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Bye-Bye to These 10 Web Design Trends

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When technology is ever evolving, change is the only constant. Take, for instance, the realm of Web design. Design trends come and go. Some may only breeze by while others last longer. Either way, design trends come into being and fade because of changes in technology and user demands and expectations.

As long as human beings desire improvement and expect more, design trends will continually evolve. And we need to learn to adapt accordingly. Often, that means saying goodbye to design trends that are no longer working.

So here are 10 Web design trends that are among the fading; you should ditch them if you want to keep with the competition and increasingly demanding audiences.

1. Complicated Designs

"Less is the new more" seems to be the new mantra of Web designers.

The last couple of years have been tremendous for flat design, including the minimalist approach of Apple's iOS7. And when Apple does something, the rest of the world seems to follow suit. In 2014, in particular, simple and minimalist designs achieved great momentum. The trend is even hotter in 2015.

For a great example of minimalism, look no farther than Apple's website. You don't even have to be a fan to see that the giant brand has been on point with its trademark minimalistic design.

2. Mobile Versions

Do you remember flashy websites that are visually stimulating but take time to load, especially in your mobile phone? Designers' solution back then was to create mobile versions. But that trend is gone. Today, designers are more innovative, creating responsive designs that seamlessly provide a more enjoyable mobile experience to their audience. Responsive design, in fact, has become the new standard for Web design.

Nike Megastore uses responsive designs: Whether you're on your desktop or mobile, the experience is designed to be equally seamless.

3. Text-Heavy Sites

As visual media continues to gain importance across the Internet, including websites, expect to see less text and more visual stimulation.

Videos are now easier and less expensive to produce, and more websites are including them in their content plans. Web pages are also incorporating more images even as they share their text content.

Content, in other words, is becoming more interactive.

In addition to using responsive and minimalistic design, Tesla's site has done well with interactive content, using large images, infographics, and video.

4. Clicking

We'll still see some clicking here and there, but scrolling will dominate as Web design offers audiences a more enjoyable Web and mobile experience. Scrolling designs load faster and they're more intuitive and dynamic. And as responsive design rises, expect to see long scrolling with content that is more organized.

Powerhouse Company, Shaker Brand, and Quay Restaurant are among the websites that have made use of scrolling over clicking to offer a more user-friendly experience.

5. Endless Web Pages

Websites used to consist of endless numbers of pages. In the spirit of minimalism, expect to see less of endless pages and more of one-page websites. Designers are no longer adding pages; they're removing those that aren't really necessary anymore. In some cases, one-page websites can say all that needs to be said.

6. Messy Content Hierarchy

Tile-style layout, made famous by Pinterest, may not work for every content type, but it will continue to thrive. The trend has been around for a while, so it's not new, but it will play a critical role in organizing content hierarchy. Tile, column, or card designs are going to get rid of ambiguous, sloppy, and disorganized content organization.

Riley Cran, SilkTricky, and Jay Z nailed it with their brilliant content hierarchy, which you see immediately in their homepages, by using the ever-popular tile design.

7. Stock Photos

Generic and corny stock photos are going to be a thing of the past. Bold, original, and real photos that echo your content and personality are going to trend instead. If you want to relate with your audience more effectively, use real and high-quality photos that will get attention and gain your audience's trust.

8. Boring Typography

Type kits are becoming less expensive, and more and more designers are experimenting with different types. We've already seen bigger and bolder typography. Expect to see more typefaces with personality to attract attention and make it easier to convey your message.

If you want to see catchy and interesting typography, check out Stuff and Nonsense, which has injected just the right amount of personality while keeping it professional.

9. 3D Designs

Gone are the days of 3D, shadow, and gradient designs, which have given way instead to flat design. In line with the industry's direction toward minimalism, flat design is perfect because it transforms cluttered, overly fancy, and sometimes distracting websites into clean and simple ones that engage and make visitors stay longer.

Many websites are still catching up with flat design, but others, such as SpellTower, have led the pack.

10. Static Graphics

Text and static graphics will be replaced by video, which used to be Flash but now will be HTML5 Canvas videos. Expect to see HTML5 video players incorporated in websites across the Web, although in some instances Flash will continue to be useful.

Cited as among the top HTML5 websites by ebizmba were Soul Reaper and Google Play Music Tour (see the video that explains it).

* * *

Keeping up with Web design trends is an essential aspect of managing your business. The task is not something you may be thrilled about, but watching for new trends to follow and old trends to buck is the best way to handle potential threats and spot key opportunities.

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Scott Donald is founder and chief strategist at Creativ Digital, an Australian digital agency specializing in e-commerce website optimization and offering a free digital success plan for your business.

Google+: Scott Donald

Twitter: @sydneydesign

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  • by Spencer Whiting Wed Apr 29, 2015 via web

    I'll admit Soul Reaper is a cool effect, but the load time and progression of value communication is extremely slow. I'd love to see the conversion data for the site.

    The only reason I am commenting is to remind everyone to test into your radical redesigns. If you have a site you actually want to make money, the site needs to communicate to the needs of your ideal prospects, not Apples or Soul Reapers. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

  • by Laura Wed Apr 29, 2015 via web

    From a visual and a consumer stand-point, these trends makes sense, but I am really curious how these current trends of less text content and one-page scrolling sites will effect SEO.

  • by David Gisler Wed Apr 29, 2015 via web

    Thanks Scott, great article. I like many of the examples youíve included. I especially enjoyed the simplicity of Spelltower, itís great how they use simple visuals to explain things (like the animation to show how to play, and that finger in the toolkit is classic).

    I was not crazy about the Jay Z site - the fact that it relies on hover-over just to see what the picture represents is extra work for the user, not to mention itís functional challenges on mobile. Thanks again, really enjoyed it.

  • by Angie Dirk Wed Apr 29, 2015 via web

    I also like the evolution toward one-page designs that are really built for mobile (phone and tablet). But SEO technology hasn't really caught up so that a one-page design isn't "punished" by search engines for only having one H1 tag, one set of meta tags, etc.

    Until that happens, I will still need to build multi-page designs for clients so that they benefit from fully optimized search engine-ready tags.

  • by Sommer C. Thu Apr 30, 2015 via web

    #2 is pretty misleading. You cite mobile versions as being a thing of the past and then link to Nike as an example... who has created a custom mobile version of their site. It's not only common, it's often more valuable to have a custom crafted mobile version to accommodate users across platforms. You can do so with the same content, but with custom templates, navigation and features using Java-Script adaptive technology. Gone are the days of a SECOND site designed for mobile, but the trend of a custom mobile site is very much alive and well and proves to perform better than responsive design overall due to faster load times and more customization options.

  • by Marketing Sweet Mon May 4, 2015 via web

    Thanks for the great article Scott! It seems as though its all about mobile at the moment, therefore its paramount that websites are on par and if not more, visually appealing on mobile.

  • by Michael Wed May 6, 2015 via web

    I agree with a number of the comments regarding SEO. When building a brand, content and keywords are still king. I don't know that many of these brands are worried about not being found via search, so SEO isn't going to be front and center for them. With that, I'd also add that if the majority of these brands' traffic are a result of direct or referral base, it's because that traffic is already interested and curious about them, so their tolerance and patience for load time, inexplicable shotgun UX, and unclear direction isn't as much a hindrance as it would be for a business who needs to get to the point so they can generate a lead or make a sale!

    Just sayin' :)

  • by Donald Soolar Sun May 24, 2015 via web

    Great list. Thanks for sharing. Lots of great insights.

  • by Manuel Tue Jun 2, 2015 via mobile

    I find citing Apple as a trend setter in flat design extremely misguided. They literally jumped on the bandwagon way too late with a not-so-flat approach and an inability to completely leave skeumorphism behind. Apple is no longer a trend setter, it has become a follower. In the case of flat design Microsoft lead the trend as far as large corporations are concerned, in this case beating Apple by over a year with their courageous and ahead of its time Windows 8. Apple was also extremely late at having a mobile friendly site despite the success of the iphone. In case you're wondering I used to work for Apple but credit where credit is due!

  • by Digital Art Director Wed Jun 3, 2015 via web

    Nothing new really... Moreover, it's a bit outdated - today almost everyone should know about the negative sides of infinite scroll especially huge and bad impact on SEO

  • by jma Wed Jun 3, 2015 via web

    Minimizing text is great if you're building a site for a target brand -- Apple, Coca-Cola, etc., don't need any help being found. For the rest of us, you still need text to be located, until the day comes that there's some other way to search.

  • by Dr Abner Mality Wed Jun 10, 2015 via web

    As a longtime participant in the world of print and web design, I see Mr. Donald predicting the demise not so much of "trends" as age-old bad graphic design practices. There are far too many reasons for their continued widespread use to go into here, but an obvious issue, IMHO, is graphic designers' seeming reluctance to participate in identifying the fundamental concept that will drive all of their content, including the actual design. (Design *is* content. Get over it.) However, unlike their forebears in the paper-and-ink world, graphic designers today must incorporate hierarchical functionalities in the delivery of their design. If the old Mac v. PC wars of days gone by are any indication, most designers just aren't that interested in understanding how those functional elements work and what they replace in the analog world where we actually live. When Marshall McLuhan (Google him if you don't know that name) said, "The medium is the message," it wasn't a compliment.

  • by isabella Sat Jun 27, 2015 via web

    Now there are a lot of smart ways of designing a website in the e-commerce industry.People should stop following the conventional ways of designing. Latest design trends are more popular and give a cool look to your site.

  • by isabella Mon Jul 6, 2015 via web

    Agreed with all of your points.No doubt people are now moving towards simple and inspiring web designs that will bring more traffic and enhance online business.

  • by John MN Thu Jul 9, 2015 via web

    Thanks Scott for informative article. More and more people turn to use smartphone and tablet to check out websites. Therefore, responsive design going to be very important for all ecommerce websites. Today user prefer to see clear & easy to navigate content on website. Thanks again for great post.

  • by PitchWorx Mon Feb 8, 2016 via web

    Absolutely agree. The website design should be user-friendly.

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