As a web designer, trends come and go so fast that it’s important for your designs to always be ahead of the curve. Even if a design works in the most technical sense, old-fashioned web design can drive users away. So how can you spot bad design in 2016? Watch out for these 3 out of date features – when you see these, it’s time for a redesign.
Flunking The Fold
When web designers talk about the fold, they’re harkening back to an older concept – the most important content on the front page of the newspaper would always be placed above the fold. That way, you would see it immediately. But when websites put a very large image at the top of the page, they push the actual content below the fold – and the user has to scroll down to see it. These images break an essential and very old design rule, so it’s time to ditch them and move the content up.
If you do want to put a large image at the top of your page, it should have a function beyond aesthetics. Start Jobs accomplishes this by embedding a search bar into the image while Swisstees takes the innovative approach of turning its large home image into a customizable order form for its apparel line. By merging form and function, these sites keep a big image at the top of the page from wasting valuable space.
A Pop Of Color Too Much
The most important concern about text on a website is making sure that it’s legible, but it’s not uncommon to find websites where poor font or color choice make the text hard to read. By now, all designers should know better than to use colored fonts on their websites for anything more than accent text, like brief titles.
Not only are large blocks of colored text hard to read, many readers have installed plug-ins like BeeLine Reader that allow them to make poorly designed websites more legible. It’s important to make your site legible because when users call up these plug-ins, they typically erase any good design components as well. If the only barrier to easy reading is font color, fix it now – otherwise you’re sacrificing a whole website to a simple problem.
The Auto-Play Enemy
Users have been complaining about auto-play features on websites for years, yet websites continue to use them. Auto-play media can annoy users to the extent that they close websites rather than use them in order to avoid this bothersome feature. When auto-play is driving users away, things have gone too far.
If you’re going to use any kind of auto-play features on a website, there are two things you need to do. First, the auto-play should be silent. It’s the audio that drives users away, not the fact that the content exists. Second, your auto-play should stop running when the user scrolls past it.
Facebook has done a great job doing both of these things with onsite videos. When a video plays in your Facebook feed, the visuals play silently while the clip is still in view and then everything stops when you move past it. If Facebook had retained audio as part of the auto-play, even this leading website would have lost users.
A Pleasing Personality
Ultimately, when building a website you need to balance demonstrating the client’s personality with building a functional, easy to use site. But when personality outweighs function, users will start to bail. At the same time, that personality needs to evolve with the times – a site that still relies on 1990s clipart won’t have the credibility or the relevance needed to succeed.
In 2016, resolve to be a trendsetter with your web design. By being innovative, you’ll give the sites you build a longer shelf life and help client companies make their names as leaders in their respective fields.