Trends in website design change from year to year. Yet in an age of unrivalled digital creativity there are many elements and styles applied by creative design services which reappear in hundreds of places; what was once an innovative or new take on web design can become omnipresent and stale very quickly. In this article we take a look at 5 of the main design elements which were used – and overused – in 2014.
1. Dull typefaces
In the good old days when websites were in their infancy, everyone used the same two or three typefaces, and there’s been an unfortunate return to those days – whether it’s seen as good practice to throw some Arial or Courier fonts at your homepage, it is dull to view, dull to read and definitely lacks both creativity and imagination. Sure it may look functional, but often a website is used to generate interest or lead to a purchase – and few things are less appealing than dull blocks of text that look like they’ve been reproduced from a technical manual!
2. Use of stock photos
Few things are as big a turn off as seeing the same imagery used across hundreds of websites. In an age where digital photography is ubiquitous and cameras and phones can deliver great images in seconds, why pay to use the same stock photos as everyone else?
3. Making your site compatible on all systems
Internet usage on mobile platforms has now grown to the point where it has started to outstrip conventional desktop or laptop browsing – from smartphones to iPads and other tablets, users are accessing content in increasing ways. Any good website design agency will push its abilities at making sites compatible on all devices, yet sometimes websites that have been optimised to work on all platforms can lose that extra sparkle. There are lots of ways to scale and deliver content; don’t dumb down your site simply to tick the compatibility box.
4. Full screen photos
Full screen images on specialist photography sites can look incredible, selling a product or an ethos most effectively. Using a full screen photo on your law school page or a site advertising accountancy services – perhaps not. This is one growing trend that really ought to be restricted to where it works best.
5. Load screens
Broadband and network access has generally become faster year on year; with ever more savvy designers and programmers who know how to write efficient code, why on earth would a website take so long to load that you’d need to show the visitor a loading screen? Sort out your code, optimise your imagery, and get back to basics!
With a little care and attention, it’s easy to produce a dynamic, exciting website which not only adheres to correct standards and good design principles but doesn’t simply become another formulaic web presence. One or two of the elements discussed here are appropriate for certain types of website, but think carefully before incorporating them on a site which could be better served with other designs or features.