Posted by GMI Blogger Posted in web design

Nov 10 2016 at 5:49am

When revamping your website, it’s tempting to go through a bunch of sites, grab the design points that stand out and use them as a reference. However, web design trends rise and fall. It’s perfectly okay to include the trends you like in your website. But before adding them, ask yourself this:

1. What are we trying to convey here?
2. Will it help or hinder the user experience?
3. Will it positively or negatively affect SEO?

The following web design strategies saw a boost in popularity this year, but there are a few good reasons why you shouldn’t apply them blindly.

Hamburger Menus

A hamburger menu is a button with a symbol made up of three parallel horizontal lines. It is usually placed in the top right corner of the homepage and contains additional page links. Web designers previously used a hamburger menu for mobile devices when the desktop menu was too wide to fit the screen, but in recent years it has moved to desktop.

By moving links off the navigation bar, a hamburger menu can provide a clean look. But unlike the standard menu, the hamburger menu is not instantly recognizable or discoverable. That’s why we don’t recommend this element for e-commerce or news sites, where discovery of items is important.

Parallax Scrolling

Parallax scrolling has its origin in Nintendo games. It’s an effect where the background content/visuals move at a different speed than the foreground content while scrolling. Site owners and users love it because of its smooth feel and the way it makes content “pop”.

However, it’s better not to use parallax if you want a site that works on desktop and mobile because it has drawbacks from the standpoint of UX and SEO.

1) Slow load times: The web designer needs to utilize complex scripts to achieve parallax scrolling. This clogs the loading times and is a turnoff for mobile users.

2) Reduced SEO: To compensate for this weakness, websites that use parallax tend to be one-page sites with minimal content. There’s not much text for search engines to crawl and this negatively affects the site’s rankings.

3) Usability issues: Unless your site is based on user content (like Twitter), stuffing your one-page site to improve SEO is a bad idea. This demands so-called “infinite scrolling” which can annoy the user. If you had to continuously scroll down a page to get information, you’d end up ditching it.

One example of parallax done right is Burger King’s McWhopper Proposal which uses it to tell a simple story with one very clear message.

Replacing Text with Visuals

Marketing wisdom says that visuals are more effective than text. Many site owners have taken this a step further, using videos, graphics, animations and icons in place of text to convey a message. From the user’s standpoint, these elements create a vibrant experience that keeps them interested.

But search engines don’t view a website the same way humans do. A search engine utilises text, alt text and code to determine the type and usefulness of content. Minimal content does not only mean poor SEO; too little text and too many visuals can obscure your brand’s message. Always use enough text that spells out your theme and what you want the user to do next.

Card-Style Design

What is card-style design? It is a layout consisting of boxy containers with content like text, links, videos, images, etc. that fit the website’s overall theme. For examples, check out DribbblePinterest and Trello.

Card-style design emerged as part of the shift toward flat design and simpler interfaces. It provides excellent compatibility with responsive frameworks due to its non-hierarchical visual structure, which ensures that all content can be perceived equally. A user can quickly scan the content and decide what to click based on their interests.

The drawback? There’s something to be said for content hierarchy; the lack of it in card-based design can make it frustrating for the user to find information. That’s why card-style layouts are unsuitable for corporate and business websites where it’s essential to deliver the right message to potential customers, in the right place.

When investing in web design, keep your goals on top, and only choose the design strategies that meet your requirements.

By using a combination of best practices and the latest trends in web design, we can create a great website that fits your purpose perfectly. Get in touch with the web design experts at GMI to know more.

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