When it comes to web design trends, those in the industry never tire of talking about the possibilities. However, like concept cars some design trends are based more on the idea of doing it instead of asking if it should be done in the first place. Innovation is by no means a bad thing but innovation for its own sake tends not to go anywhere useful. The end result is a website that is bloated, slow, and annoying to use. That being said here are four web design trends that really need to go away and not come back.
If you’re a website designer you’ll probably want to avoid these web design trends. If you’re an end user you probably find them annoying.
1. Stock images
Instead of starting with something overly technical (like badly coded flash websites) but with something annoying based solely on how pervasive and lazy it is. How many websites have you gone to using the same stock image of the same six people at some random company meeting. When you see something like this it removes any lingering ideas you may have of the company culture and the kind of people that work there.
It cannot be that difficult to get pictures of the real people who work at a company or business. Stock images are place holders not something to be used on a finished professional website. This is glaringly lazy in an age where a good many people have decent cameras on their cell phones.
2. Badly coded websites / too much media
Bloated and slow web design trends that freeze up the entire web browser and make you want to shut off the computer, go for a walk and throw your laptop into oncoming traffic. The increase in technology and internet speeds has some thinking they have to use every bit of that in their website design. Overuse of unneeded HD background art, auto-loading flash/HTML5 movies, and overly animated anything are a turnoff.
Now that’s not saying there shouldn’t be a touch of flair for showmanship to a website but that it should never overshadow the content. Also not everyone has broadband internet; some parts of the world have to make due with far less and because of that a website should load promptly.
3. Hipster / trying too hard to be cool
Another website design trend that needs to be purged from the collective unconscious is trying too hard to be hip, cool, or cutting edge. The thing with cool is its not a conscious effort its just something that happens. A new cutting edge design or image isn’t going to be done by ripping off what is currently popular in pop culture.
Hipster is just the latest subculture to come along following several others such as grunge, goth, hippie, and beatnik. By tailoring a website design and imagery too close to one subculture or what is currently cool runs the real risk of becoming out dated. What is currently in style changes rapidly and often without reason. That being said if your business, industry, or website is closely tied to one style or subculture by all means keep at it. The point is the design shouldn’t be because it’s cool but because it fits.
4. Modal windows you can’t figure out how to close
Among web design trends this one is avoidable. Modal windows do serve a purpose. They are most often used if your website needs someone to sign in or sign up for something. This is all well and good. However, modal windows with hard to locate or hidden close buttons are an interface abomination.
Not everyone needs to sign up or sign in for something and just want to get back to reading a website. Also their usage should be kept to a minimum. A website shouldn’t have modal windows on every page asking visitors to log in.
By Aaron Enright