Avoiding Outdated Web Design Trends

graphics-sunbathing-196198Like all things meant to draw your attention (auto styling, fashion, architecture), design and graphic “language” or visual communication is constantly evolving to keep you looking in a certain direction.

Is your website suffering from these outdated trends?

Splash Pages
There was a day when splash pages were cool because they added to the mystery of what your website experience was going to be – while it had to load (which took for-ev-er). Pretty much, those pages let you get in some extra branding. With speed, simplicity and content being everything these days, all a splash page is doing is adding an extra step in the process. It’s a relatively simple thing to remove these, so cut it out. An absolutely unusable splash page (sorry, Petr).

Common Fonts (yawn)
There is the obvious need to have the font on your website be legible, so sticking with a typical installed font found on most computers is a great safety net, but web development has come along way with the ability to include “web fonts” in any webpage. One caveat is that web fonts add to the number of files needing to be downloaded and thus add download time, so be judicious. Different fonts also have different file sizes too depending on the amount of characters found in them. If you use Comic Sans or Papyrus, it’s time for you to update. Check out the growing list of what types of web fonts are available.

Too Many FontsToo Many Fonts!
Here’s a no-no that will always be a no-no. If you have multiple people updating your website, this can easily become problematic. Too many fonts create distraction and drop your website down quite a few notches on the professional scale (unless your business is selling fonts). If you can, have the font selection feature removed in your CMS (content management system). Rule of thumb: Stick with two unique fonts (and colors) at most.

“Over-Design”
Again, the speed, simplicity and content of your website is paramount. Even if your website designer can design every last detail or nook and cranny of the web page and tie it all together perfectly, it doesn’t mean you should. So if you’re just designing for design’s sake, give it a rest.

Too Many CTAs (calls to action)
This falls somewhat inline with “over-designing”, but even the cleanest designs can misuse this vital aspect of doing business online. Let’s clarify that a CTA is the final on-page feature you want a visitor to take action on. A secondary “path” may be applicable, but if you have three or more, you moving into “poor user experience territory” that will likely overwhelm or confuse users. There are also great page designs where one CTA would include multiple actionable “options” (of which you’d choose one) – like picking a phone plan.

Think your site needs a design re-fresh? Add your website link in the comments and we’ll provide some honest feedback!

Photo credit

James is passionate about making the web a user-friendly place for all. He’s a seasoned web developer & usability pro who has built literally hundreds of websites over the past 15 years. No surprise, he writes frequently on web usability and accessibility issues.

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