9 Web Design Trends That Crashed and Burned In 2015

9 Web Design Trends That Crashed and Burned In 2015

What can we say: when inspiration strikes, it strikes.

Image from Cliparts

This is the problem with many website development companies who jump aboard and ride the latest and greatest crazes in the digital world.

However, not all web design trends are created equal.

Actually, far from it.

What you might think looks cool and hip may actually be the kiss of death for your brand or company.

Don’t put your company on the lame list by sticking your viewers with poor page design.

Instead, take a look at these cool and hip web design trends that crashed and burned in 2015 to help with your 2016 web design inspiration.

1. The Culprit: Stock Photography

Unfortunately, unless you have a photographer on hand, stock photos are kind of the way to go for image-related purposes. There’s a difference, however, between good stock photography and the bad kind. Choosing to use bad stock photos is showing that you’re simply using a means to an end. Most stock image sites that are free utilize bad stock photos that won’t get you flagged. The problem? These images are pretty bad and you’re lucky to find something with enough quality to put on your page. Bad stock photography cuts down on the authority your page might have gotten and instead can make you, and your company, appear poorly to potential clientele.

What should you do?

It can be pricey, but investing in a good stock image account can do wonders for your business. Ideally you’d have a professional photographer on hand to take all of your photos, but in the event that that’s not possible, a good stock image can do wonders. Find images that are clean, precise, vibrant, and are not already plastered across the web. By doing so, you’ll give yourself and your images the authority that you need.

2. The Culprit: Modal PromosScreen Shot 2016-02-21 at 6.37.37 PM

Have you ever been to a webpage that has a popup inviting you to like or follow the page? Modal promos are the small boxes that pop up when you enter a website or new page. They often contain the information to signup for newsletters or access to coupons. If you’re having problems visualizing these, think of the small box that you must ‘x’ out of to return to the main screen—typically the modal promo will dim the main screen as well. In any sense, these have been popular in recent years and have made an impact on the number of visitors that invest in your site. The problem, however, is the finesse that many of these modal promos lack. Because they work to stop you from your current browsing, they often can freeze the site completely, causing visitors to leave your webpage altogether.

What should you do?

Don’t be annoying about modal promos for starters. There’s no reason to have a modal promo on each individual page. If you do choose to take this route, however, then consider having an option for visitors to “remember this option” for the day. Otherwise, use the promo only when your site is entered and then modify it to stop it from popping up at each turn.

3. The Culprit: Desktop Formatting

How many of you own a smartphone? What about a tablet? If I had to bet, I’d say that each of you raised your hand for one, the other, or even both. The days of sitting at our desks to do research and surf the web are over. Instead, we’re living in a time where things need to be user-friendly at all times. This means that, no matter how cool the web design looks, it needs to work for all aspects of viewing—small and large alike.

What should you do?

Take a look at your page design as it stands on a desktop site, and then take a look at it on a smartphone or tablet. Does it look the same? If it’s not the

Image from Artisan Talent

same then it should still be pretty darn close. Make sure that everything works as well, if not better, on the responsive site, giving your visitors as user-friendly an experience as possible.

4. The Culprit: Cluttered Page Design

Back in the day it was all about the bells and whistles. Think back to your Myspace page, for example. We were only cool if our themes and videos were the latest trends. These days, however, you’re not looking for something trendy, you want something that will work. Cluttered page designs might have been cool before, but now they’re definitely a thing of the past. You don’t need the music and flashy banners to make your point, in fact, you probably don’t want them.

What should you do?

Look, you’re not JK Rowling (whose “cluttered desk” theme worked well for her writer lifestyle). You need to take a good hard look at your page design and decide if it is working for you, and more than that, for your clients. If you’re not willing to offer a fair perspective then consider asking friends and family for their honest advice. Hiring a web development company can help give you the kind of sleek and modern page design you’re in need of for the year 2016 and beyond.

5. The Culprit: Social Media Frenzy

There are dozens of social media sites available now that encourage brand and Internet marketing with some of the most effective means possible. By linking together multiple sites, you are able to encourage activity across the web. Not only that, but it also has the ability to increase your viewership by making it easier for visitors to follow you. The problem, however, is by overusing social media on your page to the point that it affects your browsing. This happens when social media widgets become destructive to the posts and affect the overall experience of reading through the site.

What should you do?

Social media is vital to your Internet marketing campaign. That being said, figuring out your brand’s niche and moving forward from there is also an important factor in running a successful marketing strategy. Choose the widgets that are the most important for your branding and limit yourself to four to post on your page. An example of this would be using things like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Goodreads for someone who is involved in the world of

Image from Society6

literature (i.e. your run o’ the mill JK Rowling). For someone involved in business, however, you might want to switch out Goodreads for something like Periscope that will be helpful for your business.

6. The Culprit: Volume Control

As self-starting videos began to boom, it became popular to have the volume turned up to full blast. No matter the content, it seems like every site with a video on the homepage has it set to play immediately and without warning. The problem, however, is that plenty of people search the web during work days and that big, booming, and noisy video is not conducive to a comfortable work environment, and usually results in costumers switching out of your webpage quickly. Too many companies relied on the consumer to keep their volume down, but that’s not being consumer friendly! Now, the times they are a changin’ and things like self-starting videos no longer have that booming volume to go along with it.

What should you do?

Many companies have begun using the #nsfw or “not suitable for work” hashtag in an effort to encourage potential employees to be aware of keeping with company policy while searching. Another option is to allow the videos to self-start but to keep the volume silenced. By simply setting your video widgets to mute, you are likely to keep your guests on your webpage longer, which in turn increases your click through rate.

7. The Culprit: Too Many Webpages

The more Internet and web design savvy we become, the more we’re inclined to add more pages. However, as time clicks on, we’re seeing a shift from websites that have many different webpages, to websites that are streamlining a format of simplicity. Too many webpages can be confusing and difficult to navigate through. Not to mention, having too many pages can lead to frustrated consumers. Webpages should already have a well thought out plan and not force potential customers to question what it is that the webpage is trying to get them to do.

What should you do?

What is the product? What is the goal of the webpage? What is the one thing you want consumers to take away from your website? Answering these

Image from Colorlib

questions will help with your overall website development. You should have a very specific goal in mind behind your website development strategy, which will help you create a webpage that zeroes in on what is important for both you and your business’s plan. If, for example, the goal of your webpage is to provide information then do it! But, if you’re trying to sell something then don’t focus too much of your time elsewhere. Keep your webpage concise and to the point to help boost your sales, overall click through rate, and interest in your site.

8. The Culprit: Clicking

This culprit is one that is still at large, but also steadily on the decline. Much like a complicated webpage with too many pages to visit, the act of clicking is determined by how many different links one must click on to get to their desired destination. Especially on homepages, this is becoming an obsolete act, and one that is seen as outdated.

What should you do?

The scrolling website is becoming increasingly popular and is something that you should consider for your webpage. Not only is it a cool web design, it also is something that is convenient for your potential customers. Add to this that the overall load time for a scrolling page is less than the traditional webpage and you’ve made a great investment in your website’s future.

9. The Culprit: Animated GIFs

GIFs, or Graphic Interchange Format, have become all of the rage in recent years. Think of GIFs as moving pictures that capture a second or two snippet from movies or television shows. They are the ironic way to communicate a thought or feeling across the web. Have a snappy remark to make? Just use a GIF and you’ll get the desired comical, and often, satirical effect. However, while GIFs are something that work for blog posts and on certain websites like Tumblr or articles for Buzzfeed, they are not always the best route for professional design pages. Remember, even though you might think that they are the cleverest things to come along, and make you appear witty, they actually will have the adverse effect on your customer’s image of you.

What should you do?

Keep the GIFs to a minimum—even if that means limiting them to one per blog post (or even fewer). If, you are intent on keeping them going, then perhaps

Image from Wired (an example of a subtle, user-friendly animated GIF)

consider asking for feedback from those who frequent your website. This will help you come up with a plan for how many, if any, GIFs you should include on your webpage. Instead of GIFs, consider spending some extra money on quality images to add to your site and/or blog. When done well an image can have the same effect as your GIF, all while keeping your guest’s heads from spinning.

Let’s Review

Moving on in the year, here are the trends that you should work on avoiding:

  • Stock photography
  • Modal promos
  • Desktop formatting
  • Cluttered page designs
  • Social media frenzy
  • Loud video volume
  • Too many webpages
  • Clicking
  • Animated GIFs