Hey there and welcome back to our series, The Best Stuff on the Web, in which we break out our plumber's tools, make sure our belts are nice and tight, and inspect that series of tubes we call the internet to find the greatest stuff (best websites, most innovative designs, coolest features, most mind-blowing [insert awesome thing here], etc.) we've seen this year. While our last entry celebrated the second coming of the zoetrope vis-à-vis the recent web trend of parallax scrolling, this time around we're looking at parallax scrolling's spiritual companion: the supertall, single page website.
To anyone even remotely paying attention as they journey the web, the tropes and bludgeoningly repetitive motifs of the standard website should offer no surprise: homepage, main menu, interior page, blah blah blah. Yawn. After having seen myriad pages use the same layout, design metaphor, and organization, we're fairly confident that though the general public may appreciate the consistent, familiar nature each new website brings, there are very few experiences to be had that are actually interesting.
A lot of this likely stems from the SEO explosion that happened over the last decade. In a (merciful) response to the single-page Flash "experiences" of the 90's, Google worked with the web community to establish an evolved way of thinking of content on the web: create deep, content-rich, keyword-targeted, Flash-less experiences across numerous pages and expand your potential to capture search traffic. And so, as Google's stock price climbed higher and higher into the sky, so too did the average number of pages of the modern website.
Truth be told, we can all probably agree it was nice getting from a Google search to the hours of operation page for our local coffee shop, the menu page of our local sandwich joint, or the history page for that famous pastry place we'd heard about (noticing a trend there? Psh, we know you're a foodie too). But all-too-quickly, "helpful, content-specific page" theory turned into "create as many pages as you can muster" theory, and websites, not to mention our web searches, became cluttered by needlessly complicated structures, half-baked content, and a hell of a lot of white noise. To those keeping score: more in fact is sometimes less.
Enter the supertall, single page site. Imagine a website with every page of content crammed onto a single page. No dropdown menus. No sub-pages. Just a unified, one-and-done experience that breaks the confines of the traditional "page" paradigm. Think that sounds crazy? We think it's bloody brilliant. Why? One word: the-death-of-the-click (okay, that wasn't one word but sue us - we hate clicking just to get a bit of content and you should too). That said, here are some examples of excellent supertall sites from our collective recent memory:
Widely known for their trippy ad campaigns, Skittles is one of the modern kings of breaking the marketing mold. A few years ago, the Skittles website featured not a homepage, but distinct widgets featuring content from Facebook, Wikipedia, YouTube, etc. that would pop up and vie for your attention. Pretty cool if you ask us, so it should come as no surprise that their latest website similarly breaks the mold in the latest (albeit less groundbreaking) trendy fashion.
Featuring bold fonts, a sickeningly sweet rainbow palate, aggressive messaging, and Skittles' famous brand of off-the-wall nonsequiturisms, the Skittles website does the supertall site right, with little to no clicking required, a seemingly bottomless stream of user-generated content through social channels like Twitter and YouTube featured as the site's content (not an afterthought), and even the boring legal stuff tossed in for good measure (via an all-too adorable bowtie hover in the lower-right). Truthfully, we'd be remiss if we said a candy website deserved a deep, complex sitemap to market their product (is there really that much to say about colored sugar orbs?). But it seems like Skittles is a proud believer that the less you have to say, the louder it should be. Skittles: lowbrow never seemed so classy!
Who said party dip had to be boring? Rather than leverage the passe landing page/interior page style used by seemingly every other CPG, G'nosh, the UK-based brand of gourmet dips and spreads, went loud with their page design that would normally, had it been confined to traditional spaces, break the page.
Large imagery, even larger, skewed type, and fake out elements make a bold statement that this brand is anything but blah. Think that menu at the top will take you to a new page? Wrong - it's an anchor list for the page! Think anchor hashtags have to appear post-click? Womp womp. Think that block of text in the middle of the page is just there to fill some white space? Nah, it's a hover-activated recipe filter.
Expectations be damned, G'nosh proudly makes the statement that their site, much like their dips, can't be bound by traditional viewpoints. Nothing embodies the supertall page ideology better, we'd say.
You can likely imagine that, given supertall sites quickly becoming something of a trend, there are countless other examples to be found across the web. Another example worth a mention? Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest (and likely some new fangled social media hub you've never heard of yet) and their use of lazy loading: it's supertall in sheep's clothing!