Exploring Website Trends that have Died and Shouldn’t be Resurrected
Websites are so commonplace in our modern society that it’s hard to imagine that they’ve only been around for 30 years. During that time, we’ve seen a lot of website trends disappear, some with very good reason. Let’s explore a few of the more recent casualties.
Rotating Website Banners
Even a few short years ago, most websites featured a carousel of banners at the top similar to the above example. Why? Because the wisdom at the time was that you should fit as much information as possible “above the fold” or on the initial portion of the screen that was visible. The banner’s ability to flash between designs and messages could draw attention to many different marketing messages.
Why don’t rotating banners work anymore?
- Research showed that click-through-rates on banners were low
- Having too many messages actually detracted from the importance
- The likelihood that content will be missed is far greater
I don’t mean unresponsive as in it doesn’t have a pulse, although it is a dead trend, so it doesn’t have that either. What I am speaking about is websites that do not adapt to different device widths. Obviously, people access websites from a variety of devices now from mobile phones to tablets and desktops, so ensuring that your website content is relevant and easy to read is of utmost importance.
Here’s an extreme example of what a non-responsive design would look like:
Luckily, there aren’t too many websites with this problem nowadays. But there are sites with poor mobile design that seems like an afterthought .
Why don’t non-responsive sites work anymore?
- Over half of website traffic comes from mobile, your customer should have an optimal experience across devices
- Slow-loading sites increase the rate that people bounce off of the website
- If important elements extend beyond the safe thumb-swipe zone, it’s still not optimized
Home Button / Navigation
As you can see in the above example, the navigation bar includes a variety of links, but no “home” button. I know some might still be grieving the loss of these links/buttons in navigation menus but have we really missed anything? By now most users know that by clicking the logo anchored in the top of the website, we can get back to the index page (that’s web-designer for Homepage). This frees up the navigation to present actionable links that can drive conversions or get users to where they want to be faster.
Why don’t home buttons work anymore?
- It adds a non-action button or link to the navigation without adding unique function
- Navigation buttons in general are old news, text navigation is best and more accessible
Designing websites today should include a mobile-first strategy that looks to accommodate the user’s experience above all. That experience includes design and using trends that are on their way out is a surefire way of dating your brand. Strive for clean design with prominent Calls to Action and visuals that engage the customer instead of distracting them.
For more tips on web design, check out my previous post on accessibility.