Fresh off the heels of Paris Fashion Week, I’m sitting in my apartment perusing various style reports and combing through the notable trends for the upcoming spring/summer season—because fashion is always two seasons ahead.
After noting some new pieces I would like to add to my wardrobe (including cargo pants, anything bright-yellow, and a white trench coat), I started to note what I could purge from my closet. My mom once told me, “With every new piece you add to your wardrobe, remove one thing you don’t wear anymore.”
This mantra got me thinking more about trends. As a designer, I usually get asked about what’s “trendy.” Like anything, there are trends we see in digital design that are quick to come into play and then are on their way out just as fast.
When I thought of the web design trends for the upcoming year, I immediately had a Matrix moment of numbered lists flashing before my eyes... “9 Web Design trends of 2018” “10 Hottest Graphic Design Trends of 2018” or how about “Hero Trends to try RIGHT NOW!”
All of these blog posts offer great recommendations . But rather than create yet another numbered list of trends to follow, I think it’s important to remember my mom’s advice and point out trends to say goodbye to. Here’s what you should purge from your website design for 2019. 👋
Is it necessary on your website to show your digital product or service displayed on a device like an iPhone or Mac display?
Technology is constantly evolving, which means our devices are too. When using devices to present your product or solution, you are potentially shortening the lifespan of that design. Brainstorm how you can present your product, solution, or work differently and add more longevity to your imagery. Brands are showcasing their software uniquely and without putting them in the context of of an iPhone or PC that may be soon dated. This is a great opportunity to extend your brand in a different way and have some creative fun.
Try presenting your product or service in the following ways:
Custom graphics illustrating the power of your product
Product interfaces, with no technology
Incorporating important parts of your product in a photo to indicate a user's interaction
Peace out Exclusive Design
The transition from designing for aesthetic and not accessibility
It’s always exciting to bring new colors to your website, especially if your company’s brand uses colors that are unconventional for your industry and add a unique “pop.” Though, just because you want your brand to be unconventional, don’t let that leak into your website’s usability.
Steer clear from pairing low contrasting colors together where important text is presented, including navigation, buttons, forms, and other call-to-actions. Website visitors with color blindness or poor eyesight will have a hard time recognizing these important actions.
No design is ever good enough to compromise the user experience. Check to see if your color combinations are accessible with a color contrast checker.
Do we really need you Mr. Hamburger?
Hiding important menu items under a hamburger menu
The use of a hamburger menu has its benefits. It adds [whitespace] to the hero, allowing the user to be able to focus on the most important messages the site has to offer. It enforces the “mobile first” idealism; people are used to this type of action on their phones and tablets, so now they may expect it on their desktop experience, too.
However, for someone that may visit the site a few times a week or even multiple times per day, hiding important links within a hamburger menu for visual reasons can be a frustrating extra step for them. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense to do so because the menu begins to turn into the “junk drawer” of your website. Think about the need for a hamburger menu a bit more. Is it absolutely essential to the site’s design that’s it’s worth compromising discoverability of important content?
Bye Bye Stocky Photos
Those fake smiles and lens blurs don’t fool me…
Authenticity is becoming a must-have. For properly showcasing your company’s brand, stock imagery may not be cutting it anymore. Think about investing in some custom photography every few months for your website. Curating your own photography will help enable your team to stay unique, on brand, and 100% authentic.
Worried about where you should start? Bringing in a design or photography intern once a month to snap new pics is a good, low-cost suggestion. If stock imagery is the only option for you, here are some suggestions. We all know what a stock photo looks like. Fake smiles, white teeth, perfectly ironed suits. You know your audience the best, so you should be able to distinguish what feels real to them. In order to do so, avoid snagging an image that shows up on the first pages of a stock image search. These are filtered to be the most popular. Take the time to search into those deeper pages (not many people are willing to do so), and you’ll most likely find something less popular and more unique.
I don’t remember hitting the play button…
It’s quiet in the office and you want to check out some house listings, discreetly. But right after the site loads you’re hit with a loud, automatic playing video. Now everyone knows what you’re up to. Whether or not you’re looking for a new house, you’ve probably experienced this scenario more than once.
Scrolling down a site and having a video play automatically is 1. Frustrating, and 2. Totally rude. Say goodbye to self-playing videos. Instead give your users the power of discoverability. Make your video more enticing with a well thought-out thumbnail image and call-to-action button. Giving your users the power to play is also just polite, something we need to be more of in 2019.
Dear Trends, As you know in fashion, one day you're in. And the next day, you're out
After much deliberation, I’ve come up with a few things to remove from my wardrobe. Now that I have some room for new clothes, I’m going to make room for new design trends too.
Remember, as you begin to strategize your next marketing campaign or corporate website, that trends are constantly evolving. Knowing when to recognize something that may not last a while is a great skill and will help your content be stronger and live longer.
Interested in creating the incredible and saying goodbye to these design trends? Let’s talk!