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Web Trends of 2016

Trends come and go in fashion all the time, and the same can be said for trends in web design. The decision to follow a trend must depend on the needs of your users and your business; not just what other cool sites are doing! We’ve come up with a list of the trends that have emerged for 2016, and how you might want to think twice before using them…

 

Hiding everything under a “hamburger menu”.

3-Hamburger-IconThis “hamburger menu” is a term used to describe a hidden menu, often displayed by an icon that when clicked opens up all the options to navigate around the site. Designers often like to do this as it simplifies and tidies up the front page, especially since sites are increasingly accessed by mobile devices. However, this is not all it has cracked up to be; this doesn’t work for every site and can often reduce discoverability. This can be consequential for e-commerce sites or news sites for example as the discoverability of topics is crucial. Sometimes forcing users to access a navigation menu may create unnecessary friction, and can alienate some users. Don’t sacrifice usability and discoverability for pure aesthetics.

 

Front page carousels.

Carousels are great for adding visual interest and reducing clutter, however they can often be overused. Some of the negatives regarding the use of carousels are as follows:

They are bad for SEO – the lack of content means it is difficult to get meta information onto a page. Google no longer crawls through meta keywords so you need to make sure you have the necessary key words in the text below (or above!)

Adversely affect performance – often carousels contain high-res images that are under-optimised which as a result, slow down the loading time of the front page, which is bad! Sliders also make use of JavaScript or jQuery, which can also add to performance headaches.

Pushes content further down – we all know how to scroll these days; however, it’s still not recommended that you push content lower down the page. While Google’s recommendations are based on ad content above the fold, a carousel doesn’t offer much in value to the user. A study in 2013 shows only 1% of users click on carousels. Many just ignore them, a phenomenon known as banner blindness.

This is not to say don’t use carousels at all, but you should have a good reason for their inclusion. don’t use carousels at all, but you should have a good reason for their inclusion!

 

Too much JavaScript.

JavascriptJavaScript appears to be everywhere these days. Social plugins use them too. However, this can slow down a good site and users won’t stick around if a site is too slow. There are plenty of reasons JavaScript can hurt your site, a few of which are listed below.

Mobile browsing – this is adversely affected due to loading speeds.

Security – JavaScript can be exploited if it’s improperly implemented. This is often because it calls to other sites in order to make it work properly.

SEO – JavaScript isn’t crawled by search engines and so if your site has a lot, you might miss out on some keyword rankings.

But JavaScript can be a great tool to have on your site, don’t get us wrong, just don’t overuse it at the expense of your mobile browsing.

 

Complex typography.

Too many typefaces create a confusing and cluttered looking site, which reduces legibility and readability. However, rules are made to be broken and there’s nothing to say that you can’t use more than two typefaces to good effect! Aim for a clean and clear presentation that also reflects the brand’s visual style, also stick to fonts and typefaces that complement each other or are different enough to provide interesting contrast.

 

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!