The fact about web design is that designers tend to follow trends. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing – in fact, if you want your website to be contemporary and modern, doing so is a necessity. If you ‘re going to keep up with the massive competition out there, it’s probably unavoidable.
The problem, however, appears when web designers focus too much on trends and don’t pay enough attention to some of the essential aspects of a website, primarily related to usability. There are also those trends that just come and go, or have already done that a long time ago, and there is no good reason for you to use them. In this article, we are going to discuss some of the trends that you should avoid in the upcoming year.
A lot of websites tend to incorporate floating elements. It includes floating menu bars that remain there even when you scroll down to the footer, floating sidebar ads, and floating social media icons. It’s a common thing for both desktop and mobile website.
Their problem is that they create a significant design flaw, as the floating elements tend to cover up the essential things. It’s mainly an issue with people who use devices with small screens, as it makes it very hard or almost impossible for them to see the entire content.
Infinite scroll with content in the footer
Infinite scrolling is a great web design aspect that tends to work smoothly, and people love it. This is especially the case with a website such as Pinterest. However, the problem appears when you combine the infinite scroll with a footer that has content and gets pushed continuously to the bottom.
This is when it becomes a real usability issue, as users will find themselves in the situation of chasing the footer as the page keeps extending. Facebook had a problem with this when the infinite scroll was implemented, but they have dealt with it quite well.
Poorly implemented hover-triggered effects
Hover-triggered effects can be a fantastic thing if they are used properly. They are a perfect way to entice the user to click them and take a journey through your website. The issue is that a lot of people have incorporated these effects badly, for random decorative animations, poorly-designed drop-down menus, images, and the like, which made them annoying rather than useful.
Imagine this particular situation: you are moving your mouse from one element to another. On your way, you hover over a new element just for a second, and it expands so that you no longer see the element that you wanted to get to. This is not the kind of journey your users are looking for.
Overdone social media
Overloading each and every page with a whole bunch of social media sharing buttons is a no-go. Most often, your specific audience makes use of but a few social networks, possibly up to four.
There might be those that like to use one or two additional ones, but there simply isn’t that many of them, and the fact is that people generally don’t mind copying and pasting links when they have to. It’s more than just a matter of overcrowding your pages – social media buttons commonly use tracking codes, counters, and other things that are bound to slow down your website.
Splash pages and popups
The truth about splash pages and popups is that they are an outdated nuisance. This particularly goes for those that don’t offer any actual value but are there only to show a third-party ad and those that ask users to become Twitter followers or like something on Facebook.
Splash pages are history, and shouldn’t be used at all. Popups are widely hated but tend to be a necessary evil when you want to offer something of value, such as a coupon or info about a newsletter. Use popups only when you have something valuable to promote.
Parallax websites used to be a thing because they were rare. Now they can be found everywhere, and the allure of their rarity is gone. Remember that a website that scrolls aren’t a parallax website.
A parallax website displays depth with layers, unlike a single page website that doesn’t create the illusion of depth. The thing about them is that they are fine to use if you are introducing a product or a service. In other words, they work when you need a fancy presentation and not a lot of text.
The issue is that a lot of people try to replace regular websites with an abundance of content with parallax websites. This results in the content no longer being served on various pages, but all on a single page.
Furthermore, improperly used parallax websites end up being those where you have to scroll down for a while before you reach the bottom of the page. The problem is both with the browsing history and the fact that such websites load the files too long. They tend to be a big issue for users with slow internet connections.
Items that autoplay
If you ask any web design agency, they will tell you that using items that automatically play once you load the website is a no-go. This especially goes for items that include sounds. It’s particularly an issue for your users that have a capped data plan. It’s just most commonly a bad web design asset that should be avoided. The only exception is animated and video backgrounds when they are properly done.
Overbearing hero carousels
As we have previously mentioned, full-page splash screens are a nuisance. Now imagine them being animated. The fact about carousels of any size is simple – they aren’t good for the user experience and can affect your SEO efforts.
Now, if you decide that your carousel is going to take up the entire screen, it is also going to affect performance. Carousels require more bandwidth in order to load, tend to run slow on mobile devices or older machines, and they tend to be confusing rather than actually useful. Remember, you cannot substitute organized content with a slideshow.
Hamburger menus are a trend that has been around for quite a while now. The idea behind them is to simplify your website and decrease the amount of clutter. While this is a good thing for a mobile device, it becomes an issue when translated to a desktop website.
Navigation options are no longer as obvious, and the fact that the user has to use them in order to navigate your website decreases discoverability. This is particularly bad for eCommerce websites, as this is what their main focus is.
Therefore, it’s the best idea to avoid them. Or, if you really want to use them, you can come up with the kind of navigation that prominently shows the essential navigation items, while the rest can be hidden under a hamburger menu. Another idea is to keep the use of hamburger menus only for smartphone websites.
Long forms and overly complex design
Corporate websites tend to make the mistake of implementing overly long and complicated forms with the desire to get as much information as they can from their users. This is a bad practice. The forms that you create need to be as short and smart as possible. The worst case scenario is when a user is filling out a form and something goes wrong, so they have to do it all over again.
Even worse than creating forms that are too complex is coming up with a website that is simply overdone. While it is very important to pay attention to detail, if you overcrowd your site with details, you will only make one big mess. Your main job is to guide to user down a path so that they get to what you are selling.
If you create a layout that is overly complicated by being all over the place, using an abundance of colours or just too many different kinds of fonts, you will be distracting your users instead of making them focus on what is important.
There is a wide variety of great and creative fonts out there, so it’s a bad idea to stick to the same old typography. Default available fonts are a no-go – what you need are custom and brand-specific fonts.
The fact about your website is that it depends on visuals, so if a font doesn’t create the right impression, your content will suffer. The function of brand-specific fonts is exactly what their name says – branding. If you use regular fonts, you simply won’t get as many shares, and your website will look unprofessional and boring.
While following trends is important in order to keep up with what people want to see, there is a lot of trends out there that are simply outdated, are just fads, or have a bad effect on the overall user experience. This basically means that, in the upcoming year, you need to avoid them. You should focus on what really works and creates the perfect experience for your users.