Having a sleek, stylish, and modern website is never a bad thing, but some design trends could actually be seriously damaging the impact your website has on its users — and a few could be turning them away completely.
That’s why we think that it’s far better to have a clean, straightforward site like this one.
Here we take a look at the current crazes that might be causing your readers to hit the back button, and explain just why they are so harmful to the usability of your site.
Introductory landing screens
A huge number of websites have introduced full-screen introductory images and videos to their landing pages, designed to immediately immerse the user in a so-called “branding experience.”
While this is obviously an attractive idea to those behind the branding, a visiting user will likely not enjoy being forced to seek out or wait for basic features, such as navigation and search, and may end up looking for fulfillment elsewhere.
This trend also has the side effect of slowing down the journey of the user, increasing the amount of time it takes to locate the information they are looking for.
Parallax scrolling, or scrolljacking, is another example of pushing an “experience” onto the user at the expense of usability.
Hijacking the scrollbar of a website to skip or speed the user to certain sections of a page can easily end up causing frustration or confusion, especially when this novelty gets in the way of casual browsing.
Simply put, taking away control from the reader with fancy animations and movements is not user-friendly, and can complicate browsing your site to the extent of becoming a hindrance.
Excessive grid layouts
Grid layouts are a time-tested quick and easy way to provide a clean and readable experience for your website’s visitors, but many designers are throwing the usability principle of hierarchy and emphasis out the window by restricting all content excerpts and headlines into equal, tight-fitting boxes without any distinguishable features.
While it may be neat and tidy, this method makes scanning a page for information much more difficult for the reader. Picture a newspaper where every article is given the same amount of space and emphasis — how easy and time-consuming would it be to find the content that is important?
Preloaders are temporarily displayed animated images used to communicate to the viewer that the content of the website is still in the process of loading, so at first glance it is easy to assume they are a user-friendly invention. However, a user visiting with specific intentions will likely just hit the back button if the first thing they encounter on your website is a loading screen. Why? It makes your website look slow.
Consider this — if your site requires preloaders just to visit the landing page, your website has already marked itself out as inefficient and unattractive to visitors.
Perhaps inspired by the ease of convincing users to create accounts to use mobile apps, some websites, like Pinterest, have begun to force users to register before even being able to view the content or basic premise of a website.
However, finding a website through a search engine is not like downloading and installing an app from an online store — there are no reviews or ratings to convince the user of its quality. And, with only one click invested in visiting the site, it is much more likely the user will simply click away and find a more convenient way to meet their needs.
It’s already mid-2023, so do some late-spring cleaning to spruce up your website design so that it entices visitors, not scares them away.