1. Hiding Everything Under a Hamburger Menu
As mobile devices became commonplace, designers started simplifying navigation and hiding it under a hamburger menu. It’s a trend that’s also crept into the desktop version of websites.
For example, the Squarespace site uses a navigational drawer across its site, regardless of device.
As they point out, here’s a couple ways to tell if hiding global navigation is for you:
It’s understandable why this is appealing. Placing navigation under a hamburger menu makes a site cleaner, sleeker. And most people are familiar enough with the pattern. But this isn’t something that works for every site and can reduce discoverability.
The consequences can be harmful for e-commerce sites and news sites, where discoverability of topics and items is critical to the experience. As explained in Web Design Trends 2015 & 2016, forcing users to open the navigation menu in this situation may create unnecessary friction.
Skyrocketing bounce rates on landing pages. Users won’t stick around if global navigation isn’t obvious, making it hard for them to browse the site. Web Designers should plan before wire framing key essential is to make users not to bounce of the page
Where users are clicking. Are they actually clicking the hamburger menu? If not and combined with high bounce rate, then you know something is amiss. You can check the clicks with heatmapping tools from CrazyEgg and Usability Tools.
User behavior determines whether you should use a hidden navigation drawer on a full-desktop site. Don’t sacrifice usability and discoverability for pure aesthetics.
2. Front-page Carousels
These days, carousels seem to be everywhere. They can add visual interest and reduce clutter. But with their overwhelming use, they’ve made a lot of sites feel cookie cutter.
Not to mention, there’s an argument that this is one trend we should put to rest.
A few things to consider:
Carousels are bad for SEO. The lack of content means that it’s difficult to get meta information into a page. This is especially true as Google no longer crawls meta keywords (although Bing does) and so will take keyword information from the page. Of course, you can have the word count below the carousel, in the body of the page. Most sliders though contain headers that are wrapped in H1, and these change when the slider does and as such, devalue keywords within them.
Pushes Content down below the fold. While above the fold content is perhaps not as important as it once was (we all know how to scroll these days), it’s still not recommended by Google that you push content lower down the page. While the search giant’s recommendations are based on ad content above the fold, a carousel really doesn’t offer much in the way of value to the user – it’s just pretty.
Tends to be inaccessible. Even the best frameworks out there can’t fully solve the issues of accessibility that surround carousels as there are so many to address.
Further to this, just a 2013 study showed that just 1% of people click on carousels. And many simply ignore them and don’t note the content, thanks to the phenomenon known as banner blindness.
All of this is not to say that you shouldn’t use carousels at all in your designs, but you should have a good reason for their inclusion aside from that the client likes it. Carousels can work, but they should be carefully crafted and web optimized to ensure that they don’t compromise UX and accessibility.
The sliding animation powering carousels, for instance, is certainly a useful tool for other design elements. For instance, you can try a sliding navigation drawer for your mobile viewport. As shown in the below prototype created in UXPin with the no-code animations editor, the sliding animation allows the user to “shelve” and reveal content as needed.
Unlike a carousel, a sliding animation doesn’t require a user to scroll through multiple frames. The content simply pops in and out of view as required.
3. Parallax Scrolling
In recent years we’ve seen more sites appear that make use of parallax scrolling.
The parallax technique allows the foreground and background content to scroll at different speeds, creating an illusion of depth. It can be used to very good effect, but it’s debatable if it can be described as having good UX.
Parallax has a few potential issues:
Bad for SEO. As sites that utilize parallax scrolling tend to be made up of one page, there’s usually little in the way of content that can be crawled by the search engines. This is especially true as text tends to be embedded in graphics.
Can affect users negatively. The Journal of Usability Studies carried out research on parallax which found that whilst the parallax site was considered to be more fun than non-parallax sites, some users experienced “motion sickness and experienced significant usability issues when interacting with the parallax website.”
However, parallax scrolling can add another dimension to a site and allow it to stand out. But as we listed, there are trade-offs if you want to create a site that works on both desktop and mobile, then parallax really isn’t for you.
4. Complex Load Screens
Remember back in the day when you might hit a website only to be greeted with a Flash animated load screen that you were forced to sit through before you could enter a site? Users will bolt from a site that takes more than 10 seconds, and that could affect your bottom line.
We can assume the site has something to do with filmmaking, but there’s nothing really to confirm our assumptions. The Apple icon allows you to open the video in iTunes, but the URL when entered on iPad just says server can’t be found.The second example above is somewhat tedious and you find yourself watching the counter slowly climbing to 100%. As the image and percentage counter is right in the center bottom of the screen, it’s also quite dull.
Once the screen is fully loaded, there’s plenty of interactive options. Elements bounce in quickly and the navigation options are clear. Moving the mouse around also moves the stars in the background. This creates consistency with the load screen and also pays off for the user waiting.
Mobile browsing is adversely affected. This is due to load speeds.
Easily affects functionality and ‘breaks’ parts of a site due to a bug. You can learn more about bugs and how to avoid and fix them using web resources such as PluralSight.
6. Complex Typography
While you can use multiple typefaces, I generally wouldn’t recommend more than two.
Too many typefaces creates a confusing and cluttered looking site, which reduces legibility and readability.
Here’s a few tips:
Experiment with fonts. Aim for clean and clear presentation that also reflects the brand’s visual style.
Stick to fonts and typefaces that complement each other or are different enough to provide interesting contrast. Consider too what the font/typeface says to the user on a psychological level. People have similar responses to certain fonts as they do to colors. Believe it or not, emotions and feelings are also tied to typography. A serif has an air of formality. A sans-serif feels reliable. A script can be haughty.
If you want your business to be seen as traditional, go with a serif. If you want it to be seen as stable, a sans-serif is your best choice.
Good Designers Are Good Skeptics
Some fantastic trends have emerged as best practices in recent years.
Minimalism inspired a raft of sites that are clean, fast and easy-to-use. Meanwhile responsive web design helps many businesses worry less about designing for a constant stream of new devices. Good trends come along and tend to stick, but there will always be some that are ill thought out.
Above all else, user needs must inform your design the most. When a new trend pops up, always consider it from every angle before following the crowd.