It can’t be denied that web design is largely trend-led, but that doesn’t mean you should jump on every bandwagon going. Common sense still needs to prevail because even the hottest trend of the moment might not suit your particular niche, and let’s face it, much like with fashions in a wider sense, some of them aren’t exactly the look you want to go for. You wouldn’t want to go too far because otherwise you’ll be left with a chaotic mess that doesn’t suit the sole purpose of your website (to attract and keep customers), so here are a few web design trends that you should think twice about:
A separate mobile site. OK, mobile optimisation is everything these days, but it doesn’t mean you have to develop a totally different site. A lot of smartphone users tend to prefer the desktop version anyway, so rather than go for a complete re-design you simply need to tweak things—go for adaptive design techniques to slightly alter the way content is viewed on different devices, perhaps changing image sizes and subsequent download speeds (for example) to improve the overall experience whilst retaining the same design ideals of the original.
Lightboxes. These are somewhat similar to third party pop-ups, but instead of advertising an external site a lightbox appears over content and offers (for example) a sign-up option for the website. Whilst it can be an effective way to increase the number of email sign-ups it’s important to use with caution—much like pop-up ads, this is a relatively aggressive technique and can put visitors off if you’re not careful, so if you’re going to use it make sure to limit its appearance and make it easy to close to ensure you don’t drive traffic away.
Header carousels. These flashy automatic image sliders are often more style than substance, and despite the fact this trend sweeping the design world like wildfire there’s actually no evidence to suggest it’s effective at increasing conversions. In fact, it could be just the opposite—a lot of visitors will actually ignore this particular element which means important content could easily be missed, meaning it might be best to utilise more tried and trusted techniques rather than focusing on something so overtly flashy.
Take a look at a few websites and chances are you’ll see some of these trends coming into play, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to follow suit. It’s important to think about what works for you and your business rather than following the crowd—at the end of the day it’s vital to give your customers a great user experience, and whilst it’s important to stay modern you don’t want to go too OTT simply for the sake of it. So, make sure to carefully consider each web design trend before you dive right in and you could come out on top with a design that works.