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I've designed and developed a beta site with a one-page layout, which is having difficulty getting its final approval from the client's president and vice president. They are not technical people and don't understand the UX articles I have sent them, even when I've sent summaries in layman's terms. They are not convinced that one-page layouts are effective.

Their feedback:

  1. They don't know about the one-page layout.
  2. They find the background pictures distracting. (The site currently uses a lot of white text over darker background pictures and has about 7 fixed-position backgrounds which change as users scroll.)
  3. They haven't really seen other one-page sites before.

Our beta site has used a one-page, responsive, premium WordPress theme for several months. I don't think the client would buy another theme. I've worked on several sites for them full-time for 6 months for free (for my portfolio), so I need to launch this site soon and land a paying project.

We've had two rounds of user testing. I plan to start a third later this week. We also got a free UserTesting test last week for their holiday promotion. When I asked users what they think of the look and feel of the site, they have consistently said that the one-page layout is one of their favorite things about it.

How would you handle this?

Edit: The articles I sent:

  1. Demystifying UX Design: Common False Beliefs and Their Remedies: Part 1

  2. Scrolling, clicking, and the fold

  3. What should be the maximum length of a page on Mobile Website?

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What was the client's response to the user testing results? From what you say, it clearly says the users like the single page layout –  rk. Jul 8 '13 at 14:15
    
Could you post the articles that promote "one-page" layout. THX –  Igor-G Jul 8 '13 at 14:20
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@Igor-G I added the articles I sent to the question. –  David Jul 8 '13 at 15:09
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To be honest, there is only so many times you can state your case and still get it rejected before it stops being worth your while to keep trying. They are the client, and if they are just determined to not want a single-page site then it might be worth just compromising and try something else. They're paying you, if you are too stubborn you'll annoy them, they won't pay or they'll badmouth you to future clients. ("they didn't do what we asked them to, bad supplier..."). Sometimes what they say is what you have to do. Sad, but often true. –  JonW Jul 8 '13 at 15:12
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That won't stop them badmouthing, unfortunately. "They didn't do what we asked, but still, it didn't cost us anything except the six months we lost." But if you do do what they want, don't give them your current version but do keep it in reserve to implement for a fee when they realise it was better. –  Andrew Leach Jul 8 '13 at 17:48

2 Answers 2

up vote 5 down vote accepted

3.) They haven't really seen other one-page sites before.

It sounds like they aren't against the idea, but are more uncertain of it. I would suggest showing them great, one-page web sites that are in a similar industry, preferably of recognizable companies. It's especially important to demonstrate the website for them, and not to show pictures, as the interactivity of a one-page site is more in-depth.

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Thanks! Most sites in their industry have a circa-1990s look and feel or are just blogs with a lot of news articles (their site is not a blog). The other sites were not made by professional designers or professional developers. It's a rather large industry where I only have one company competing with me. I haven't seen any one-page layouts yet, but in a related industry I've seen one with a rather long homepage. I could send them that, but I'll keep looking for a better example to send. –  David Jul 8 '13 at 22:52
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If you have 2-4 navigation items, if so you may look webdesign ledger or webdesign inspiration site, as they have host of single page designs to show how they function in real world. –  inkmarble Jul 9 '13 at 9:59
    
Thanks. I sent a few of those to the client last night. We have 6 navigation items: 4 for the main content, 1 for the store (also on the main page), and 1 for a separate page. –  David Jul 9 '13 at 12:36
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@David: It's not surprising that you aren't seeing one-page sites. The technology (browser support, engineering experience, library support) for doing so is somewhat new, and adoption takes a while. Further, more well-established sites tend to be hesitant (rightly so!) to do large-scale redesigns (and gradual redesigns take a long time to ramp up, for those taking a more measured approach). –  Brian Jul 29 '13 at 16:49

I think the problem is you speak with your client in different languages. You are speaking as designer and your clients are speaking as businessmen. Hence the common points in your dialog shift to rather subjective topics.

You try to give them authoritative (for you) sources, while they are non-technical people and hence do not comprehend them, I think they even didn't fully read those sources.

So I see only one solution. Speak with your clients in their language. Numbers, percents, increasing sales, ROI, money, customer satisfaction, etc. will be convincing for them.

Converting your design solutions to those indices is not so trivial task and if you do it, I think you will be very thankful to those stubborn clients.

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Thanks, I think I was better at communicating with them in their language earlier in the project. I'll need to look at those articles again and see what they say about sales and ROI. I hope I'm able to make the case for this without sounding like I'm arguing or getting badmouthed by the client as several others said in their comments on the OP. –  David Jul 8 '13 at 21:39
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Just find some pages that went viral, or got media coverage that use the same techniques. Show them that it's more than possible. Show them it had impact. Add the numbers game @Alexey Kolchenko talks about, and you'll be fine. –  Dirk v B Jul 29 '13 at 4:13

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