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15 Infuriating 2021 Website Design Trends (And What You Can Do Instead)

The big trouble for website designers is that trends tend to contradict each other. For example, minimalism is a long-standing pillar of design, but here comes a sudden love of homepage animations accompanied by a bunch of pop-ups and you’ve got a bit of a mess on your hands.

Website Designers; Stop Annoying Your Visitors

The key is prioritising the right elements of your site while continuing to innovate. It’s about tasteful integration. In that spirit, here are fifteen of the worst web design trends in 2021 and what web designers can do to sort them out on your site.  

Website Designers Need to Stop Hijacking Our Scroll Bars

            Scroll hijacking is where web designers change the way your scroll bar works on the website. This includes elements like altered speed while scrolling, different size scroll bars or fixed scroll points. This not only goes against key principles of UX design, but it’s also just plain annoying.

Fix: Let your visitors choose where and how they navigate the website.

Irrelevant Illustrations

            Having fitting illustrations and images accompanying a web page, complimenting the content and adding texture to the page is always going to be great. Having aesthetically appealing but utterly irrelevant illustrations, on the other hand, looks good on the surface, but as soon as your engaged visitors take a closer look, it quickly looks silly. Don’t make websites that look silly, website designers.

Fix: Use fitting illustrations or use something else.

Excessive Minimalism Doesn’t Indicate Good Website Designers

            Minimalism is all well and good and can look absolutely fantastic, while having other advantages, including faster loading times due to simpler designs. That said, there’s definitely a fixed point where minimalism becomes a detriment, and that’s something website designers need to take into account.

Fix: Strike a balance between functional and minimalist if that’s what you’re going for.

Slow Load Times – A Website Designers Worst Nightmare

            Everyone knows this isn’t a good thing. However, when website designers prioritise other things, such as auto-playing videos or massive HD images, instead of loading times, this is going to cause issues and increase bounce rate.

Fix: Prioritise loading speeds, it’s important for mobile browsing too.

Poor Mobile Website Optimisation

            Another vital priority for website designers. Too often we’re seeing websites with extremely lacklustre mobile optimisation, with plenty of other great features.

Fix: Make sure your mobile optimisation is completely up to date.

Endless, Endless, Endless Scrolling

            For a few years, seemingly endless scrolling was all the rage in website design. However, that was years ago now, and as far as website navigation is concerned, nothing is more irritating than endless scrolling. If the only way to get back to the point you were at previously is via five minutes of scrolling, this is not good practice by your website designers.

Fix: Feature a prominent menu for the page at the top, or alternatively, use a different format.  

Horizontal Scrolling

            We all have scrolling wheels on our mice; we’re all used to the up-and-down motion of scrolling on our phones. Don’t mess with that by having horizontal scrolling, website designers, it’s jarring.

Fix: Keep it simple, up and down only.

Complicated Backgrounds

            This really is website designers 101. However, when you’re getting lost in all the other new fun trends, trying to implement interesting cutting-edge features, sometimes the obvious stuff gets lost in the details. Complex backgrounds make everything harder for the visitor. Keep it uncluttered.

Fix: Website designers need to maintain the balance between detail and minimalism, too much of either is going to impact functionality.

Website Designers Need to Minimise Pop-Ups

            Maybe one small, easily closable pop-up that appears once visitors reach the bottom of a page is acceptable. Anything more than that is always going to be obnoxious and extremely annoying. Yes, we know you want our email address for your mailing list, you want to send us push notifications, or worse, buy your product. There’s always a way for website designers to get all that info across without being obnoxious.

Fix: Obviously, a little obnoxiousness is required. However, keep it absolutely minimal, especially in light of additional cookie consent popups.

Constant Social Engagement Elements

            You need to have share icons and links out to social media pages. However, when this is near-constant, it’s going to be annoying. Once again, it comes down to striking that all-important balance.

Fix: Website designers need to keep it functional, visible, and consistent but don’t overdo it. Use logo buttons that match the scheme of your site.

Website Designers, Lay off the Spin to Win

            For a while, this was so new, engaging and fun. Now we’ve all seen it one or two too many times. It’s become a little tired, and worse, we’ve seen it on completely jarring corporate websites. If your website designers are going to use this feature, make sure it fits your site’s vibe. Think fun eCommerce site, not serious corporate page.

Fix: Use when appropriate, remember that it’s beginning to look a little dated.

Too Many Different Fonts

            Again, another major design no-no that we’ve been seeing. Yes, at first glance having a few different fonts can seem kind of attractive, however, when you dig down into the details of the site, it quickly becomes jarring. Branding and consistency are vital for online businesses, and having a bunch of different fonts doesn’t do much for that. Website designers always need to prioritise consistency.

Fix: Try to use no more than three, ideally two, fonts on your website.

Horrible Stock Photo Choices

            Everyone wants photos and illustrations. However, as we previously mentioned, these need to be consistent in terms of relevance and quality. This means website designers need to be doing some real hunting when it comes to using stock photos. It needs to match and look right, and if you use a bad, obvious or shamefully common stock photo, it’s going to make you look a bit silly to your more internet-savvy visitors.

Fix: Either hire your own illustrators or photographers or the cheaper route, look harder for better matching, less obvious stock photos.

Bad Chatbots Can Detract From Good Website Designers

            Chatbots have been increasingly proving their worth in the past couple of years. However, they can also be pretty annoying. Loud pinging notifications, useless answers and pestering on every page, done wrong, chatbots can really detract. Website designers need to bear this in mind.

Fix: Make sure you’re using a good chatbot plugin.

Too Much Animation

                A few years ago, it was vital to start getting some animation on your site. This was one of the main keys to looking innovative and current, and for a few years was a solid trend. As always, there’s always a few website designers that take it way too far. Make sure your website isn’t one of them. Visually jarring, slow loading and a little overwhelming, keep your animations minimal and tasteful.

Fix: Only animate one or so elements, keeping it minimal and streamlined.