As screen resolution expands, website footprint gets smaller and pages get longer. But there’s one good thing with longer pages, visitors click fewer links to open new pages. This would remove obstruction, add cohesiveness to the information presented and simplify the navigation. Long pages make it easier to weave a large amount information, which promotes a more natural flow for users. This also encourages them to explore deeper into the webpage and gets a stronger momentum in their learning experience.
However, many web designers have the constant fear that visitors would ignore any content placed below the fold. This has encouraged them to use shorter pages in order to urge visitors to read most of the information. Unfortunately, the proliferation of mobile devices with different screen resolution has made it nearly impossible to accurately determine where the fold lies.
There are obviously problems with long webpages, but web designers can make them more manageable to users by putting small visual cues at places where sections end. They can give an indication to users that more content awaits them. Sections are much like cubicles in an office room, where each has slightly different functions with the others. It is less likely for readers to reach the end of the page, when no clear separations are applied to long webpages.
Static texts and images have been used since early years of the World Wide Web, they are fine, but people always crave for heightened stimulation. Fortunately, continuous developments in web technology have been able to feed us with much richer and more interactive experience. Web designers should provide points on a long page where visitors can interact more with the design, instead of letting them consume information passively. This should provide relieve visitors from the burden of continuously wading through a long block of text. Points of interaction like modal windows, lightboxes, tooltips and content sliders give visitors something different to do, while propelling them further into the information. Obviously, web designers shouldn’t swing to the other side of the extreme by adding too much interactivity, which can distract users. All interactions should serve only to aid users in grasping the information.
When there’s plenty of content on a webpage, designers should highlight important point of interest to allow users come back later. Whether they are going for something more complex or clean minimalism, designers need to pay attention to every part of the webpage. Visitors can subconsciously pick up slight inconsistencies, which can diminish their experience or even confuse them.
Typographic elements on a long page should always be consistent with their functions. As an example, headings in one section of the page must look identical as those used elsewhere on the page.
Consistent alignment and spacing between page elements can make the entire layout feels thoroughly refined. Web designers should thoughtfully question all elements present in the layout to achieve a polished webpage design. Most of the time, the burden is on them to prove that each elements has a purpose to be there and isn’t superfluous to the overall experience. They should fall into the common thought that no one will notice. Once website is visited by more than one hundred unique users, chances are high that someone will notice.
Perfection in web design is achieved when there’s nothing more to take away, not when there’s nothing left to add.
If we look closely, polished designs that involve long pages can be discovered across the World Wide Web. A few visits to websites built by accomplished web designers will help us to understand how polished touches should added to the layout. Even with long webpages, designers can create an experience with tangibility and weight that stay with the users.