Website Design Trends to Avoid | Virtual Stacks Systems
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Website Design Trends to Avoid

Website Design Trends to Avoid

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Every business owner wants their website to stand out from the competition, attract attention and bring in new customers. To accomplish these worthy goals, you may assume that the more unique the design of your website, the more intrigued its visitors will be. However, there’s a big difference between “unique” and bizarre. And if you’re not careful about who you hire to design your website, you may wind up with a site that alienates your would-be customers, sending them right over to one of your competitors!

Web designers are creative, and keep up with trends. The risk is when a designer becomes inspired to incorporate the latest trend into a website that’s contraindicated for that particular trend. For example, a website for an insurance agency with pages in bold colors and oversized typography in contrasting bright hues – which we’ll discuss soon, and we have seen, although not for an insurance agency. Not every trend can be successfully incorporated into the website of every type of business – especially small-to-medium size businesses, which have the most to lose if their website flops.

So if you think you can gain an edge by designing – or redesigning – your website to follow a trend – or go along with a suggestion from your web designer to do so – you could be taking a big chance that will backfire.

How so? Ken Braun, Founder & Chief Brandtender of Lounge Lizard Worldwide, shares this observation.

“Along with being visually unappealing, bad website design is ineffective. It often causes people to leave your site and immediately jump back to the search engine results pages (SERPs), increasing your bounce rate and impacting your rankings. It literally can cost you sales.”

Should you catch wind of the following website design trends, we strongly advise that you ignore them!

Web Pages with Bright Colors and Oversized Typography

Why it’s bad – Some web designers have latched onto this trend which – under the right circumstances and for the right audience – could be engaging, but in the real business-to-consumer (B2C) and business-to-business (B2B) worlds are just distracting and annoying. We recently visited a website on which every page was a loud, bright color, against which was set also loud, bright, oversized text. That the site was for a non-profit organization for a very important cause made this epic design fail all the more painful to see. Its message would have been delivered much more effectively had the background been white, and the typography been in black, in a comfortably readable point size.

Unfortunately, there is such a thing as being too clever for your own good. Basic white and black isn’t boring if layout, photos and graphics are high-quality and convey your brand identity. Yes, every business, no matter how small, has a unique brand identity! We have seen well-designed websites with pages in a neutral pastel shade and dark-but-not-black type that reinforce the business’s brand identity and engage visitors. But stray any further at your own risk.

Parallax Scrolling

Why it’s bad – Before delving into this, it might be helpful to explain exactly what parallax scrolling is. This is a visual effect where the background of a web page appears to stay still while the foreground shifts vertically or horizontally. It’s intended to add visual interest to a website and engage visitors as they scroll through a web page.

Although it looks cool on certain websites, parallax scrolling has definite drawbacks. According to custommedialabs, parallax scrolling is heavy animation that can slow loading time for web pages, and will not function smoothly across all browsers. Keep in mind that pages that take too long to load can cause visitors to quickly leave your website. Our blog post – “Why Your Website Needs to be Up-to-Speed” – covers the many ways in which a too-slow website increases your bounce rates and damages your page rankings.

Other negatives to parallax scrolling include the following:

  • Your website should be easy to use and easy to navigate, and this can be difficult if parallax scrolling is not used correctly. Using the effect on a content-heavy site can require too much scrolling, which can frustrate the visitor and make reading difficult.
  • Parallax scrolling isn’t mobile-friendly. That is, it will not look the same on a mobile device as it does on a desktop computer. The designer must know how to translate the effect from a desktop to a mobile device to avoid compatibility issues.
  • SEO may be negatively impacted. Therefore, it is important to understand how to use parallax scrolling in concert with SEO.

Badly Designed Minimalist Design

Why it’s bad – This is a qualified negative. Well-planned and properly executed minimalist design visually guides visitors where they are meant to go and directs attention to relevant information. Poorly designed minimalist websites leave visitors feeling adrift in a sea of white space, not knowing where to go next. We’ve also seen a minimalist website featuring a full-page video with only the business’s logo, hamburger menu and a few icons to latch onto.

Besides making visitors feel abandoned, a bad minimalist website can be bad for SEO if keywords aren’t incorporated. To do this properly, a web developer should also be involved with the project, as well as an SEO specialist. Our blog post – “Is Your Website Ready to Go Live? Make a Punch List First!” – explains the difference between a web designer and a web developer, and the role of each in building a website.

Video as a Website Background

Why it’s bad – There are numerous reasons to avoid a video background. On the back end, they slow loading speeds and are at the mercy of the user’s internet connection speed. They’re not mobile-friendly and can use a large amount of data if the user doesn’t have a Wi-Fi connection. As W3 Lab points out, an endlessly looping video can slow down both the visitor’s device and your website.

On the front end, website background videos tend to be grainy and have a muddy appearance, delivering a less-than-quality viewing experience. In addition, according to W3 Lab, “… they can distract people from looking at the central parts of your website, such as services and call to action buttons.

“Another thing is that some people just don’t like being distracted. When they visit a site, they want to immediately look at who you are and what you have to offer and might see the video as an obstacle. While videos are innovative, you simply cannot go wrong with a good image background.”

The Take-Home Message and Our Blatant Self-Promotion

Ultimately, the best way to avoid being distracted by shiny-object web design trends is to know your target demographic and stay true to their expectations, wants and needs. For example, people seeking to experience culture may respond well to an art museum’s website featuring oversized typography and big, bold images. But returning to our earlier example, if you sell insurance, your potential customers could very well feel put off and look elsewhere.

For more advice on what not to do on your business’s website, our blog post – “Seven Most Annoying Website Features to Avoid” – includes such no-no’s as pop-ups and autoplay videos with audio.

Of course, the best way to avoid web design and web development mistakes of any kind is to leave the job to our experienced team at Virtual Stacks Systems! We can create a website/ecommerce site that will deliver a great user experience to help your business achieve its marketing objectives! Contact us to learn more and get started!



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