There is no doubt that the internet, like fashion, film and pretty much everything else in life, operates based on trends. Many things that were popular and commonly found on websites just a few years ago are no longer in vogue, and when a website doesn’t keep up with the times it becomes very obvious.
This seemingly unparalleled moment in history requires users to be vigilant, bending to the will of the design collective and keeping their website updated year to year. But sometimes there are trends that become played so quickly that you should be avoid them altogether, instead focusing your efforts elsewhere.
Compiled below are the top web design trends that you should avoid despite – or perhaps because of – their popularity right now.
1. Infinite Scroll
The first time I saw infinite scroll in use I thought it was a pretty good idea. Instead of loading new pages of a website I could keep scrolling and the page would magically expand. This is perfect for shopping sites that sell a lot of different merchandise.
Then I tried accessing the website footer and I couldn’t.
Infinite scroll is a good idea in theory, but its biggest flaw is that it takes away functionality from other parts of your website, sacrificing one feature for another. When a website employs the feature, users are required to scroll to the end of the content before they can access the footer, where important links and information are typically shared.
It’s annoying when you encounter it, so imagine how your users must feel. This is definitely a trend you should avoid.
2. Popup Banners and Splash Pages
The 90s called and they want their spammy techniques back!
Many websites now employ popup banners in order to get users to sign up for something, stay on a page, or convey an “important” message. Although these banners don’t display ads, they are equally as annoying as the dreaded popup of yore and have the power to drive away users.
The same goes for splash pages, which are basically the bigger brother of the popup. Instead of blocking a small part of a site, splash pages dominate the entire screen, forcing you to close them every time.
3. Irritating Backgrounds
I enjoy the background trend as much as the next guy. There is nothing wrong with a big, beautiful header image to welcome guests to a website. Sites that go overboard are a different story, however.
Irritating backgrounds serve as a major distraction to site visitors by calling too much attention to themselves, and extending way too deep into the on-page experience. Add a video, animation, or music are you are almost guaranteed to increase your site’s bounce rate.
Generally speaking, simplicity is the best policy and less is usually more. Especially if your website is content focused.
Parallax is an interesting design idea that many unique websites have used to create an immersive and interesting experience. Once people began using parallax designs that didn’t contribute to the overall user experience, however, the concept lost its luster.
Today it seems like even the most basic website builders offer users the option of adding parallax to their sites, achieving nothing besides for impressing the few who have not experienced it before or impressing friends who still don’t realize how easy it is to build a website.
If parallax is not necessary for enhancing your website in a meaningful way, I recommend avoiding it altogether. After all, it increases site loading times and can actually have a negative effect in the long run.
5. Floating Elements
Similar to parallax, people seem to have developed a fascination for floating elements.
These include floating headers, social media links, sidebars, and ads that are just begging to be clicked. Often these elements work against a website by obstructing other elements on a page. They’re also obnoxious and are generally implemented separately from the site design, which means they also stick out because they look out of place.
If you employ floating elements you may want to think about removing them. If you’re considering floating elements, you may want to think twice.
Sometimes going against the grain is a good thing and often times, avoiding web trends will save you the time and effort of removing them from your website in the future. I hope that you will reconsider at least one of these features on your site.
Guest article written by: Brandon David is the founder of Website Builder Insider. Although he didn’t receive any formal training, he has dedicated most of his time to becoming an authority on everything web related. When not online, Brandon is most likely eating, sleeping, or doing something else to maintain his unhealthy addiction to the internet.