Make sure your website isn’t a bore!
Anyone else feel like the web is getting a little bit boring these days? We’re growing tired of seeing the same layouts, imagery, and user experience over and over and over again.
You might not notice (or mind) the pattern, but you can’t help noticing the outliers. As designers, this creates and opportunity to wow your customers with unique layouts, graphics, and imagery that are anything but cliche. By interrupting the patterns we are so used to seeing that we don’t truly “see” them anymore, we can make our website stand out, capture attention, spark a sense of discovery, effectively communicate our messages, and leave a lasting impression.
Sounds great, right?!
In a rapid technology shifting landscape it can be easy for web designers to fall back on following trends instead of setting them. Unfortunately, one man’s trend is another’s cliche.
What is the nature of a cliche?
- Lowest common denominator
- Clear, but forgettable
- Excuse of usability
- Clients love them.
The problem with cliches isn’t that they’re bad. It’s that they’re bland. Imagine if every book or movie followed the same story arc. What if every song had the same beat?
What are the costs of following cliches?
- Lack of inspiration
- Unintentionally alienate your customers
What are some examples of modern web design cliches?
- One-Page Sites
- Mobile responsive, but not optimized
- Widgets galore
- Pop Ups, Lightboxes, Overlays,
- Autoplay Media
- Social Media Overload
- Flat design
- Icons everywhere
- Boring Fonts
- Uninspired color palettes
- Blue & Gray/Silver
- Black & White
- Orange/Amber & Teal
- Stock Photos
- Jargon & Buzzspeak
- Silly Job Titles
- Hero images
- Video backgrounds
- Parallax scrolling
- Candid photos
- Click less, scroll more
- No more hover (thank mobile for that one!)
- Organic lines – smokey, liquid, furry
- Lithographic textures
- Flat gives way to deco/pop
What to do? Liz’s Tips for Avoiding Cliches & Making Your Website Stand Out
To help steer your design decisions away from the cliche, we tapped Blayzer’s lead designer and front-end programmer, Liz Belew, for her best tips to help make your website stand out from the crowd. Here’s what we got:
- Know your audience (and your client, if you’re an agency like Blayzer).
- Know the trends
- Research competitors
- Follow a creative design process
- Sketch by hand
- List all needs
- Create & evaluate – don’t edit along the way
- Find & fix clichés
Beware of Web Banners
Web banners are far too popular on websites today. As a web-based community, it is our job to use these banners in the correct context. Failure to do so could result in an unsuccessful website, and less success enticing customers to your website. While banners can be a nuisance to surfers on the web, using them properly can actually help your website layout. If your web design team does advocate the use of banners be certain to make sure that your banners are relevant to your site, updated regularly, and user-friendly for visitors to your site.
No More Popups
We think that this one should be rather self-explanatory. Nobody enjoys popups on their computer! Whether it’s a advertisement or an invitation to chat with somebody who can assist them further, people just do not enjoy those colorful boxes popping up on their browser. It is seen as a nuisance or a scam by your customer even if you believe your website is just simply trying to help them more efficiently. Try and find another way to mitigate the process for your customer.
One Page Websites
The use of one page websites is still a practice used today. While this may have been an effective way to get quick information out to your customer back in the early 2000’s, in the year 2015 it can come across as a lack of effort on your organizations part. There are, however, a few types of industries that could benefit from a well put together and well thought out one page website. These industries include the fashion industry, the entertainment industry, and the technology sector. These are good industries to use a parallax site because they are more trendy and artistic in nature. A one page site typically does not have the same wow factor as a neatly organized site because it is so much more difficult to navigate. Make it easy for your customers and organize the site well by breaking it up into several different pages.
Don’t Forget your Audience
Whenever you are designing a website you need to make sure that you have your audience in mind. For example, if you are designing a site for a retirement home or care center you need to realize that your audience is a little older. This means do not implement obnoxious bright flashing lights or difficult interface for them to interact with. Instead, keep your website short and to the point for their convenience.
Not Just Another Sales Pitch!
This idea goes hand in hand with tip 4 and is one of the biggest clichés that one will encounter in the web world. When designing your site, you need to realize that the website is not for your personal use, but rather for your customers. With that being said, be sure to get a feel for what your customer will enjoy on the site not simply what you think will drive up sales. In other words, if your customers or website users believe your website is nothing more than an extended sales pitch they will be less likely to consider you as a provider. Be sure to make the website user friendly and in the customer’s best interest for the best results.