Web design is like many other forms of art and expression – there are fads, movements, and all-out infatuations. Realism, bell-bottoms, stonewashed jeans and more are all examples of fads we once loved. Some (like realism), continue to prevail, while others (stonewashed jeans), are better off buried in the back of your closet.
Web design, although not as old as fashion or art, also has its fair share of trends that once reigned supreme, but now fall flat on their face. Here are six web design trends that you must avoid when creating your online presence in the 21st century.
The Homepage Sliding Banner
One of the issues early websites had was trying to jam a whole bunch of words onto one page. This resulted in ugly, hard to look at sites that no one cared to visit or revisit. In comes the homepage sliding banner, which not only introduced visitors to sliding images, but also allowed you to convey a lot of content without too many words. The homepage slider had a wow factor to it and once made your site stand apart from other sites that greeted you with ugly text. But those days are over. It’s as common nowadays to see a sliding banner on your homepage as it is to see a navigation menu. In other words, it’s overplayed. As a result, your site will either look like a cookie-cutter build, or, worse yet, it’ll look dated. Image credit: alt themes
What’s the purpose of a website? It’s to introduce your visitors to your business, your message, and your brand. What better way to do that than to paste an enormous picture of some overly airbrushed stranger holding a laptop or writing on some invisible glass screen? Now, to be fair, there are varying degrees of stock photos. Some photos are so obviously “stock” that they do more harm than good. But there are some free resources online, like imcreator.com/free, that offer an alternative to the stuffy stock photos. Imagine stock photos – with imagination. By infusing some creativity and originality into your images, you can stand out from the thousands of other sites that grab the first painfully perfect image they find online.
Chalk this one up to certain content management systems out there, but websites these days are flooded with sidebars. The purpose of a sidebar is to offer you more space to add content. The result, however, is that your readers don’t know where to look. The center of the page? To the side? How about to that back button so they can find a more appealing site? Don’t get us wrong. Some pages benefit from sidebars, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all deal. If your information is so important that you needed to cram your page with a sidebar, why not put it into the main content? Sidebars not only cram your space, but they tend to muck up your responsive design, thus prohibiting a truly mobile-friendly site.
Full-Page Hero Images
Your transition of choice for your homepage slide banner (check trend #1 above) is one of the many reasons a banner is not your best bet to introduce visitors to your site (think about how dreadfully awful those scene transitions are in Star Wars). Full-page hero images, on the other hand, don’t suffer from this downfall, which is why many folks choose to go with a captivating (and perhaps conversation-starting) image on their homepage. Here’s the issue – you’ve just swallowed up the Boardwalk AND Park Place of your website with an image that likely doesn’t tell people who you are, what you do, and why they should work with you. A well designed image with text overlay could help you convey your message, but if you’re looking to make an impact, TELL your visitors what stands you apart.
The Skeuomorphic Design
Have you noticed a recent shift lately toward simple and “flat” designs? The push toward flat design comes at the expense of the skeuomorphic design, which is a fancy way of saying complex, 3-Dish and real-life looking fonts, logos and elements. Web design is all about user-experience these days, and one thing users like is simplicity. While there are many ways to gain simplicity in a design, starting at the core, with your elements, is important. Ditch the complex for a much simpler approach.
Misuse of Videos
Videos gained popularity this past year because of how simple it is to add this enriched media into your site. So, what did we do with this innovation? We overcooked it by placing videos everywhere. Instead of a simple bio page, we added a video. Fun! Rather than a blog about how to X Y and Z, we made a video about it. Woo-hoo! Rather than make a video that’s only 45 seconds long, we made a 4 minute video. Why not? People love videos! But the thing is, they don’t. Videos require headphones or disturbing other people. Videos require pausing and replaying (in the case of a how-to tutorial). Videos can be great, if used properly. But your site shouldn’t become a baby YouTube. You won’t come across as innovative. You’ll come across as burdensome.
Are you stuck in the designs of the past?
Are you guilty of taking part in any of these designs? We all have been, of course, or else they never would have become trends. What’s important is to realize your website is a living and breathing baby that needs to be taken care of. It’s not enough to set up a site and let it be for the next five years. Trends change. Visitors expect new approaches. Devices demand a new design.
Keeping up with the latest trends can be costly, and tiresome, unless you know where to build your site. Free website builders like IM Creator are not only easy to use, but keep you up to date in the latest technologies and designs so that your website never stales.