Design Trending in 2016

Trends in web design are like fashion, they come and go. A site designed on trends will quickly become outdated or “out of style” as stated in the fashion world. A decision to use trends should be based on the needs of the users and the business, not on fads or what the cool sites are using.

Designing websites with all kinds of bells and whistles tend to compromise performance, SEO, security, functionality and most importantly user experience. The use of flashy animations, graphics, rotating imagery, scrolling backgrounds, hamburger menus, popups, etc. often require heavy JavaScript usage that can also have an impact on a sites integrity.

Here are some web design trends that are being carried over into the design world in 2016, that you may want to consider before using.

Front-page Carousels
Carousels have become a very popular trend, they eliminate page clutter and can add visual interest. However due to their popularity, websites designed using carousels appear to be cookie cutter. Here are some significant reasons why carousels should to be used very carefully and optimized to ensure that they don’t compromise UX and accessibility.

Carousels can hurt SEO ratings and performance.
Google no longer crawls meta keywords. The lack of content on a page makes it difficult to get meta information into a page. Due to the high resolution of imagery, carousels can adversely affect the performance and slow down the load speed of the front page, not a good thing for visitors.

Parallax Scrolling
Parallax scrolling is another trend we have been seeing a lot of. Parallax scrolling is a technique that allows the foreground and background content to scroll at different speeds, which creates an illusion of depth. Parallax scrolling makes for a good page effect, however it has a few undesirable issues.

Parallax scrolling hurts SEO ratings and performance.
Sites that use parallax scrolling tend to be made up of one page with very little content that can be crawled by the search engines, resulting in poor SEO ratings. Parallax scrolling can compromise page performance due to the heavy use of graphics and javaScript, which tends to get clogged up, resulting in slow load speed.

Mobile devises especially have issues with slow load speed due to the use of too much javaScript. Even though sites that use parallax scrolling are fun and interesting, some visitors have experienced motion sickness when using websites that are designed with parallax scrolling.

Complex Fonts
Designers creating their own unique and complex fonts is a growing trend. However the use of too many different font types can create a site to appear cluttered and confusing, which can reduce readability and often times the legibility of the content. Interesting and unique fonts can enhance the look of a page, however they can be hard to decipher.

It’s best to keep the number of font types down to a minimal and stay consistent. When using interesting and unique fonts, it’s best to increase the letter spacing and keep with the same font families that work together. Just like colors, fonts have an impact on peoples emotions and feelings, for instance sans-serif font types feel reliable, script font types have a feeling of being traditional and haughty and Sans-Serif fonts types have a feeling of stability.

The Overuse of JavaScript
JavaScript has been a popular trend and is used everywhere these days. Social plugins and the majority of WordPress plugins heavily use JavaScript. JavaScript can be highly functional, it can be used for a lot of elements of functionality that other languages can’t, they can create nice load screens. JavaScript can be found in many of the modern libraries and some of the most popular used frameworks such as Backbone.js, Angular.js and Knockout.js. However there are many reasons that the overuse of JavaScript can hurt a site.

SEO
Search engines do not crawl JavaScrip, therefore it misses some of the keyword rankings.
Security
Like many other languages and scripts JavaScript can be exploited. The reason being, is JavaScript often calls to other sites in order for it to work properly, such as social plugins, which can be subjected to malicious code injection that is usually used to steal information.
Performance
Load speed is affected due to plugins, sliders and other functionalities and elements that create a lot of different JavaScript files. Mobile device browsing is adversely affected due to the load speeds.
Functionality
JavaScript can easily affect functionality, it can break parts of the site due to a bug.

JavaScript in general is not a bad thing, It allows designers to create some very cool and functional sites. However by reducing the amount of JavaScript used on a site will make the site more searchable, more secure and faster to load. When using JavaScript for responsive sites, only load the scripts that actually need to be on mobile devices, it will make the site much less painful for mobile device users.

Trends are just that, Trends
Some trends are a requirement, such as responsive design, which is a necessity for mobile devices. Other trends are industry shifts, such as the change back to flat design.

Web users are like TV remote channel surfers, they surf the web bouncing from site to site to get the information they need. If a site is slow to load due to bloated graphics and all the trendy bells and whistle, most likely the users will not stick around to wait for the page to load and will move on.

Bottom line, think twice before loading your site up with trendy bells and whistles just because it is fashionable. Remember that user experience and data are the goal and that less is more. Work towards keeping designs simple, clean and flat.

Keep in mind that CSS3 and HTML are always adding more elements to use for adding functionality to a site which can eliminate the overuse of JavaScript, but that’s a whole other topic for another time!

About cybercat

I blend art and technology to craft websites that are beautifully balanced and user friendly at an affordable price. I cater to small entrepreneur businesses, artists and crafters who want a compelling and expressive website that will effectively showcase their products and services. I am committed to providing my clients with an online presence by designing a website that reflects their unique business and will engage the interest and attention of their viewing audience.
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