Web Design Review: Single page web design – what’s to like, what’s not

If you’re a business that uses the web to attract business or convey key information, your website is a vital asset: I’d argue – your most important online asset. Yet we often put a LOT of time into a website when we’re building it – then forget to review it regularly to:

(a) ensures it’s up to date
(b) that everything still works and
(c) that it’s keeping up with current web trends.

(And as good zero budget marketers know, it’s about optimising what you’re already doing, rather than continually starting from scratch.)

In terms of current web trends, one trend is “single page” style sites – I’m seeing more of these lately, particularly in the bar and restaurant space. They feel a bit “old school” and “new school” all at the same time.

The style has some benefits – primarily that all the information is in front of you with virtually no clicking required. So I think it can work well EXCEPT when web designers forget that a BIG chunk of people access the web from mobile devices – largely, Smartphones (particularly to look for bars and restaurants). So if you’re ever going to invest in a mobile version of your site, now is the time. But I digress…back to the single page site.

I thought it would be helpful to look at a specific example: the site for Hanoi Hannah, a newish restaurant in Windsor. It’s a spot that we were planning on trying for dinner, so I looked it up to get their details and make a booking.

First impressions: I love the design – it immediately “brands” it as funky and let’s you know the style of dining you can expect. It has a real “fresh” feel. You can also find what you want fairly easily –  when what you want is location, phone number and opening hours.

Challenges: You actually want to read all the cool stuff on the right – but when you zoom in it becomes pixelated so you can’t read it…I suspect a bad case of “print design incorrectly applied to the web”.

It also suffers from not incorporating a newsfeed – which matters when you’re trying to call and book for dinner on the 7th January but after several “sorry, no-one is here to take your call” phone answering machine responses I checked the facebook page and find they’re closed till 14th Jan. Unhelpful! A newsfeed from their facebook page would have been an easy way to ensure the message they put on that page showed up on their website.

Finally, they haven’t made a mobile version, so it becomes very hard to navigate on my iphone. I’ve included a screenshot below.

Finally – when I was looking for the site on my iphone (and subsequently on my computer), I noticed their web design company hasn’t done the best job with the meta tags and page descriptions as the automatically generated google snippet that displays in search results is just generating image names.

Wrap up: This site is a great start – and all the “challenges” can be addressed. So if you’re pondering a web update to a streamlined “single page” site, learn from what works and doesn’t work in this example.

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