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Pound Takes » Blog Archive » Effective one page websites
Ideas on Engineering Breakthrough Applications

Effective one page websites

Something I’ve always noticed and appreciated is an effective one-page product website. I’ve run across oodles of deep sites that couldn’t convince me to buy anything, yet I’ve often bumped into a simple, clear page that’s caused me to part with my cash within minutes.

This got me debating on why and when to use a one-pager and interested in finding a set of guidelines when creating one.

First off, I’ll concede that one-pagers are hard. Hard to pull off and even harder to convince a client or business manager to have the guts to commit to. Designing one- pagers is scary, because everything has to be perfect. Each item steals attention from the others, so every element and every word has to be scrutinized to ensure it supports the positioning and communicates the essence of the product.

Notice that I said the essence of the product, not the long list of values that you as the marketer or entrepreneur know inside and out, but the one core idea that will cut through the clutter. Don’t just have one idea or concept powerful enough to do that? Then your product might not be a candidate for the one-page marketing website. And, I would encourage you to focus your marketing and positioning as soon as possible.

Reviewing examples of what I consider to be clear and effective examples of one-pagers - meaning I feel more pages would diminish value rather than add it - I spotted a few patterns that seemed worth exploring.

Here are some guidelines to help inspire a one-pager for your product:

Positioning Tightly
Take a look at these one-pagers. The products have clear and focused positions:

Hot Lips Soda Silverback

None of those products are overly simple; they’ve just chosen to highlight the positioning and found creative ways to demonstrate their nuances in creative, non-obtrusive ways. I know if this product is worth my time immediately by reading the lead content:

We worship the Pacific Northwest and the incredible fruit that grows here. We offer it to you in a bottle.

Not interested in new sodas, no problem, You’ll know right away to leave. However, if I am a soda enthusiast, you had me at “worship.”

Another example:

Spontaneous, unobtrusive usability testing software for designers and developers.

Am I a designer or developer? If so, I am going to pay attention if I value usability testing (most do!).

There is another force in play in those examples that allow them to be so tight. They aren’t trying to convince or sell, they are simply well-crafted stances. No mention of “best” or “leading” in those value propositions.

Invest in Content
Above, I mentioned that those examples demonstrate their nuances in creative, non-obtrusive ways. Here’s a perfect example: the Classics app actually demonstrates the coolest features in a subtle iPhone rendering. It’s obvious by watching the demo that they’ve gone to great lengths to appease the most obvious objections the buyer might have, such as “how will I turn the page?” I would wager more than half the time spent on the entire one-pager was invested in the product demo.

The examples I’ve referenced in this post have few but striking visual elements and compelling copy. It’s remarkable that you can understand some of these unusual products by just seeing a single page. These one-pagers invested more in their content than their multi-page brethren and had the discipline to cut everything that didn’t add value.

Unveil the Product by Drilling Down
he communication in the examples I found to be effective can be summarized as a pyramid, with the leading positioning at the top, and the wider and deeper details being spoon-fed to the user as they move down the page. Some of the sites do this with size - where the bigger and brighter objects are the most important, followed by details in smaller text - and others use a top-to-bottom approach like the diagram below.

Two of the more concrete examples of this layered communication process are Silverback and Hotlips soda, where the layers are stacked on the page in a way that forces you to review one at a time before moving down the page.

You’re much more likely to be able to process considerable amounts of information if you are gradually exposed to it. But, unlike a multi-page website with standard navigation, the layered approach helps define how users take in the content and might increase the likelihood they see all of your argument.

A Simple Call to Action
None of the examples have watered-down offers. They were almost all or nothing, with the added ability to dip your toe in by downloading or trialing the product. With no mention to “call us if you don’t find what you need,” these sites offer a clear and decisive next step.

By reducing options, these sites remain effective and avoid the paralysis by analysis effect.
One-pagers seem like a great way to sell a new idea or capture a niche market. They may not be as appropriate for products with several markets. But, it would be interesting to simply test one-pagers for each of those markets.

Also, one-pagers aren’t just for inexpensive products and impulse buys. Consider the $163,000 home being sold with this one-pager: 8862 W. Dulcimer St.

Hopefully, this post will help you consider the one-pager and qualify if it’s right for your next project. More clever examples can be found on One Page Love, which, ironically, is not a one page site.

Notes
For reference, these were the sites that were considered effective for the review:
http://thecosmicmachine.com/
http://www.classicsapp.com/
http://theautumnfilm.com/red-white-sale/us.html
http://hotlipssoda.com/
http://silverbackapp.com/
http://www.picnik.com/

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    Wow! Thank you!
    I always wanted to write in my blog something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog?
    Of course, I will add backlink?

    Regards, Timur Alhimenkov

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