The Site Slinger Blog

Web Development, Design, and everything PSD to HTML
By Jeremy H.

Most Overused Web Design Trends to Ditch in 2016

trends to avoid

In the world of web design, it doesn’t take long for certain trends to get old. One minute, it’s the latest thing, gracing websites across the world. The next… it just looks dated and a little bit tedious. And, as we all know – there’s nothing worse than having a tired-looking design on your latest project.

Not sure which web design trends you should send to the scrap-heap this year? We’ve compiled a handy list to help you. Avoid these at all costs…

1. Don’t fall flat… get Flat 2.0


It’s definitely time to ditch flat design. Heck, even the word sounds uninspiring, doesn’t it? Instead, make the most of skeuomorphism and welcome ‘almost flat’ or Flat 2.0 into your life. It adds energy to your designs, not to mention a certain sense of vintage appeal – which in this day and age, never did any designer any harm. Want to find out more about why standard flat design is so last year? Read this.

2. Hero carousels – or villains in disguise?


We are very much over carousels. They’re bad for SEO, because the lack of content makes it difficult to pump meta data onto the page. They shove content way down below the fold. They’re bad for performance. In terms of ease of navigation, they stink.

In addition to this, they’re just plain inaccessible at times – which is a sure-fire way to irritate the user. We said the same thing about giant full-page splash screens, thinking the situation couldn’t get any worse – then some bright person decided to animate them. Groan. Let’s leave carousels firmly in 2015, people.

3. Skip sound – embrace the awesomeness of silence?


If one thing is guaranteed to make a site visitor scream with frustration, it’s music. It really doesn’t matter if it’s the most awesome song in the world. It’s irrelevant if it was number one in the charts for weeks. When it’s played on loop on a website, it becomes highly annoying, like a wasp at a picnic, buzzing away in the background. We presume that’s not the effect you wanted to create, right?

In addition to driving your audience mad, it’s also a curse for users on networks with a capped data plan – something they won’t thank you for. W3C say that automatic music is bad – which, let’s face it, is all you need to know. Find out more here.

You might be able to get away with the occasional animated or video background – but again, tread carefully and always think about user experience.

4. Long forms for short attention spans. No – just no

Petra Jaumann-Bader

It’s astonishing how many big businesses still make the mistake of including lengthy forms on their site – in a bid to squeeze as much information out of the user as possible. However, this often has the reverse effect, causing people to abandon the forms halfway through.

If you’re using forms, keep them short, sharp and as intelligent as possible. Resist asking for information you don’t really need. Make your form as intuitive as possible – there’s nothing more frustrating for the user than having to fill out the form again because something’s gone wrong. If you’re looking for great form creation tips – check out this site.

5. Kill the pop-up


We don’t really need to slam this one home, do we? Pop-ups began to get annoying several years ago, yet it’s alarming how frequently they still ‘pop up’ in designs. Occasionally, use of pop-ups is unavoidable – for example if you’re promoting a product. However, if you must use them, please offer something good in return for your target audience – or risk their wrath.

The Next Web have some excellent tips on how to do pop-ups the right way. Read it and learn, guys.

6. Avoid background overload


We, designers, sometimes get a little obsessed with making our sites look pretty. However, when you choose style over substance, you risk affecting user experience – and not in a good way. If information on the page is difficult to locate, then your site isn’t doing its job properly, no matter how beautiful it might look.

In addition to irritating users, the lack of information could also do damage in terms of SEO, with limited meta data and an inevitably high bounce rate. Incorporate stunning backgrounds by all means, but remember what the site’s primary function is.

Have fun designing in 2016!

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