siteIQ - The Business of the Web

Long pages…They’re baaaaack!

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It’s funny how a design revolution can change rules that were once sancrosanct. Take page lengths, for example.

Once upon a time (say, 2006), Website pages were all about the scrolling Olympics. We’re talking pages 20 screen loads or longer. That was great for content authors who refused to go on a word diet—and apparently didn’t care much if anyone was actually reading their stuff. These bad behaviors were enabled by one of our least favorite Website tools—page anchors (ugh).

Fade out to 2008 when two things happened: (1) better Web metrics proved visitors avoid these pages like the plague and (2) better content management systems allowed Web teams to enforce shorter pages. With these tools in hand, wide-stance short page designs came into vogue.

You can see examples of these designs today on the home and zone landing pages of most best-in-class Websites. Lower level pages are also trending to this shorter format. In this era, authors can yak for two screen loads, but not three.

In this era, authors can yak for two screen loads, but not three.

This is a round about way to get to the following point: long pages are back again.

But unlike last time, this isn’t necessarily a big problem.

Why? Because new white space designs make long pages a pleasure to navigate and read. Content is short & sweet. Fun to read. Double spaced. Set off with interesting and useful graphics.

In fact, we’d posit that, when white space designs are the issue, longer is actually better.

To prove the point, we’ve taken a close look at some of the sites moving this game down the field, including IBM.com’s Smarter Planet, the IBM SWG site and doings at Adobe.com. If you are a Library subscriber you can pick up this new Case Study in the Library.  If you aren’t a member of the family, wander over and we’ll tell you why we think it will be a great resource for your day job.

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I focus on strategy and trends – and how the Web turns business rules on their heads. My job is to identify the Web-related trends and best practices that will change your world over the next 18 months. Where you need to cut through the clutter of conventional wisdom. How to change the competitive rules of the game. More gory details in my profile -- and unvarnished opinions about the sites we evaluate on Google+

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