Should You Blindly Follow Website Design Trends? UX Design Trends That Can Backfire
Let’s take a step back and define what a client is looking for in a professional website design & development agency in Dubai. Website design serves to create engaging user experiences which in turn help the visitors achieve the key objectives (get informed, get in touch, buy a product…) We can simplify and say that a good website increases conversions.
However many agencies that do website design in Dubai tend to take shortcuts and rely on simple aesthetics achieved by copying common designs and popular trends. The issue with trends is that while it’s good to be in the loop and apply new designs to improve the user experience, if they are used unquestioningly they can actually confuse the user and hurt the business objectives.
An experienced website design agency will help you find the balance between an aesthetically appealing UI, great UX and measurable results.
In the meanwhile, here are some common UX trends you should think twice about before applying to your website:
1. Unique navigation
Many times website designers will go for themes with a minimalist or creatively designed menus. However, if the website is intended for average users, most of them are used to standard headers (and hamburger menus on mobile) and will not be able to understand how to navigate the website where the user interface is so unfamiliar.
2. Using large sticky headers
As the exact opposite from the first point, many UX designers do understand the importance of a visible header with navigation menu, however, a sticky, fixed header can take up way too much space on the website, blocking the content as it scrolls underneath. One must consider the size and value of a header too – if it’s too large it will throw the website off-balance. A sticky header can definitely be useful for navigation, but we advise to make it slightly transparent when scrolling to allow the content to shine through.
3. Unreadable fonts
Thin, light coloured fonts undoubtedly look elegant and refined, so no wonder they are popular with website designers. But are they readable? Legibility is mandatory for a good UX design, not merely an option. If the designer doesn’t have the discretion to apply it well, know which parts to emphasize and which backgrounds to use, the beautiful typography becomes a detriment. It is also important to test it on all major devices and make sure it works well on cheaper displays because what looks good on web designer’s high-quality monitor can translate poorly to the user’s experience.
Further, just because something looks good in general doesn’t mean that it works for every brand and business objective. Certain websites need a “louder” look and feel and work well with a more striking copy. Not every brand needs sophisticated elegance. A good website needs to communicate brand identity and create brand recall, so this is an important factor which should guide the design over current trends. Talk to a good branding agency in Dubai for more advice!
4. Minimalist content
Many companies who do web development in Dubai are falling in love with minimalistic, content-free websites they see being used by some big brands. Yes, these can look nice, but the average user can get so confused by the UI that the bounce rate will skyrocket. What works for a well-known global brand whose place on top of every search engine is guaranteed does not work for the majority of businesses. Lack of content leads to low search engine ranking and ruins the SEO efforts, while the visitors fail to get the needed information about the company.
5. Low contrast copy and imagery
Another way of making the design more elegant and minimalist is to use low contrast and avoid overly striking colours and aggressive designs. However, this too can reduce readability and translate poorly to users’ lower-quality monitors. We are not saying you need to resign to jarring designs, just that user experience needs to be taken into consideration. Even a slight increase of contrast can make a big difference, and by using good placements and arrangements, important parts of the copy can still shine without visually assaulting the user.
6. Scroll hijacking
Scroll hijacking or “scrolljacking” is a design choice that allows the website to control how the user scrolls down the website. Apple made this popular by using it on its impressive and unusual website that uses scroll hijacking and parallax effects combined with its hi-res product images. But let’s be realistic – Apple is one of the world’s leading brands whose clientele expects unique and exclusive concepts. What works for Apple doesn’t work for most other businesses who are reaching out to users of different technological competence for different purposes. By trying to imitate Apple, instead of impressing your visitor, you will end up confusing and frustrating them.
7. Poorly thought-out call to action buttons
Compelling your visitor to behave in a certain way is the essence of good website design. A call to action serves to explain to users what they need to do, resulting in enquiries and conversions. But from the designers’ point of view, the CTA buttons are often seen as an afterthought, and not enough time is spent on figuring out how to make them visible and appealing. To work with the minimalist theme, designers often blend the button with the background and make it very discreet which completely defeats the purpose of having a call to action.
8. Indiscriminate use of Carousels
A carousel is a slideshow which rotates through an array of content. They are very common, especially on homepages and landing pages. They are a good way for designers to organize a bulk of content without cluttering the website – and sometimes that’s great! But they can easily be a UX mistake if the website developers don’t account for user behaviours.
What ends up happening is that people scroll past carousels and miss the majority of content within them, because no one stops and waits for them to rotate. If you rely on the idea that your visitors will see the content in the carousel, then they are potentially a big mistake.
Carousels are fine if they are used as an attractive decoration, while still using supporting methods to inform the user of their content. Putting navigational arrows is beneficial as it informs the user there is more to see, and allowing them to get to it themselves, however, many designers effectively hide the arrows by making them small and low-contrast. By enabling the user to navigate the carousel more clearly and bringing attention to the information within the carousel, you can turn it into a useful tool that visually supports the content. Otherwise, you might want to rethink it.
When you notice a cool UI trend, think it through before implementing it. Ask your website design agency to explain the purpose and usability of different website design elements beyond them simply looking good. Make sure to test and do research to see how the users react to new trends and if the website is still effective and clear to them.
Keep in mind, a good design is above all usable. You don’t always have to reinvent the wheel and fix what isn’t broken. A good dose of familiarity adds to the ease of use, and with a few wisely-chosen innovations your website can both stand out and still be easily understandable.
By measuring results and doing website analytics you can test the impact of new design elements. If you feel you could be getting more out of your website and aren’t happy with your conversion rates, it is time to reach out to a full-service web design agency in Dubai that can offer some advice.