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One screen divided in two.

The split screen technique has long been known in the film industry, with early examples dating back to the silent movies days of the early 20th century, and it is still a popular device in by film and tv today.

A split-screen layout is in use when full-screen elements are divided into two or more vertical parts. A scene from the film “Scott Pilgrim vs the World”

However, this is a relatively new technique for the web design industry. Split screens only became popular around mid-2016 and now we have more and more websites which use this design pattern. There are a few reasons why this design pattern became so popular:

  • It has a nice aesthetic quality. When executed correctly it can offer users a wonderful viewing experience.
  • It’s a good choice for responsive frameworks. Split-screen design can be adapted for a variety of screens, even small ones. When it comes to smaller screens, such as mobile displays, the panels can be stacked.
  • It helps guide navigation. Using simple design techniques, you can draw the user’s attention to a specific part of the screen or encourage them to click.


Split-screen is especially good when you have two things to promote. For example, when a site offers two entirely opposite variations. This approach allows designers to give prominence to both things and allow the user to quickly select between them.

One screen, two messages in Dropbox Guides


Split-screen designs don’t expand well as the content grows, therefore it is not recommended to apply them to content-heavy layouts. It’s important to keep the screens simple because complex split screens make the UI look overloaded with information. Therefore, they won’t do much good if you have a lot of content to display. That’s why split-screen layout would be a perfect fit for minimalist website designs. After all, the whole technique’s purpose is to create a simple look that is easy to perceive. When you overload the design with unnecessary information, you completely erase the benefits of split-screen layouts all together.


If you’re considering a split-screen technique for your website, I advise you to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is it suitable for your content?
  • Will there be enough negative space to make the layout work?
  • Will your users appreciate the layout or it will confuse them?
  • Will it be OK to split your users’ attention in half?

The most important thing to keep in mind that content is king and split-screen should be a simple way to deliver your message to people.

Therefore, the main advantages of split-screen layouts are to provide clarity and simplicity, by restricting the split-screen component comprehensive. This is easy to achieve when you know your goals and have a clear message to showcase. Thus, by following your special program, you can navigate users through the website without the danger to confuse or lose them.

Landing pages are a good example of split screen advantages. Split-screens are most commonly used for creating effective and stylish landing pages, which are incredibly useful for marketing purposes. This technique is great when it comes to controlling the visitor’s focus, and targeting it to specific components. This is also very helpful for improving the overall user experience. For instance, you can place some themed products on one side, while the other will depict their main features, or provide comparisons, etc.


Before moving on to the design, there are a few key points for proper technique implementation, such as:

  • Always scaling viewable content to different sizes and densities, in order to have a compatible design with mobile devices.
  • Adopting primary control to a new mode; for example, in a split design, make a menu instead of navigation bars.
  • Keeping UI adopted to a new layout. For instance, if there is a video displaying on one of two sections in a landscape mode, it should remain only in its half, even if the user rotates the device to a portrait mode.