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15 Website Design Trends to Avoid

3D illustration of an user experience gauge with the needle pointing very bad UX design.Website Design Trends to Avoid

Good web design has the potential to drive sales, generate leads, and grow repeat business. No matter how valuable the product or service you offer, you need to make sure that the website representing you is clean, sleek, and easy to navigate. Poor web design can turn customers away in seconds.

What should companies steer clear of to keep their audience?

Here’s our list of 15 web design trends to avoid.

1. Stock photos

Personalization is everything; the pictures you choose to display on your website are no exception. A website speaks for the company or person behind it, and the images as well as the graphic designs should reflect that. Incorporating your own brand across your site shows authenticity and allows viewers to come to better understand who you are.

To best bridge the gap between you and your audience, ditch the overused stock photos. If you cannot afford to pay a professional photographer, don’t worry. Less-than-perfect images that show character, heart, and authenticity have the power to win over customers looking for a brand that sees their audience as something more than a faceless mass with uniform tastes. Also a free graphic design tool like can help spruce up images and designs.

2. External links opening in the same tab

Many new web designers find themselves debating the usefulness of external links.

Is it really beneficial to redirect your viewer to a new page within the same tab? In most cases, no.

External links can be detrimental to your website traffic. In fact, some visitors to your website might see them as annoying and intrusive.

If you want higher conversion rates on your sites, you want to encourage people to open new tabs and what better way than to do it for them.

3. Minimalism for the sake of minimalism

Yes, minimalism is a huge appeal for many audiences. Simple design is not only straightforward, it’s also easy on the eyes and keeps the focus on what is important.

But! (And this is a major point to keep in mind). When something becomes too simple, it starts to take away from the meaningful experience people get when interacting with a website.

Take Kanye West’s Yeezy site for example. Lots of white space and nearly no content. If he wasn’t a major celebrity with an established base of millions of loyal followers, the message would not come across as successfully. However, it works for Kanye West’s personal brand, which is already well-established.

4. Skimping on mobile optimization

The number of mobile internet users is growing at an immense rate. 2019 recorded 3,986 million unique internet users and showed the amount of desktop browsing decreasing.

Needless to say, a mobile responsive website design is a must for any business. Scrolling through desktop sites on a phone can become tedious and frustrating. Do not give your prospective customers a reason to click away; offer them a website that they can access from any device.

Which also brings us to mobile speed which can be affected by large hero images and poor optimization. It is worth it to look how your site performs in Pingdom and GTMetrix to see where load time bottlenecks are.

5. Too many fonts

Good design requires a sense of fluidity. When a user visits a website, they need to feel some sort of cohesiveness between fonts on the page. Even those with minimal artistic training have some sense of unity and will notice when this becomes too chaotic.

In fact, having a good balance of fonts plays into the core principles of design. Good font choice can contribute to the rhythm, pattern, and balance of site which lead to good design overall.

Bonus: Just like fonts can create fluidity, your website should be on brand for your color scheme and design feel.

6. Social media overload

While it is smart to advertise your social media pages on your website, these should not be the main focus. Social media pages have their own purpose and it is unnecessary to use precious website space to highlight these.

People visit your site to find additional content to inform them about you, your business, etc. and if they are presented with all your social media feeds, it just leads to duplicate content. Remember your primary digital marketing goal should to drive traffic to your website and not a social media profile.

7. Promising great results without evidence

While we want customers to respond to our calls to action. However, consumers need proof to commit to buying a new product or service. After all, they are investing money in something they once knew little about.

Building a collection of trustful, credible content is as easy as including testimonies, reviews, or product pictures. It has been shown that 92 percent  of buyers want to see at least one review before committing to a product. Using these elements provides social proof and takes your site’s credibility up a level.

8. Too many elements

While you want to present your viewer with all the navigation options your site offers, you don’t want to overwhelm them with too many distractions. Too much clutter becomes harder to sort through and frustration can deter your viewers from exploring more of your site. Less options can translate into more conversions. Guide your users to where your highest converting offers are not everything your site has to offer.

9. Autoplay

Many web designers advocate for autoplay audio or videos, because this form of media almost guarantees the viewer will be exposed to whatever media is presented. But we’ve all heard of instances when loud music or video starts to play in the middle of a quiet room. It can be jarring and may only compel you to click away faster, without ever exploring the site further. Needless to say, you need to give your viewers control over their browsing experience.

10. Pop-ups

No one likes seeing pop-ups on the page they’re surfing. While pop-ads are good ways to generate additional income, too many of these can frustrate users and make them exit out of sites completely. Limiting the amount of visual disruptions to your viewers and ensures that the pop-ups that do appear are concise and contain elements that work to improve conversion rates.

11. Infinite Scrolling, Oh The Endless Pages

Just because websites have endless scrolling potential does not mean you need to employ it on your own website! At first thought, you would think that the more you have on your page, the better. But this isn’t the case. It is much easier to use links to redirect internet users rather than put them through the agony of scrolling to no end.

Considering the previously mentioned fact that millions are mobile phone users should drive this idea home. You do not want viewers to suffer from thumb fatigue due to scrolling. It is poor user experience unless you are a news feed or social media app. Let them get to the bottom of the page already.

12. Overusing animations

Animations can be a fun addition to websites and work well in moderation. Excessive animations, whether as backgrounds or random graphics can take the attention away from what’s really important-your message for your viewers. Keep animations to a minimum.

13. Hamburger menu

Hamburger menus are navigational tools that allow users to hover their mouse to uncover a side menu. They typically appear as three lines in the corner of a website.

The why this design element made the list is simple:

  • They reduce the importance of pages
  • Decrease engagement
  • Are less efficient overall by forcing viewers to go through extra steps just to access a bit of information.

While effective for mobile website design they should be considered with this in mind.

14. Interactivity

Many web designers choose to incorporate interactive features to entertain viewers. While this can make a site more interesting, it is usually overdone and distracts from the main message. If the interactive element does not serve the direct purpose out of your web design, it may be best to forgo it.

15. Hover menus

Hover menus may seem like a great way to organize your navigational bar. Unfortunately, they can keep users from exploring the entirety of your website, as they are forced to “hover” rather than clicking and engage. In addition, these menus require a certain level of dexterity which not all populations, like elderly, can easily move through.

Good Web Design: More Accessible Than You Think

So now that you understand what you should avoid if you want a website that is attractive to customers, you might be wondering how you can put together a beautiful website. At Eland Consulting, we are happy to help. We not only understand the logistics behind a good web design; we understand the psychology as well. Reach out to us today!

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A phone, not long at all. I promise we won’t bite. Initial phone calls usually last about 15-20 mins or less. You can call either 612-787-2179 or 612-247-2290 to start your project quote today. Timelines for projects depend on the engagement and scope of work. Website Design takes anywhere from 3 to 4 weeks to much longer for larger complex projects. Most small business websites take between 3 to 4 weeks. SEO really depends on the competitive landscape of your industry. Typically, we see upward trends starting in the first month and then more noticeable movement from 3-6 months.
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