From innovative to overused: 5 design trends to avoid in 2015

web design trendsTrends 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.

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How good is your mobile site? Quick health check

mobile website, responsive design

Statistically speaking, there’s every chance you could be browsing this article on a mobile device, like almost 60% of today’s Internet users. And with on-screen real estate at a premium on mobile devices, there’s literally no room for site-design errors where tablet and smartphone access is concerned. So here are a few of the defining attributes of a mobile site to discuss with your brand design agency:

Micro Design

Simply downsizing your desktop website is not the answer, you need to modify your approach to work in the smaller environment. There’s often a need to streamline your content, you might also need to redesign navigation systems, consider the volume of copy and the size of your text. Remember too that users experience variable loading speeds and many people won’t even bother with a site that places heavy demands on mobile resources.

Touch Navigation

Unlike desktop machines, most handheld devices use touch-screen navigation, so your site must be optimised for this feature. Menus, buttons and other touch targets must be well-spaced to ensure your visitors can access the features they want, and thus give you the conversion rates you anticipate.

Searchable Solutions

Some sites cram in too much content, which can make the information you need tricky to find. If your website is an information resource that’s heavy on content, it’s far better to have a prominent search function that is highly visible and easy to access. And if it’s a ‘sticky’ menu that remains on top during scrolling, that’s even better. Having a search function can not only frees up valuable space on in your navigation, it can also save your visitors valuable time and effort.

Mobile-optimised Functionality

You will know the most common features your mobile customers are looking for. Therefore your design should aim to make these high-profile items on your site which are both unmissable and extremely easy to execute.

Review and Refine

Accommodating your mobile customers must remain a business priority, which in turn means your mobile site should be fine-tuned to behave predictably in order to serve this purpose. So, test frequently to assess cross-platform reliability, as well as speed and convenience.

The handheld digital world is moving rapidly so a digital agency represents the quickest and most efficient way to translate your real-world ideas to the small-screen digital domain.