Outdated Website Design Trends/Practices: What 2020 Taught Us

We are only halfway through 2020 and there are several web design trends and practices that were popular just a few months ago that now appear outdated. This is due in part to the fact that every few months our mobile devices and mobile technology improves. Something that was considered a good interface just a few months ago now seems outdated. As technology keeps moving forward, website design needs to continue to improve.

Web designers are constantly looking at the websites they create from a UI and UX point of view. They are finding that a lot of the design aspects that were popular just a year ago or even a few months ago are outdated and useless. Here is what 2020 has taught us so far about web design practices and trends.

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Huge Hero Images Are Now the Villain

Enormous hero images were all the rage when they first appeared on the scene. However, as a comic book character famously once said, “You will either live long enough to die a hero or live long enough to become the villain.”

This is what we are seeing with hero images. Every wannabe web designer who just learned what shared hosting is has used huge hero images like a fix-all to make their sites seem trendy. Many do not understand what it is that makes some hero images succeed and others fail.

Large hero images take over the entire screen. This might work if the site only has one purpose, such as to get customers to subscribe to a service. But if you are a contractor and you want to offer multiple services, your clients would have to scroll down past the hero image to see what it is you are trying to get them to do. Through 2019 and the start of 2020, hero images have been used incorrectly, diminishing the effectiveness of these websites.

Hamburger Menus Are a No-No

The idea of hamburger menus is great for mobile design. The problem is that over the past year more people are using hamburger menus in their traditional website design as well. Nothing can be as frustrating for a desktop or laptop user to click on a hamburger menu to find your menu. It’s frustrating.

Hamburger menus work on your mobile devices because they have a smaller screen, so the menu has a prominent place on the screen. However, a hamburger can easily be lost to the eye if a person is using their desktop or laptop.

Stock Photos That Are Obviously Stock Photos

There are a handful of stock photos that have circulated around the Internet. It’s not that they are just stock photos, but it is that they are obviously stock photos. For example, it is the group of cheery, young, and overly attractive executives strategically positioned standing around a desk and staring intently at a computer or a document in a pose that is so unreal it screams stock photography.

We are not saying that you should never use stock photos. But we are saying that you want to find photos that look realistic. If you need branded images, it might be worth it to hire a photographer. When they first came on the scene, stock photos were an inexpensive way to get photographs for your website without hiring a photographer. Now, they are so overused that when people see them, they feel like they are looking at something that is disingenuous, fake, or staged. People have an unconscious feeling of repulsion when they see stock photos because they feel like they are being sold something.

The year 2020 has been a year of soul-searching for many. People want something that feels real because it is real. That’s why you are seeing websites pulling away from stock photography and including real photos of actual employees on their websites.

Complex Navigation

Drop-down menus have lost their appeal. While visitors want more than a hamburger menu, they do not want to have to read through pages and pages of drop-down menus to find the information they need. A simple and minimal navigation menu that gives users the information they want and leads them toward the action you want them to engage in is best.

Complicated navigation distracts users and makes it difficult for them to find what they are looking for. Simplistic navigation leads to more conversions. This is especially important for users browsing on a desktop or laptop. Don’t make visitors hunt for navigation items because there is a lot of screen real estate to use.

An Overly Professional or Corporate Look

The year 2020 is shaping up to be a year marked by loss of trust in all things corporate. People don’t trust big brand names. They want to interact with real people as opposed to a faceless entity. Therefore, many big brand name companies are now hiring social media influencers to promote their products. It gives them a touch of legitimacy.

Jargon riddled copywriting is gone. Now, websites are designed with easy to understand language. The idea of putting your mission statement front and center or referring to your business in the third person won’t cut it anymore.

Instead, your website should have personal elements that put a human face on the products and services you offer. Perfection can no longer be the key. Slight imperfections can go a long way in humanizing your brand.

A Muted Color Scheme Is out

Muted colors are boring, corporate, and sterile. Switch out muted colors for vibrant colors. Futuristic color schemes, dual tones, and dark backgrounds catch the eye and appeal to modern audiences.

What Should We Expect from the Future of Web Design?

Honestly, it’s almost impossible to tell. An effective website will capture the viewer’s eyes, their mind, and their heart. And these things fluctuate based on what is going on in the world and what people are experiencing in their personal life.

What is true is that web designers need to keep up-to-date with the latest trends and practices. It shows that they care about their brand and the reputation and image of the people they are designing sites for. The only thing worse than having no website is for a business to have a website that looks outdated. However, by employing the latest in web design trends, you can give your site a vibrant, refreshed look.
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