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9 Popular Web Design Trends to Avoid in 2019

While there are many design trends out there you should avoid, here is the top 9 you should watch out for. Whether you’re building a website, or just feel like your site is not stacking up to the rest, avoid the following web design temptations. 

1. Snail Pace Site Speed 

Ever Stumbled upon a website where you felt everything was taking an eternity to load? Whoever you are, you have most likely have experienced this at least once in your lifetime. 

So, here’s the hard truth for the web designer, blogger, or freelancer who is reading this-- your aesthetic could possibly be holding your site back. While images can speak a thousand words about who you are, or what your brand stands for, you should balance the amount photos you use throughout your site. Keeping that in mind, you will also want to optimize your images so you can reduce the size of your image files without hampering image quality. Don’t forget when it comes to images that you will always want to ensure your images are in the right dimensions and right naming conventions, such as neoreef-blog-imageoptimization-1.jpg or neoreef-image-opitmization.jpg. 

As design plays a major role in how fast or slow your site will be, there are some tips you will want to keep in mind: 

  • Collaborate early on with your developer in the web design process 
  • Design for all users, such how will your site display for someone a tablet versus a desktop (user experience is top priority) 
  • Reuse design elements across your site to cut down on website loading time 

Design and performance go hand in hand when it comes to your site’s success. Remember to keep this in your back pocket, if you find your site slowly loading or are simply wanting to improve your site. Take a snapshot of where your site design is at, and where you want to see it go. 

Read: Does Your Website Make these 7 Mistakes?


2. Not Thinking Mobile First 

Thinking mobile is crucial in this day and age because most people are surfing the internet on their smartphone. It is also crucial that you think mobile first, since Google’s algorithm prioritizes sites that mobile-first index. And not thinking mobile first for your site cannot only negatively impact user experience, but also your site’s SEO performance. 

Designing for desktop first is a major mistake. Designing mobile first does not have to be hard, and can actually be quite easy. There are some easy strategies you can keep in mind when you are implementing a mobile-first website

First, you will want to keep your content concise and clear on mobile, so the user is not infinitely  scrolling. This can be done by breaking up text into one-to-four sentence paragraphs whenever possible, or delivering in-depth information in few words as possible. 

Next,you will want to intentionally  keep your site simple by reducing the number of pages, and adding an improved search feature so users still can find pertinent information. Ultimately, thinking mobile first will streamline the steps you will need to take in creating a website design, as well as things you need to consider when it comes to designing your site for desktop. 

Read:Complete Guide to Mobile First” 


3. Not Following Branding Guidelines 

When creating a website for your brand, or rebranding, you will want to create branding guidelines. Branding guidelines are the holy grail when it comes to web design

If you’re an agency person or a freelancer, branding guidelines can also help you be on the same page as your client. But do know when you need to push back, or rather not to. 

For instance, you will want to reference a client’s brand guidelines if given, but there are times where it is acceptable to be creative and work around them. Keeping in mind, there is always room for improvement, no matter if your site is the top dog or rather the underdog. As a business owner or a web designer, be open to suggestions. And if there are misunderstandings in the meantime, address them head on so you can reach goals as a team. 

There are a handful of reasons of why you should avoid not following brand guidelines. Here are the handful of reasons why brand guidelines are crucial:

  • Consistency is crucial to making your brand recognizable and reliable 
  • Establishing A Rule Book is the toolkit for keeping your brand cohesive 
  • Recognizable is important for making your brand immediately distinguishable within your industry and target audience
  • Keeping on Track is pertinent when managing your branding consistently and effectively, along with partnering your business interests with your intended audience 
  • Value is increased when your brand’s identity is cohesive. Brand cohesiveness makes your business appear more professional and reliable, as well as making it easier to maintain the quality and integrity of your brand’s image. 

High five to you if you have already or are in the process of setting brand guidelines. 

4. Popup Overload 

No one likes popups when they are scrolling through a site, nor does anyone like being bombarded with irrelevant nonsense and notifications. But the use of popups continue to be a divisive topic where some website designers and advertisers cite improved site conversion rates due to popups, while others chime in their potential for user irritation (actually statistically speaking, about 70% of people consider them annoying). 

Surf the Internet and I promise you will stumble upon popups if you visit more than a few websites. So why do popups stick around? Well, unfortunately, and somewhat fortunately, popups offer value (a free ebook, discount coupon, etc). 

If there is one thing you remember, do remember that popups take away from the actual content your audience is trying to consume on your site. In the end, sticking to a clean site without popups popping up everywhere is the way to go if you want to enhance your website design and brand. 

Read:Is My Website Too Cluttered?" - if so, take time to clean your site’s closet out 

5. Excessive Animation & Text

Animation is a spice to be used sparingly, and it can be quite distracting if it is overdone. In a perfect world, animation on your site should draw attention, support key content and call-to-action buttons, all while not overwhelming the user with things popping up and swooshing around as if they were at an amusement park. 

Also, animation can cause accessibility issues if there are way too many moving parts or flashy content that can pose problems for some users. Overall, too much animation can make it extremely hard for the user to concentrate on your site’s content. 

In this day and age, we live in a world of skim-readers when it comes to landing on a website. 

When creating a website, you should avoid writing in text block after text block, but rather break down your text into short and concise paragraphs. Simply put, if your text does not get to the point, many will skim-read for a few minutes and then eventually end up leaving your site. 

Read: 9 Common Web Design Mistakes (And How to Avoid Them)” 


6. Forever Scrolling with Footer Content 

Forever scrolling is cool and, in most cases, people love the fluidity of it. You can thank Pinterest for infinite scrolling still being a cool thing years later. But this becomes an issue when a website scrolls automatically and its footer content gets pushed to the bottom of page every time. 

Additionally, websites with infinite scrolling makes it difficult, if not impossible, for users to find the footer. As for the user, this gets annoying after awhile and they eventually leave the page, or even the site, after a while. 

The only good time to user forever scrolling is when you do not have a timeline or feed. A great rule of thumb is to have a finite amount of content on each page, and to just do away with infinite scrolling all together. 

Read:Footers 101:Design Patterns and When to Use Each” 

7. Sliders and Image Carousels 

Sliders and image carousels make for an aesthetically pleasing design. But how many people actually scroll through to view them? You probably don’t do it very often. 

So, if these are not effective, then why do people choose to still use them? Well, some people simply think they are cool, and different departments and managers want to get their message on the home page. On top of that, an overabundance of image carousels and sliders can hamper your site speed. The truth is that these are totally conversion killers. 

And, if you are still not convinced that you should avoid using sliders and image carousels, here are the main reasons you should stray away from sliders or image carousels: 

Read: Sliders suck and should be banned from your website” 


8. Desktop Hamburger Menus 

While you may be thinking hamburger, yum, you may want to think again before you order anything off this menu. Hamburger menus work completely fine on mobile, because they take up less real estate and reduce clutter on smaller screens. But what works for one device may not work for another, and this is especially true when it comes to a desktop. Hamburger menus on a desktop site make for the menu less obvious to the user, as well as forcing the user to click again if they want to navigate somewhere else on your website. 

The only time desktop hamburger menus work is when they  have a single, clear call to action(CTA) and use landing pages that contain enough persuasive information to make the user want to click through to the in-context.

Again, there are many reasons you should avoid desktop hamburger menus or remove them from your site if they are already there. First, desktop hamburger menus can clash with your platforms navigation pattern. Second, hamburger menus tend to lack efficiency in the sense that they cause mobile users to tap again or go back through multiple screens to get to the menu. 

Third, hamburger menus can have unclear information architecture, which leaves user wandering around the site for the information they want. Ultimately, it is up to you whether a desktop hamburger menu aligns well with nature of your website, the tech-savviness of your audience, and the goal your website is trying to achieve. 

Read:5 Ways the ‘Hamburger Menu’ Navigation Kills Website User Experience

9. Not having an SSL Certificate 

A few years ago, not having an SSL Certificate was not a big issue, but today search engines will assign a lesser trust signal to your website. It does not matter whether you are asking for personal information, or selling your products on your website, search engines do not care unless if you have a SSL Certificate

Another thing to keep in mind if your site does not have an SSL Certificate is that users may get the pop up, “The site you are trying to reach is not secure,” which will cause the majority of visitors on your site to leave. 

Having an SSL Certificate is crucial not only for the success of your site, but also for security and appearing in search rankings. 

If you are still not convinced yet to get an SSL Certificate, here are some reasons why you  should: 

  • Protection against hackers
  • More trustworthy to users 
  • Chrome displays your site properly 
  • Improve site speed and search rankings 

Read:Three reasons why your website needs an SSL Certificate” 

Avoid These Web Design Trends At All Cost 

When building your website or finding ways to improve your site, it is important to consider that web design is the foundation for building a successful business and site. Keeping in mind that is important to make a site that is engaging, usable, and built with your audience in mind. Remembering that your site design should put people at ease and not make them feel like hitting their head up against the wall in frustration. 

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