5 Critical Elements that Can Make or Break Your Design
At first glance, designing a one-page website would seem to be intuitively easy. Especially, when compared to building a multi-pager. Designing one page takes one-third the effort of designing three pages – right?
In reality, designing a single-pager is generally much more difficult. The challenge you face is having to get all the necessary information on a single page. At the same time, you need to make sure the page is both visually appealing and user-friendly.
This guide for designing one-page websites is centered around 5 critical elements. Depending on how well you take them into account they can make or break your design.
As we outline each of these critical elements, we’ll provide examples. They will illustrate their importance – 15 examples in all.
#1 The GOAL: Identify & Understand the Goal of Your Website & Work Toward It
You might not understand perfectly what you expect your website to accomplish. Then, there’s little sense in proceeding with its design. It needs to have a single goal. Your design needs to take the user on a journey that reaches that goal and responds accordingly.
Is the goal to promote or sell something?
Is it to invite a visitor to view your portfolio?
Do you intend to announce an event or a series of events?
Once you’ve identified the goal, you’re almost halfway there. You still need to take into account what you need to do. You need to avoid chasing visitors away from the page before they hit the CTA button.
Some users are sensitive to page load speed (more than a few are oversensitive!). So, you might choose to avoid special effects (like parallax) that tend to reduce page load speeds.
This website’s interactive effects are above the fold and they don’t hinder its load speed.
Dynamic images can impact load speeds. This BeTheme pre-built one-pager features a static image that gives the appearance of being dynamic.
The tiny animated items that liven up this page’s illustration don’t slow anything down.
Sometimes, it’s a page’s fresh look that makes the sale.
Here’s an example of where large images and sliding panels will engage users.
You don’t need a detailed technical dissertation to promote an app when a cool visual presentation will do the trick.
#2 TEXT: Keep It to the Minimum & Make It Easy to Read
A one-pager featuring clunky blocks of text or reads like a book is going to engage visitors for a second. Sometimes, even less before they head elsewhere. Keep text brief and in nicely-spaced sections. Strip the information down to its bare essence.
Rely on bold headlines, brief paragraphs, and bullet lists to make your point.
Here are several examples worth bookmarking for future reference:
This example illustrates how super-entertaining a one-page website can be.
A great example of careful organization.
The essential information is above the fold, where the use of bullet lists helps to keep the message as straightforward and concise as possible.
This pre-built website illustrates how large attractive images help do the selling when accompanied by judiciously-placed paragraphs of text.
When a vehicle has the stature of a Mercedes, high quality images accompanied by a minimal amount of text is often sufficient.
#3 VISUALS: Identify the Right Patterns & Use Negative Space Wisely
Knowing how most people will scan a page is helpful. People tend to read text in an F pattern and scan an image in a Z pattern. Keep this in mind when you mix elements. You want the natural flow of the information to be directed toward your goal. Wise use of white space can be helpful.
In this example the use of white space is calming and provides a sense of order.
Here a wildly creative design has been splashed on a canvas of white space.
The white space in this pre-built one-pager makes the different sections appear to pop out at you and demand your attention.
Effectively using several different design principles to the max is a challenge, but it can be done.
Not a particularly exciting subject for a one pager is it? This ingenious use of slides, white space, and animations actually succeeds in making a nasal drops one-pager exciting.
#4 NAVIGATION: Make It Easy to Navigate & Entertaining to Scroll
When you have a long-form one-page website you have to pay close attention to how you manage navigation. Depending on your approach, you can keep visitors locked in or chase them off the page.
Alternative navigation is the key here. Horizontal sticky menu or a sidebar menu are examples. Your goal should be to enable users to jump to where they want to go with a single click, as opposed to scrolling. Auto-scroll links enable visitors to watch the page do the scrolling. This is yet another approach.
This designer’s website features 3 different auto-scrolling links.
Be Game’s navigation experience is somewhat out of the ordinary, and even slightly entertaining.
The color scheme, the layout structure, and how you can scan the page with 3 mouse scrolls stand out in this example.
These folks really want to help you navigate their site quickly by provided a menu on the top and one on the left.
#5 CALL TO ACTION: Identify the Correct CTA & Don’t Hesitate to Use It
What’s nice about a one-pager is its aim is to get people to take a single action. This normally would involve using a single CTA button. You also might be selling several products or services, however. Then, you may want to place a CTA button at the end of every major section.
In the Be Hairdresser pre-built website, one CTA button is above the fold and one is located in the menu.
Two CTA buttons placed above the fold give users a choice as to what they want to see.
The Pyrismic site uses a simple opt-in form with a bold CTA button.
This site doesn’t fool around with its use of CTA buttons. They’re used judiciously however; and with a proper choice of colors and text sizes.
Wrapping It Up
Now you know the 5 critical one-page website elements. It’s simply a matter of practicing with them until their use becomes habitual.
They may seem simple at first. Once you start mixing them in a one-pager and attempt to do so with consistency you’ll find it can be quite a challenge.
The good news is there’s a shortcut. Try using pre-built websites that have already incorporated these critical elements.
A good pre-built website resource is Be Theme It has an impressive library of more than 60 one-pagers, and 400+ pre-built websites of all kinds. Simply choose a pre-built website and customize it to fit your needs.