things without page reloads via javascript, you often need to program it from scratch. I was personally involved in such a “website” project with a budget in the millions of dollars, which was very reasonable.

    • Miabella

      Tobias, I disagree. I’m not a designer. I’m a user. I’ve been in the business world for 25 years, so yeah, before the internet became popular. :-) I’ve spent the last few months looking at websites as I’ve built a couple of business plans to launch some niche sites. I have to say, my reaction to pageless design and story telling is visceral. I love it!

      Web sites have become so detached, disconnected, busy and overwhelming visually. Something that starts with a story that brands, positions and conveys what the vision and passion is behind the site is powerful stuff!

  • http://www.seancoyne.org Sean Coyne

    Great post! I have really been getting into one page designs lately and completely agree with your reasons!

  • http://hudsonvalleygraphics.com/ JaneenViolante

    A a graphic designer..I love your ideas—–a pageless site creates a fluidity that will build brand stories…afterall, we all have a story to tell–why not let our websites seemlessly tell it

  • http://www.designandpromote.com Bruce Jones

    One page websites are going to be a killer for search engine optimization unless you are only hoping to rank that one page (website) for a few very closely related keywords. Having individual pages allows for more SEO opportunities site-wide.

  • http://www.buddyweb.fr Michel

    Hi Nathan, Thanks for this post very good. I’m agree width the fact that a pageless is more elegant and intuitive. But I think that for a good SEO you have to create different pages in to work your SEO in every page. We have to find the right circles between the 2 cases

  • http://www.liammorgan.com Liam Morgan

    Thanks for the article Nathan, very helpful in clarifying some of my own thinking on this topic. Not convinced that pageless “is the future”, certainly part of the future (John makes a couple of useful comments about that). I think it seems to work particularly well for long-form, copy oriented sites and sales pages, which the Impress website essentially is. They have a single product and the whole page/site is geared towards funnelling you through to the purchase stage. I’m excited to see how this area develops over the coming year. Had a sort of go at this on one of my own sites recently http://emailrocks.co.uk and I’m going to do my main site as a single page now as a bit of an experiment.

  • http://www.opensourcegun.com/ Big Lew

    Very solid and valid points.

  • http://www.organisatieteam.nl Ruben

    Dear Nathan, thank you for your insights on this object. I aggree that the pageless design is something for the future and helds it in his hands. The thing at the moment is that its quite uncommon to use this kind of communication. The highest trend at the moment is interaction, and I do no think that interaction is posible with just a single scroll down page. Currently I am a student in the Netherlands at the university of applied sciences Utrecht. At my university they totaly dissagree with your insights. They say that scrolldown keeps people away from reading, becouse it creates harder work. The overview is less and it is harder to find a certain topic. Personally I agree with this argument as well as the event-agency I work for. SEO is the way to work now and for the highest results inside search engines you have to define topics muptiple times, and I don’t think that it is easy to implement inside a one-page website.

  • http://www.academicads.ca Andrew Delville

    Hit the nail on the head with this forecast for the future of the web and web design in general. I think pretty soon most platforms like wordpress will support drag and drop site design to really make it a breeze to setup full functional websites.

  • http://www.kreate.biz Thomas

    Our new webdesign of our own page is a long frontpage but with the usual subpages, and lots of CTAs to those. Kinda hybrid?
    Check it out, we just released it this week at http://www.kreate.biz

  • http://www.bayernlogo.de/homepage/ Conrad

    Great article. I love pageless websites. Scrolling is much more comfortable than changing the sites. Prefer the flow.

  • http://robinbehroozi.com Robin

    Really good article. I agree with you 100%. I just finished creating a one page site for a client using Bootstrap and WordPress, and I’d like to think that an intuitive, simple design is much more interesting, elegant and user friendly than most websites that are complicated for no reason. Maybe it’s time to re-design my personal site? Hmmm…

  • http://bnbconseils.com Taim

    Hello Nathan, Good article. This article will be beautiful on a nice infographic. Anyway, I will follow your advices for my website’s clients. There is a saying: Less is more

  • http://www.basstalk247.com Ed

    Nathan – good article. I totally agree that some small business go multi-page when one really nice page of say 2-2.5 screen heights(yeah,yeah, depending on res.) would be much better. Plumber, carpenter,etc. – one really nice landing page with contact links,phone number and maybe a gallery of past work and a more formal contact page for those wishing to leave an extended message.
    And forums – they’re a whithering nitch (fewer installs every year for last 7-10) but are still useful – front those up with a nice, engaging chunk of pageless design.
    I only use a [virtually]pageless design for one page – the landing page. I think pageless design for sites that hope to get visited repeatedly/daily, unlike that plumber or carpenter’s site face the challenge of WHO will provide that engaging content. There is no content genie.

  • http://www.noerby.dk Henrik Nørby

    Hi Nathan – I’m not sure if you still follow responses on this article, but I think it’s a great read.

    One thing I wonder about is your take on Native apps taking over instead ? – Why even bother with the web-page, except possibly to have a download link, when everything you talk about can be done (perhaps better?) with a few native apps ?

  • D Finch

    Another way to look at it:

    Consider that this “trend” of pageless design is potentially a backward step for the internet. Is it easier for graphic designers, content managers, and web developers to create a single page experience? Yes. Is it better for end users? I don’t think so.

    In one sense, pageless design is actually MORE like old fashioned print communication in that it barfs all of the content into a single container and presumes to know how every visitors will want to process it. When you’re removing buttons and links and options, you’re removing interactivity. “Interactivity” used to be a buzz word. Now it’s almost like people think it’s a chore.

    When I build a website, I feel like I’m building a piece of software for my client. It takes into account a number of possible audiences, categorizes data in various ways, and makes only a few critical assumptions about how people will approach the information. Your new pageless approach does the opposite: it treats a website like a 1-way flow of information broadcast, similar to a radio or television station. Calling this single chunk of obtuse 1-way data a “story” makes it sound more appealing, but “story” could also be seen as a euphemism for “stuff I think you need to see”.

    That’s also what I think of when I see people spending more and more time on tablets and phones versus computers and laptops. Sure, they’re mobile and convenient, but they’re little more than pocket-sized televisions. You can’t type 100+ words per minute on a tablet, or if you can, not for long. No college student earnestly writes a term paper on an iPad. I would not be typing this comment on an iPad, but rather something like “i dont like pageless design”.

    This is the way things are going. Younger developers are removing interactivity from devices and websites. Soon, the internet will be something you connect to, lie back, and watch, and the world of advertising is poised to permeate it just as well as it did the television broadcasts. We’re almost there already. Click a link (“8 things my cat did that will make your jaw drop!”, then #1, then #2, then #3…. then the next “related video”. That’s not what the internet was in the 90s or earlier. :(

    If you like exploration, and interactivity, and diversity of audience, then pageless design is not the way to go. It’s a shortcut for content creators, not an improvement for surfers, nor for the internet as a whole.