Back in the early 90s when companies were beginning to jump on the web and create websites for themselves, many times people scoffed at the idea of having just a brochure site. These were the sites that were one page of information and nothing else. People believed you needed to have multiple pages on the site to easily breakdown all of the information that you want to present. However, over the past year one page designs have been making a comeback and for a good reason.
With so much competition on the web it can be difficult to even get people to come to your site and when they do often times they might not get the message you are trying to tell them because it is locked behind 3 pages of links. You are usually only given one chance to make an impression and sale so why bother with creating an elaborate site just to sell one product? Of course the idea of cramming a ton of information on one page will drive any designer crazy, but isn’t that what upper-management try to do already?
The sites that 37signals have created for their online applications are not one page, but the homepages for each essentially server as one page designs. They give you the information that is needed and make sure to get their message across without you having to dig for it. Because of just one page you have the information needed to make decision whether to dig deeper or leave. Usually you have to figure out where the link is to the page that will answer the question that you have that will help you make that decision.
Another great example of the one page design paradigm can be seen on any Apple product page. For example, the Macbook page does a great job of showcasing the product and filling you in with tidbits of information. You leave the page feeling like you have a better idea of what the product is and what its capabilities are.
The key to this type of design is being able to throw out most of the information that you would usually try to include on a site and simply get right to the point. This is not easy when management feels they need to include the 100 page company manual on the site, but people value their time and they could be spending it better on another site if you wish to overwhelm them.
If your company currently has a site have a look at it and see if a one page design for certain products and services would be more fitting than a muli-page design. Keep in mind that users prefer to scroll rather than click on links and wait for pages to load. Also know that one page designs aren’t meant for everything, but if you can pull it off you will notice the rewards immediately.