There are many technological devices and applications these days that have the word “smart” attached to them; smart-phones, smart-TV’s, smart-watches, smart-cars…OK, that last one may not be the best example, but given the massive popularity and ubiquity of this particular trend, don’t you think it’s time for the world wide web to follow suit? I just recently learned of the emergence of the “Smart Site”, which means that websites will slowly and ever-so-surely be joining this smart revolution, one site at a time. Let’s take a look at what a Smart Site is, and why it can be such a beautiful thing.
So what is a Smart Site anyway?
A Smart Site is very much like a standard website, but instead of being made up of dozens or even hundreds of separate, hard-to-find pages, it takes the form of one continuous page (which is why this new practice is also referred to as “Pageless Design”). This takes full advantage of one of the most intuitive and widely used actions on the web, scrolling, and creates a seamless, story-driven, goal-based, intuitive and satisfying user experience.
Why Smart Sites are the future of the web
1. Uses storytelling as the primary vehicle of communication – The primary goal of the vast majority, if not all websites is to inspire, motivate and elicit people into action. There is simply no better way to accomplish this than through a good story. Stories captivate and provide immersive, interactive and emotional experiences. They are easy to follow and have a distinct flow, something I believe every website should offer its users. Imagine having to make your way through a giant book where the pages are out of order and there is no rhyme or reason to its structure whatsoever…this is a common and frustrating experience that I’m sure we have all had when trying to navigate certain websites. This has to change.
2. Inevitably leads to higher conversion rates – Of all of the potential goals a website may have, the one that matters most is conversion, turning visitors into clicks, likes, downloads and purchases. These are the things that a single page website design does best. Its simplicity and straightforward design combined with the storytelling aspect serves to skyrocket site visitors down a streamlined path straight towards the end goal. There’s really no way to miss it when you’re following this method. How many sites have you been to and spent a significant amount of time navigating through only to throw up your hands in surrender without ever actually discovering what the site was all about in the first place? Smart sites are looking to make that experience a thing of the past. In my opinion, this change couldn’t come soon enough!
3. Easier to update – Not only does a pageless design convert from a static mockup to a functioning website better by default, it also makes changes based on analytics and user feedback much more manageable. No more doing mounds of time-consuming updates across several pages hoping you didn’t miss one along the way. All you have to do now is tweak your already clean and concise one-page layout, freeing up loads of time to make that one page all that it can be and more!
4. Clean and uniform look across all platforms – This design tactic creates a uniformity across all digital platforms. This was previously very difficult, time-consuming and costly. Smart Sites take design and interaction cues directly from mobile apps. The reason being that these apps are way ahead of current web design standards when it comes to the memorable and enjoyable experiences they are able to create. Using a design concept called Responsive + will also ensure that your design not only looks great on any device, but also feels and interacts right as well. Stay tuned for more on this topic at a later date.
5. Significantly more affordable – While traditional custom websites can easily run into the tens of thousands of dollars to design and build (not to mention the inevitable maintenance costs), a beautiful one-page website can easily be delivered in as little as two weeks and at a price point of $5000 or less. Web design agencies are even starting to develop their own Smart Site services that would have similar features that a lot of the current CMS’s offer. One such service called Impress developed by Digital Telepathy is already up and running.
Well there you have it. Smart Sites seem to be the direction that web design is headed, and if that is the case I see no reason not to hop aboard and enjoy the ride! Definitely looking forward to incorporating this philosophy into our workflow here at PlanetCom.
For your inspiration, entertainment, and enlightenment check out these great examples of single page Smart Site designs: