People love to follow trends. And there is nothing bad about that. In fact, in order to be “cool” following trends is a must. This is very important for web designers in order to keep up with the growing competition. But when it comes to following trends, web designers sometimes tend to overthink or overlook some of the most important details, especially for usability.
In this post, we’re going to try and point out some of the more “annoying” things of current design trends. When you understand what makes them annoying, you’ll be able to avoid doing them for yourself.
Recommended Reading: 11 Common Web Design Mistakes (Blunders)
Infinite Scroll With Footer Content
Infinite loading is cool and in many cases people actually love the smoothness of it. Thanks to Pinterest, infinite scrolling is still hot up till now. The problem happens when a website scrolls automatically and it has footer content that gets pushed to the bottom all the time.
Here’s the perfect example of infinite scroll and footer combo.
DVF.com uses infinite scrolling and they have their footer, well, at the bottom. I tried scrolling to catch up with the footer but the page just kept on extending.
This is not just annoying, this is a usability issue that needs to be addressed. Something that Facebook managed to solve quite easily. But when the infinite scroll was introduced to the site, they also had this problem.
(Image Source: Zachstronaut.com)
Parallax Websites Galore
Parallax websites are okay, and to a degree they are really pleasing to the eyes. These kind of websites used to be gems because of how rare and perfect they appeared to the regular user. Right now though it’s everywhere. The beauty in rarity is now dead, and even web design blogs are shunning parallax tutorials nowadays.
Also, there is a slight misconception about parallax websites. There are people who think that a single page website that scrolls is considered a parallax site. This is wrong. Parallax websites display depth by having layers while regular single page websites don’t have the illusion of depth.
Now, parallax websites are great for introducing a product or a service, something that doesn’t need lots of text but a fancy presentation would be of help. The problem happens when parallax websites are used to replace regular websites with lots of content. Instead of separating them on different pages, they are all loaded up in one single page.
Another issue with the overuse and misuse of parallax websites, including regular single page websites, is when they get to the point where you need to scroll down for several seconds just to reach the bottom.
First, it can be tricky with browsing history. Secondly, these websites tend to be heavy in terms of loading the files. Which users with slow internet connection would definitely despise and most likely never visit again. But overall, when done right, parallax websites is still capable of captivating people’s heart.
There seem to be a big fascination when it comes to floating elements in a website. Floating menu bars that stick around even after the users have scrolled down to the footer, floating social media icons that clearly begs to be clicked, and floating sidebar advertisements. This happens both on desktop and mobile websites.
Here are a couple of reasons why this is bad:
- People who have small screens can’t fully see the content available.
- It’s obnoxious.
- Design-wise, they don’t look good at all.
Take a look at the screenshot above. It’s my website and I hate 2 things about it. First is whenever I log in on my dashboard and visit the front page, the admin bar is always there to cover the links and search bar. Second is the menu bar itself that scrolls with the page. You can probably understand my frustration with this.
Here’s an example for mobile applications. It floats and when it’s closed, it appears after a few seconds (not minutes).
Popups and Splash Pages
Splash pages are ancient. Popups are evil. But those that don’t provide value are basically the heralds of darkness (see screenshot below). And when I say no value, I mean popups or splash pages that exist solely to display a third-party advertisement or to solicit for Facebook likes and Twitter followers.
Splash pages are a thing of history and they should not be used at all. I’m not even sure why Forbes still clings to such a crude practice.
Popups are a necessary evil. And they work well. But people hate them. So, why do people keep on falling for these popups? Simple: it’s because they offer value. A free ebook, a discount coupon, great information that they will get when they sign up for a newsletter, and similar things.
My point here is as much as possible, try to avoid popups. However, if you can’t avoid popups because you have a product to promote, at least have the decency to offer something in return for people’s time (or email address).
In every art form, beginners and experts alike love to tell everyone to always keep it simple, stupid! And rightly so, if the purpose of the website you are designing is to provide information, then the focus should be on the content, not on the background.
Read Also: 5 Tips To Simplify Your Web Design
Here is an example of a website with a great fullscreen background.
If you head to the website itself, you will see that it employs several large images as a background. And it’s fantastically applied! The reason? The images used here are not placed there as a mere background, but as a means to direct people’s attention, to give visual cues on what really matters.
What do you think about the website shown above. Do you think it’s distracting?
It’s either by necessity or passion that the things above are born, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It only becomes “wrong” when they are used excessively or of without thought for the users.
Remember, designing is all about making people comfortable and to help them use your website with great ease, not to make them feel frustrated.