Trends come and go, whether you're talking about fashion, music, or web design. When it comes to having a great website, it's important to keep it up to date with the latest design. Even looking at a website that seemed amazing a few years ago, it can now seem dated and out of step with today's best sites. Worse yet, it might not even function properly on the mobile devices more of us are using for browsing on the go.
Here are seven of the big web design trends that are already out of date, and why you should avoid them on your site:
1. Unwanted popups
Whether you are inviting visitors to like you on Facebook, join your newsletter, enter a competition, or chat with a live representative, nobody wants to see your popup. They can be very annoying for visitors, and can detract from the great website they do want to see.
2. Stock photos
It used to be a given that any image was better than no image, so lots of sites started filling up with stock photos. However, this is no longer the case. Every visitor can spot a stock photo a mile away and they've learned to ignore them, knowing they don't represent what you really do. Instead, ditch the overused and unoriginal stock photography and replace it with real images of your company's work.
3. Flash intros
Although Flash used to be the big web design trend, it's rapidly becoming an internet dinosaur thanks to smartphones. Some of the most popular mobile devices simply don't support Flash. It's also not Google friendly, so a Flash intro can hurt your search engine optimisation efforts.
4. Autoplay videos
Including a video on your website is fine; having it start playing automatically is not. Whether you have it on your homepage or any other page of your site, you should never force visitors to watch your videos. Like popups, it can cause major annoyance and even send a potential customer running to your competition.
5. Huge banners on the homepage
The huge banner trend is the bell bottom trousers of web design. A few sites might be able to pull them off, but for most it's just not a good look. Many visitors can feel they're overbearing and take up valuable space that could be used for content.
6. Long winded text
Visitors want you to get to the point clearly and quickly. Bullet points are a great alternative to long paragraphs, especially as they make it easy to skim your content on a mobile device.
7. Animated sidebars
Like popups, these can make your visitors very annoyed and distract from the content you want them to focus on. Whatever you have included, whether it's social feeds, promotions, news, weather, or a photo gallery, don't animate it. It will be eye catching, but for all the wrong reasons.