A visually stunning Web site may not be user-friendly, just as site that rates high on usability may have no visual appeal. Either site will send visitors clicking the back button. If you’re redesigning your Web site or creating it for the very first time, take a look at some of the outdated Web trends below and our suggestions for alternatives.
1. Small text
- Strains readers’ eyes
- Visitors are more likely to click away than read small text
Solution: Increase your fonts to a size that makes on-screen reading comfortable.
2. Not enough white space
- Makes it difficult for visitors to find what they’re looking for
- Can give the impression that your company is disorganized
Solution: Create clean designs with empty space between content that allows the eye to rest as it moves from element to element. Empty space can help lead the eye to your most important messages and images.
3. Clever, but unclear navigation schemes
- Visitors will become confused
- Visitors will click away when the can’t immediately figure out how to navigate
Solution: Use standard, consistent navigation. Because visitors are already familiar with these schemes, they can easily work their way through your Web pages.
Solution: Create a logo that is timeless and versatile. Because a logo is part of your long-term branding strategy, it needs to be highly recognizable to your customers and the general public. Recognition takes time, so if you jump on the latest logo trends, you risk looking behind-the-times or losing any recognition you’ve earned when you redesign.
5. Unnecessary reflections below objects
Solution: Use reflections only where they fit logically into the design. For example, if you have an image of water or a wet surface, a reflection would make sense. Avoid them on regular Web pages. If you want to create a sense of depth, try using a shadow instead.
6. Blinking images
Solution: Find a new way to add emphasis to an important element or idea. There are many ways to do this. You can redesign your page to give the most important elements the largest space, use contrasting color or elements to draw a visitor’s attention to the most important parts of the page.
7. Busy backgrounds behind text
- Difficult to read
- Likely to turn visitors away
Solution: Use a solid color background (white is the best) with a highly contrasting text color (black is the best).
8. Flash homepages
- Many people do not have the latest version of Flash software
- Many people are unwilling to download the software
- People are likely to click away
Solution: Choose a creative graphic or image on your regular homepage rather than using a Flash animation. If you cater to a niche audience that is likely to have Flash or want to see your content badly enough to download it, make sure you offer a link to a free flash download and offer a link to skip the animation for those who do not want to see it.
9. Aqua style icons and buttons
Solution: Update your icon and button styles with a more current look. The aqua style was introduced in the 2000 Apple computer user interface and became a fixture on Web sites and software interfaces for years. Current design trends have moved away from this look toward less-shiny variations.
10. Rounded corners
Solution: Use rounded corners only when they communicate something about the content on the page, not as a default style. When a page deals with organic images or themes that suggest roundness, rounded corners can enhance a design. Overuse of rounded corners is a sign of an inexperienced designer. To keep your Web designs fresh and professional, consider the reasons behind each design choice you make.