Everybody wants a fashionable and trend setting web design that they can show off to their friends, entice their visitors with and, of course, be proud of. However, there are so many guides out there outlining both good and bad practices that we get confused and overwhelmed by what the perfect design should look like. But fear not, for I have searched the web and found the most unfashionable, has-been web design faux pas that you should all steer clear of whilst on your journey to creating that beautiful website. I’m also going to tell you how to avoid them.
Overuse of stock photography.
Did someone say cheese? Stock photography, although useful, can be incredibly cliché and often cheesy. If you want to come across as original and professional take your own photographs. They not only look better but you have complete control over what your images consist of too. You could hire a photographer to do this for you or alternatively have a go yourself (just make sure you have a decent camera and lighting). However, if you feel that the only viable option for you is to use stock images opt for more realistic images and ones that don’t appear to be staged.
There is nothing worse than not knowing where you are going on a website. Experimental and multi-level navigation is confusing and ruins your UX (user experience). Steer clear of drop down menus with various options which then go into several more options which then go into a page of links. It is confusing and quite honestly a headache for the visitor who will more than likely bounce off your page. Keeping your navigation clean and simple is the best way to improve the overall UX and bounce rate of your website.
Loading screens and splash pages.
While you can make these pages look creative and interesting they are a complete waste of time. A user doesn’t want to go through more pages than they have to. Not only do they cause frustration amongst impatient users they are also prone to freezing which of course results in bad UX. Instead of a loading screen or splash page just direct traffic straight to the page in question. However, if you had a loading page on your website because something else is taking too long to load, consider some of these ways to improve your site load page time.
Single page designs.
Although popular all over the net, it doesn’t make single page web designs any less annoying. You have to scroll forever to find information which is definitely a no-no for UX. Not to mention it is bad for SEO (search engine optimisation). Having a singular page doesn’t allow search engines to crawl your site properly to determine all of your content. Therefore, you cannot be ranked properly. Our advice if you want a single page web design? Don’t do it.
(Bad) parallax scrolling.
Don’t get me wrong I love a good parallax scroll as much as the next web design enthusiast but only when they are done right. A little word of advice to those whose perfect website dream consists of this flitting animation; get it done by a professional. Otherwise, your website could be facing a freeze out frenzy. Bad parallax can make you web page load a lot slower, not load on a mobile device, and in some cases even break your website. Furthermore only use a trend like this if it brings more value to your visitors. If not, what’s the point?
Declared one of the best strategies to get more newsletter sign-ups, the advertising pop-up has grown drastically over the past few years. Like loading and splash pages you can customise these to your hearts content, however, impressive graphics do not make them any more than a passive aggressive marketing technique. I don’t know about you but these pop-ups not only don’t make me want to sign up for your newsletter they also make me frustrated enough to click the big red X in the top right of my screen. Bye-bye, pushy sales marketing!
Similar to the parallax scroll, if done badly, it can really lower your websites’ quality. Your page will load slower, not load as quickly on mobile devices, and could be prone to freezing. If you want a design with some animation but don’t want to risk the consequences of a full video background you could add in more subtle animations in icons and call to actions instead. However if videos are a big part of your business or are the best way to communicate what your business does then embed videos into your pages instead of having them as the full feature.
The hamburger menu (desktop).
Hamburger menus have been spoken about on this blog before. But one thing I want to get straight about the hamburger menu is that it was made specifically for mobile designs. As in, it should only be seen when viewing websites on mobiles and tablets. Hiding your navigation under a hamburger menu on a desktop is a rather large problem for visitors. It will make them frantically scan the page in search of your menu. As stated above menu simplicity is good, but when it comes to hamburger menus they are a little too simple and not noticeable enough for a desktop.
We’ve all been then, sporadically clicking the mute button in a panic-stricken motion whilst some awful music blurts out and everyone in the office stares in bewilderment. If music isn’t a part of your business do not use it on your website. It is unprofessional and, to be honest, your visitors do not want to know your favourite Queen song. Save it for your personal Facebook (not your business one).
Those were just a few of our favourite faux pas of web design but if you want to read more here are a few of our favourite resources!
As always, we encourage our readers to revolve their web design around the core principles of their business. Therefore if it is appropriate to use any of our mentioned faux pas, you should do it! If you need any further assistance with your web design project please don’t hesitate to contact us either here or on LinkedIn or Twitter. Happy designing!