Trends come and go so often in website design that, much like a contestant on Project Runway, one day they’re in and the next day they’re out. It can be tempting to jump on every trend, or try to keep up. However, sometimes in all the effort to look just like that website you love you could end up stumbling into some elements that harm your website performance.
Some design elements are obvious ones to avoid (i.e. Generic Clip Art or a Dancing Baby GIF) while others sneak in as the next “big thing.” Below we review some design trends you may be better off skipping on your next site build.
The Trend: Hamburger Menu
The Hamburger Menu as it’s called, is a form of navigation that started on the mobile platform, presented as three stacked lines like a burger in a bun. It’s so inundated on mobile and tablet apps now that even if you didn’t know by name, you’re familiar with it. The icon is used as a way to truncate menu navigation items. You click it to get to more pages.
The Allure: So Elegant, so Slick
This design element caught on fast and extended beyond mobile and tablet to desktop as well. It preserves precious space on smaller screens, and just keeps things clean and focused. It became the trend. Even large brands like CNN and NBC News tried (that’s a key word) to adapt it. If you’ve ever gone searching for a WordPress site template, you’ll see em’ there too. So…what’s the problem?
The Problem: No “Information Scent”
What this basically means, is that when you hide all your navigation you are giving your user no direction on where to find things, or what may be of most interest to them. The result? The user doesn’t stick around to explore what’s there and navigation clicks go down. This being a problem is starting to catch on in mobile applications too. As you may have noticed many apps including Facebook, Twitter and more have moved towards pulling what’s important to the forefront.
The verdict: Skip it on desktop layouts for sure, no matter how many cool sites have it. On mobile responsive designs you can keep it, especially since most template based sites still use this as the mobile standard. However, if you’re working on a much more custom site build ask your developer about other options.
The Trend: Front-page Carousel
I’m sorry, we can’t. We just can’t dignify this by calling it a trend. Then why is it on this list? Read on below…
The Allure: It Was Once The Thing to Do
Within the industry this trend is already dead. You’d be hardpressed to find any web designer or developer who would still suggest this. And yet, it just keeps hanging on in the minds of almost every client we come across. And that’s why it’s on this list. With it still appearing in most web templates and once being everywhere, clients still believe the myth that more slides equal more click.
The Problem: Hides Content, Bad For SEO, Low Clicks and so on…
See how long that heading had to be? All the problems with the Front-page carousel are the reason it’s dead. However, we’re not going to bore you with all the explanation this statistic can do all the talking. According to a study in 2013 (the carousel heyday), show that only a miniscule 1% of people click on carousels. We’re done. Ya burnt, front page carousel.
The Verdict: Just avoid the Front-Page carousel all together.
The Trend: Fancy Preloader Animations
This is basically the fancier version of the old school loading bar. It’s an animation that appears before the page loads. We’ve seen this done in a variety of ways, sometimes with a spinning circle or clever brand related imagery.
The Allure: Isn’t it Fun and Pretty!
Isn’t it slick that this little circle spins and fills before the page loads?! I mean, that’s it really. There’s no allure anymore to waiting for your site to load.
The Problem: You’re Making Users Wait
Yes the animation can be slick and well done, but the bottom line is it’s still a loading animation. The days of internet past where load bars were necessary are gone. Adding animation like this is just making users wait, and worse, reminding them of what that kind a load animation means now…your internet is slow.
The Verdict: Avoid it completely. Just because it’s pretty doesn’t mean it’s good.
Have you fallen into any of these trends that may actually be traps? Maybe you’re even sporting one of these on your website now. Let us know your thoughts in the comments, or hook up with our team if your site’s ready for a makeover.