• Emily Malone

The 8 most annoying web design trends

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

Sometimes we get carried away with making our websites look cool. But choosing style over substance is a risk when it comes to user experience (UX). So at the risk of sounding a bit cynical, we’ve decided to write about the most annoying web design trends of 2017.

With web design, it’s not all about following trends. It’s fine to jump on the bandwagon; but if it’s not serving your specific users or appealing to your buyer personas, it’s not a good design choice for your business. We need to remember that design is supposed to solve problems, not create them.

Let’s break down the possibilities of why these eight design trends might be annoying:

16% said overused, samey design patterns

It’s hard to tell which exact web designs they mean by these, could be flat design, hero carousels, pop ups, auto-play videos, sliders. Or it could refer to the popular website themes you can buy, with samey icons and hero banners. But still, the message is clear; it’s always good to be a little more refreshing when it comes to web design. With everyone in a race to become mainstream or viral these days, millions of business websites are likely to have the same, possibly unhelpful, patterns and features. Get creative, but remember to consider your buyer personas and UX. Here’s some ideas.

11% said galleries that require a lot of clicking

Bet you’ve recently come across one of those clickbaity articles on Facebook which breaks up into several different pages, making you click through to read more again and again. I know I have, and they’re not fun. The less you make your users click, the less frustrating their website experience will be.

1% said hamburger menus and 6% said hidden navigation menus

Hidden navigation is harder to discover than visible or partially visible navigation, so obviously it’s going to have its UX drawbacks. Mobile-first does not mean mobile-only. And menus needn’t be hidden on desktop, especially when you’ve plenty of space to showcase them.

Take the hamburger menu for instance; first you must find the navigation, then you need to scroll through the hidden navigation menu to get to where you want to go. The time it takes to complete a task is lengthened and is therefore not ideal for a user-friendly experience. The menu needs to be placed in a familiar location so users aren’t spending time wondering where it is, or rather, so the users actually explore your website. This way, a user will find what they’re looking for quickly and easily, as it’s where they expect it to be.

36% said Scrolljacking

If you mess with how I scroll through your website, I’m going to close the tab immediately. – Rami James

The reason hijacking the scroll is so controversial is that browser scrollbars belong to the browser window, and they’re meant to provide a uniform experience. Not only does scrolljacking alter how a user expects to scroll through your website, it can also be confusing depending on the operating system being used (Windows, Mac, Linux), and a total nightmare for people who use a magic mouse or Apple trackpad.

10% said sites that require too much scrolling

Smooth, infinite scrolling is only good for showcasing images or products to purchase. Pinterest is a good example. But you must remember that if your page is long, to move your footer or make it sticky, otherwise it really does create a usability nightmare. Plus, too much scrolling could mean you’ve got too much content on your page, which is bad for both page-load times and our tiny attention spans, anyway.

18% said chatbots

While chatbots are convenient for solving problems fast for your users, it seems 18% aren’t happy with them. This could be for a number of reasons. For example, if your bot isn’t speaking engaging, human language, doesn’t feel natural or personalised enough, or is just plain annoying. A poorly designed chatbot UX can easily turn a potentially easy customer engagement into a horrible user experience. So, something you thought would engage your users more than going through customer services, ends up falling flat.

2% said brightly coloured gradients

The psychology of colour suggests that there’s more to these bright colours than meets the eye. Colours can emit feelings; for example, red can act as a warning, green reminds us of nature, and purple, royalty. But cultural context comes into play too, as purple is a colour related to death in some countries. So instead of just jumping on the colour gradient trend, have a think about what this might add to the look and feel of your site. Is it appropriately branded? Is it easy on the eye? Or is it just bright, pay-attention-to-me colours used because everyone else is doing it? Hmm.

Our biggest peeve? Designing without the functionality in mind.

It’s important to remember what your website’s primary function is, and design with that at the very forefront of your mind. Who are your buyer personas, how will they access your website, and what is the benefit of the design feature you want to present to them? Answering these questions will help you design a killer website that really converts.