As all 80’s fans know, trends change with time, and web design is no different. Web design is fluid and always morphing to fit the time, technology and content it’s dealing with. Some current trends are great, and we here at Blayzer love them! Others, well, not so much. Some trends we don’t love include banners, one-page sites and pop ups; here’s why:
These used to be the standard. When you pictured a site in your mind, you have a header section with logo, a navigation bar, and then a scrolling/rotating carousel of banner images promoting various aspects of your business. We find a few problems with this:
- Banner Blindness
People have developed “banner blindness”; they became so used to this layout, they stopped really seeing the images you’re putting out there.
- Site Performance
Loading and scrolling the images often causes delays in page loads and scrolling function. This frustrates the user and the experience they relate with your company is no longer a positive one, and that’s never a good thing.
- Below the Fold
Banners take up a good chunk of prime content space on your site and push more valuable content ‒ actual information, calls to action, products, etc. ‒ “below the fold”. In terms the youths might better understand, it makes people scroll to get to something valuable. This is never a good idea because people are impatient, and making them wait for pertinent information kills conversions.
The mobile revolution pushed this new style of website layout to the forefront — and like most new trends these days, it’s worn out fast. This might be a matter of personal preference, but we are not fans. Here’s why:
- Makes you work
One-page sites essentially merge the content from all your web pages into sections of one long page, often organized narratively. The user then scrolls or flicks through the sections to get the info. This layout has a good visual impact at first (arguably because it’s mobile-optimized and different from the older banner layout we all got bored of), but the novelty wears off quickly once you try and use the site.
- Thin on Content
Most one-page sites I’ve seen provide only surface level information. It’s the starter information, or the appetizer, that most people want in a summary page, not the whole website. Your website should give your user a four-course meal of relevant information. They shouldn’t have to go elsewhere for answers about your company, product, or services.
- Inefficient/Lack of User Control
Finding enough information on a one-page site is difficult enough, and it’s even more difficult to get back to that specific information if you need to pull it up again. The scrolling aspect of the one-page site takes the control away from the user. Instead of moving through the site and easily finding what they need, they are forced to conform to how you want it to be presented. This results in poor user experience, which can lose conversions.
Bonus editor’s note: This is also why you should be careful with your use of video. It’s fun and all, but it’s not the best for fast research, reference and recall. Be mindful and try to provide supplemental written content or transcripts. Providing written alternates is also better for SEO.
- Difficult for Marketers
These sites are also difficult for marketers to work with because many of the templates have no easy way to link to a specific section of content. If you absolutely MUST have a one-page site, try and pick a template that gives unique URLs to each content section so that your site and other marketing effort are easily integrated.
- What About Desktops?
In a strange turn of events, most one-page layouts are best viewed on mobile devices and not desktops. The reason is the content is usually huge images and typography, scroll-based navigation, and edge to edge design. Many give you a hamburger menu (the square button with three lines) for navigation ‒ on a desktop! Be sure to truly understand your audience and how they will be using your site. If you’re trying to capture email signups for a beta solution or product deals? You’re probably fine. If your site is part of a complex sales process with copious amount of information to explain and resources to provide, consider a different approach.
No one likes these, but it seems like everyone uses them. There is definitely a disconnect there. Pop ups are often intrusive, and they cover up your content you worked so hard to create (if you didn’t work that hard to create your content, we should talk).
A good example of this is when someone clicks to read one of your blog posts and before they get a chance to finish the first paragraph, your “sign up for our list” box pops up and blocks the copy. They probably don’t know if they want to join your list yet. They haven’t even finished reading your stuff.
Another example is when someone lands on your homepage to find out what you’re all about and chat requests are in the way. If they don’t know who you are yet, they probably don’t want to chat. If you must use these (because done right, they can work well), make sure you time them right. Wait until someone scrolls to the bottom of the page or stalls out for a set amount of time. The best bet is to use smaller widgets that capture attention without intruding or obscuring your content.
If you’re coming to the realization that your site might have these less than favorable trends, don’t panic. Blayzer can help you transform your website into the most functional and modern site it can be. And if you’re realizing you have these trends but don’t want to change, have no fear. Blayzer can help you, too, by optimizing these techniques and using them to the fullest extent.
Contact us for a FREE website design consultation and to see what we can do for your brand.