It can be easy to get comfortable with certain web design elements, especially if they are trendy. However, those trends eventually wane, which means it’s important to move past them, or at least use them sparingly.
Below are eight web design elements you’ll probably want to avoid using unless they’re absolutely called-for:
- Stock Photography
Stock photography was once considered go-to for web designers. Just find the photo you need, purchase it, and pop it into the design. What could be easier?
The problem is that with all the stock photography in the world, web designers began to choose the same great photos repeatedly. This has led to today, when web users are tired of seeing bland, boring stock photos and want something more unique.
- Creative Fonts
While not all creative fonts are inherently bad, some of them are downright illegible. It’s a good idea to leave innovation to places other than typography.
If visitors can’t read the navigation bar, or the font looks funny on smaller mobile devices, there’s a problem.
- Excessive Pop-Ups
Can pop-ups work to gather information from readers? Absolutely. Are they still considered annoying? You bet.
Excessive pop-ups will drive away visitors, so use them very sparingly. Be cautious about which pages include pop-ups, and be certain the pop-ups will go away easily.
- Unusual Navigation
In trying to make your website design different, you may be tempted to test out unusual navigation methods. While it’s important to be open to new designs, it’s just as important to recognize that most web users are accustomed to navigating websites relatively uniformly.
It’s possible to tweak navigation elements here and there, but don’t confuse the people you’re trying to attract.
- Parallax Websites
The parallax website — which can seem like one long page — is quite common now, and it works well for some websites. It adds depth and character to a site, and it enables visitors to jump quickly from one area to the next.
While you shouldn’t say “never” to parallax website design, remember that it’s not for every company. If you have a lot of content, then a more traditional website architecture is probably a wiser choice.
- Hamburger Menus on Traditional, Non-Mobile Sites
Everyone is getting accustomed to hamburger menus on their mobile devices. Hamburger menus are those parallel lines — that look kind of like they’re sandwiched together, hence the name — on mobile sites that are shorthand for “menu here.”
However, people get confused when they see them on regular websites. The point of the hamburger menu on a mobile site is that it’s easy to click with a finger. Since not everyone using a larger-screen device like a laptop or desktop uses their digits to click, it’s best to aim for a conventional menu indicator or navigation bar with tabs.
- Infinite Scrolls
For many ecommerce websites, having an infinite scroll seems like a great idea. And theoretically, it is. It allows people to look through hundreds of items without having to constantly go to the next page.
The problem is that infinite scroll pages rarely let users get to the information on the footer. This means if they’re looking for footer data, such as customer service contact info or shipping rates, they can’t get to it. Therefore, if you must use infinite scroll, do so in few places and certainly not on every page.
- Intrusive Backgrounds
Your background design might look cool, funky, fun, or sophisticated — but how will it look when the page is filled with content, buttons, photos, etc.? Will the background suddenly become overwhelming and take the focus away from calls-to-action and informative elements?
If there is any concern your background is too busy, take a few moments and tone it down. Even the most gorgeous background can be a liability when it comes to attracting and keeping visitors.
The upshot of all these warnings is that there are still plenty of website design elements you can choose from to create a breathtaking, high-performing site. You just have to do a little trial and error and be open to making changes, even if you love certain elements. If they aren’t working, that’s okay. Less is still often more in the website design world.