5 things
Web Development

5 Things To Consider Before Choosing A Single-Page Application for Your Site

23. 01. 2018

A single-page application (SPA) is a web application that loads a single page. SPAs work inside a web browser and do not require page reloading during use. Visitors can engage with the page dynamically on their desktop, mobile, or tablet devices—and view various content, fill up forms and click on CTAs—without leaving the page. Many people access these apps on their smartphones, which includes Gmail, Google Maps, and Facebook.


The single-page application is replacing the multi-page application for its many benefits, which includes the following:

  • Faster page loading times
  • Improved user experience
  • Simplified mobile development: you can reuse the same backend for web application and native mobile application


1. How to present content

Since the content is dynamically populated on a single page in a SPA, it’s important to include all the relevant content while ensuring user experience. The challenge is to keep it short and simple yet informative, especially since content is generated on a single page. Visitors should be able to easily navigate the app and find what they’re looking for.

On the other hand, if you experience difficulty creating a visual map for users, consider using a traditional multi-page application instead: its navigation menu is good for showcasing lots of content.

2. The use of JavaScript


Single-page application requires JavaScript to be present and enabled. If a user disables JavaScript, they wouldn’t be able to properly load and navigate the app. Developers can get around this issue by rendering the page on the server. However, it would be a lot of work to have this done in HTML and CSS.

As well, memory leaks in JavaScript can slow down the system. Developers also need to be familiar with new JavaScript frameworks such as Backbone, Angular, and Ember, which simplifies the creation of scalable single-page applications.

3. Security


SPAs are less secure compared to traditional applications due to Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks. Attackers can inject client-side scripts, which often occurs through form fields on the page. It’s important to protect your site against XSS. Some popular frameworks, such as AngularJs, include XSS protections. Here’s a cheat sheet to help prevent XSS attacks.

4. A heavy framework


Keep in mind that SPAs require a heavy framework that’s required to be loaded into the browser, and are slow to download. As well, since the browser does the heavy lifting, performance can be a problem—especially on less capable mobile devices.

5. SEO


It’s important to have search engine optimization (SEO) in mind, so your content can be discovered by search engines. Although single-page apps use JavaScript to display and render content, this is not necessarily bad for SEO. These apps can be crawled and indexed by search engines, so be sure to spend time carefully optimizing content.

And don’t forget your goals


Although it’s trendy to have a single-page app for your site, it’s important to understand your objectives before coming up with a web design. While it may be nice to have a variety of fancy features on your site, your site should be simple with user experience and objectives in mind. On the other hand, if you need to create multiple categories on your site, consider a multi-page or a site hybrid instead. For inspiration, here are some award-winning SPA sites.

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