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10 Annoying Web Design Trends Which Should Stop NOW

These 10 trends are the most annoying features of modern website and need to STOP NOW

Written By on in Internet

1,156 words, estimated reading time 6 minutes.

Web design is all about innovation, but not all progress is good progress. Here are my Top 10 most annoying web design trends that need to stop in 2018.

Instant Survey/Mailing Lists When landing on page

Email Subscription Popups - Annoyances
Email Subscription Popups - Annoyances

So I've just clicked through to a website and before I've even seen the content, I've got some random persons mailing list subscription form thrust in my face, or even worse a customer satisfaction survey. I've just entered the site! I have no idea what your site is about or the quality of work, so why would I want to instantly sign up to a list? Let me read your content first, and if I want to subscribe, I will. Thanks.

Passive aggressive pop-ups

Those "before you leave" messages can be quite annoying. This new trend causes a banner pop up for a mailing list or survey to pop up when the mouse pointer leaves the window. I guess this is to capture people before they hit the back button, but they get triggered at any time for examples Alt+Tab to another window, moving the mouse to the second monitor or simply going to bookmark the page. If I want to subscribe to your lists I will, I don't need your signup form thrust down my throat. Thanks.

Copy & Paste Templates all look the same

HTML5 Templates all look the same
HTML5 Templates all look the same

There are a plethora of "freemium" and premium templates out there all promising to the latest and greatest with newly added features (most of which are on this list), except all the themes look the same. Standard hero image of some stock photo, bootstrap title and tagline, bootstrap button or two and the modular "panels" design. Very few templates now offer any creativity from the authors. It gives me the impression that they have just taken another template, made a few minor cosmetic changes and relaunched it as a "new" template.

Plethora of frameworks and platforms

Html Code
Html Code

It seems like every day another new framework comes out, each claiming to be better than the rest, there are just so many out there its impossible to keep up. Angular, Backbone, Dojo, Ember, jQuery, Knockout, mooTools, prototype, react. And that's just a few Javascript frameworks I've actually used. Then there is the CSS/SASS/Less/Gumby/Compass, not to mention the frameworks which span CSS/HTML and JavaScript. Surely they cannot all be entirely different, there must be masses of overlap and duplication.

Auto Play Videos - The 21 Century MIDI

YouTube Videos Mobile Autoplay
YouTube Videos Mobile Autoplay

Back in the 1990's MIDI files were used as background music on websites. This was generally accepted about as much as Comic Sans as a typeface. That web trend has fortunately ceased, however, a new trend for auto-playing videos has emerged. These videos can be anything from adverts to embedded videos in content, set to autoplay and there is nothing you can do about it.

When I browse sites, I typically open links in multiple tabs, especially links in the content - open a new tab and read later. Trouble is after I open three or four tabs, the videos start playing in the background, then I have to visit each page, locate the video, stop it, then try and find where I was. DON'T AUTO PLAY VIDEOS.

This is even worse on mobile devices, visiting a web page, which is heavy enough as it is, more on that later, then a video starts playing and consumes all my mobile data allowance. Thanks for that.

Blocking Ad-Blockers

Marketing Colour Wheel
Marketing Colour Wheel

I use ad blocking software, mainly to block obtrusive adverts, popups, video adverts (see above). There are also privacy issues with adverts, super cookies and tracking codes which build up a picture of my browsing habits. These are legitimate reasons for blocking adverts. The trends now seem to be to ask visitors to turn off ad-blocks in order to see the content and in some cases the site won't even allow you to go any further. Well, if I can't see the content I'm just going to hit the back button, so don't cry about lost revenue due to blockers.

I run adverts on this site, and I have seen the decline in revenues attributed to ad blockers so as a publisher I know what it's like. I don't punish anyone for blocking adverts.

What is the solution? I don't know. Let us know in the comments below.

Heavy Pages

Website pages these days are getting heavier and heavier, with all the large HD hero images, embedded video, frameworks and unoptimized CSS.

Page Load Statistics for 2010
Page Load Statistics for 2010
Page Load Statistics for 2017
Page Load Statistics for 2017

As you can see in the chart, over the past 7 years web page weight has increased by a massive 78% with the average payload in 2017 being 3MB, compared with 2010 average of 0.7MB. Page load statistics from HTTP Archive.

Ajax Spinners - It's OK to Wait?

With web pages getting heavier, frameworks are getting busier and page load times are increasing despite the push for a faster web. We'll solve that problem by adding a loading icon for the user to look at. That'll solve the problem.

No. From a User Experience point of view, you are saying that it is OK to wait for a web page. It is not. You should focus your efforts on delivering a high performance, optimised site which does not need loading icons.

Loading icons need to disappear now. Or be replaced with this.

Endless Scrolling

Scrolling on Smartphone
Scrolling on Smartphone

This is a trend mainly used on news websites, whereby scrolling down the story just leads into the next story, then the next again. The page scrolls down endlessly and quite often breaks the back button, so you have to click 15 times to get out the site. The same is true for listings, which automatically add new content when scrolled down. As more and more content is loaded, the browser uses more and more resources, eventually slowing down.

Top 10 Slideshows

Slideshow
Slideshow

Notice the format of this post, it is a list presented one after the other on one page. Apart from scrolling down, there is no other user interaction required. Clickbait sites started the trend, not popular sites such as Forbes are putting each item on the list has its own slide, sometimes even a new page that has to be clicked. As with infinite scrolling, to go back to the start requires clicking the back button 15 times.

"Free" content

Web Designer
Web Designer

Free content means download for free, i.e. a one-way exchange. The trend is now emerging that "free" content downloads are offered in exchange for signing up to mailing lists or providing other personal data, which is then sold on to marketing companies. So while you may not have paid cash for content, you have sold your personal data to an unknown entity for whatever purpose they feel free to use it for. And folk wonder why they get so much spam email.

Do any of these annoyances grind your gears? What are your web annoyances? Let us know in the comments below.

Last updated on: Thursday 14th December 2017

 

 

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