When designers become trendsetters in online design, are the risks worth it? If not well thought out and applied, web design trends could result in a number of frequent UX errors.
A web designer’s goal is to improve conversion rates, facilitate task completion for site users, and provide compelling user experiences. They frequently take shortcuts, simply consider aesthetics, and ultimately rely on a variety of widely used design styles. The risk in doing this is that they might get distracted by current trends, and as a result, they might deploy the trends improperly and commit typical UX blunders.
When it comes to the internet, people like to act rather than study. There are many instances on the web where designers chose to prioritize purely visual appeal at the expense of usability. They assumed that the “wow moment” that inspired the design would be potent enough to captivate the user.
In the words of Kate Rutter, “Ugly but useful trumps pretty but pointless.” Finding a balance between what adds value and what is aesthetically beautiful is crucial to employing web design patterns and trends effectively.
Let’s examine a few typical UX errors.
Common UX Error No. 1 in Web Design: Huge, Fixed Headers
Websites are increasingly using tall sticky headers. “Branding blocks” and navigation menus that are fixed in place and take up a lot of room. The “sticky header” keeps them firmly attached to the top of the browser window and frequently blocks the content as it scrolls below them.
On websites for major brands, some headers are taller than 150 pixels. What is the worth of them? Web designers should use fixed elements with caution because there are some significant UX challenges to take into account. Fixed elements, such as sticky headers, can have actual benefits.
Perhaps Too Big for Comfort Is The Sticky Nav Header
It’s best to test a sticky nav header with actual users if the decision to employ one has already been taken. Going overboard and cramming the sticky nav header with content is a classic UX mistake. Visitors should still find browsing to be comfortable even with a fixed header. Failure to strike the proper balance could leave only a tiny amount of space for the essential information and give visitors to the site a stuffy, cramped experience.
In some cases, a straightforward CSS workaround can be used. By making the sticky header just a little bit invisible, viewers can still see content as they scroll across it, giving the content section a more substantial sense.
Roger Federer’s player profile page on the ATP is an illustration of a tall sticky header.
The sticky header on this website is nearly 180px tall! On some laptops, that takes up more than 30% of the page height, making for a bad user experience that could be prevented.
Not Taking into Account the Sticky Nav Header UX Issue on Mobile
A sticky nav header may be useful for some users of large, high-resolution computer monitors, but what about mobile devices? Undoubtedly, a sizable portion of website users would be using a mobile device to access the site, therefore a fixed header would not be the best decision. Fortunately, using flexible design principles allows you to create unique solutions for various platforms while sticking with the sticky menu header for desktop browsers.
The fixed header on the Coffee with a Cop website is substantially smaller—less than 80 pixels tall.
For high-resolution screens, the header navigation is perhaps the best option because it makes navigation more effective. The header is also fixed but takes up a lot of room on displays with lower resolutions. On mobile, the ubiquitous hamburger menu is a great substitute for a sticky navigation header. This design does clear a lot of space, even though it is not a universal solution.
Common UX Error No.2 in Web Design: Thin, Light Fonts
Modern mobile apps and websites frequently use thin, light typefaces. Many designers now utilize them because of their elegance, cleanliness, and fashion sense thanks to advancements in screen technology and enhanced depiction. However, thin typefaces can negatively impact the UX by causing usability issues.
All content should be readable on websites, and small print can significantly reduce readability. Not every visitor will be using a display that renders thin type well to see a website. On an iPad or iPhone with a Retina display, some light type is difficult to read.
“Text must be legible above all else. It doesn’t matter how gorgeous the typeface is if people can’t read the words in your app.” – Guidelines for Apple Human Interface
Apple is referring to mobile apps, but websites also follow the same rule. For effective usability, legibility is not an option but a requirement. If the content on a website cannot be read, it serves no purpose.
Before utilizing thin type, take into account the following typical UX errors:
Utilizing Thin and Light Fonts Because They’re Popular
Fonts should be readable in addition to having a pleasing appearance. Designers should try for the ideal balance of size, weight, and color in their designs to ensure adequate contrast and legibility.
To make sure that all of the site’s text is readable on different devices and screen sizes, it is best to test the site.
This brings us to the following typical UX error:
Not evaluating the legibility of the text on all popular devices
The typical user, who frequently views our designs on less expensive, inferior screens, must also be taken into account. Thin, light text may look good on many designers’ pricey, finely-tuned monitors. Checking how typefaces appear on desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones is the best practice.
For instance, when evaluating a mobile design, have participants utilize the site on mobile devices in broad daylight because ideal browsing and lighting conditions are not always present for real-world consumers. If a website has a narrow font, a straightforward solution to accommodate mobile users is to select a bigger font on mobile for better reading.
Common UX Error No. 3 in Web Design: Low-Contrast Text
In contemporary user interface design, using low-color contrast elements has also become fashionable. It developed as a result of the minimalist design trend, which claimed that by lowering contrast in certain areas, the design would appear “minimalist.” The complexity of the information that needed to be presented prevented the designers from simplifying it, thus they experimented with low contrast in the design.
Although thin fonts have already been discussed, there is still a greater danger: a light typeface combined with low contrast that substantially degrades user experience (UX) due to poor reading. Designers should take every precaution to stay away from this usability problem.
Low Contrast Body Copy with Text
On its website, Cool Springs Financial employs a thin version of Helvetica for body text. Although it has a classy appearance and enhances the beauty of the user interface, it might be challenging to read on some systems. Low contrast isn’t always a bad thing, but it might reduce a website’s usability by making the content difficult to read.
Don’t test text contrast
Designers can use Colorable, a handy online tool for contrast assessment, to determine the right text contrast in accordance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Designers can change other colors on a website and do rapid testing on a variety of devices and users once they are confident that they are utilizing the proper text contrast.
The fourth common UI error in web design is scroll hijacking
Common UX Error No. 4 in Web Design: Scroll Hijacking
Although some websites can get away with scroll hijacking, not all of them can. For instance, a lot of website designers copy the scroll hijacking, parallax effects, and high-resolution product photos found on Apple’s websites. Apple’s website features exclusive content, a specific target audience, and an original concept. Every website has different issues, so every site likewise needs different solutions that are suited to those issues.
Not doing tests on actual users
To avoid UX problems while using popular concepts or UI patterns, it is best to test the website prototype on actual users. Simple usability testing will show whether or not, for instance, implementing a scroll hijack is practical. Designers can’t tell if scroll hijacking will function without testing, and assuming assumptions is frequently expensive.
Scroll hijacking is used on the homepage of the well-known personal blogging platform Tumblr. Even if it can be dangerous to do so, it’s reasonable to assume they are aware of their target market and the stylish, trendy user experience they wish to offer. Visitors are moved to the following part as soon as they begin to scroll on a website.
The long scrolling page is divided into a number of sections, each of which can be identified by a strong dosage of rich colors and large indicator dots on the left side of the window. Tumblr’s homepage consequently has a different vibe than an uncomfortable, experimental website with a mind of its own: it feels more like a large vertical carousel that users may control.
Common UX Error No. 5 in Web Design: Carousels
On the web, carousels—a slideshow that cycles through a range of content—are immensely popular, especially on home pages and landing pages. They have various usability problems despite their potential usefulness, making them another classic UX error. The Nielsen Norman Group states that “people often immediately scroll past these large images and miss all of the content within them.” Visitors might not notice important content in some of the rotating slides, which could have a severe effect on UX.
Carousels on websites might not be useful to visitors
A well-designed carousel may draw users in with its huge, eye-catching graphics. The problem is that carousels frequently only serve as decorative elements and are only present because everyone else is using them. Write down three advantages a site’s carousel offers the user to see if it makes sense. It adds little value if three substantial advantages cannot be identified.
The Previous and Following Arrows Are Hard to Find
If the next and previous arrows cannot be found, crucial information on a website carousel may remain hidden. For mobile devices, the controls must be tap-friendly as well.
Often, simply slide indicator dots are present to advance the slides instead of arrows to manage the carousel. But they frequently feature low contrast, poor discoverability, and insufficient clickable or tappable areas. The small clickable targets could result in a bad user experience, a disappointed website visitor, and an abrupt website exit.
For instance, the homepage of the Floresta Longo Foundation website features a carousel of changing images. It plays automatically and cycles through five images. However, the previous and next arrows are tiny and transparent, making them difficult to see and difficult to click. There are no slide markers or labels indicating what the photos represent. The photos serve only as decoration and are not hyperlinks. The visitor engagement potential of this kind of carousel may be limited, but generally it falls short.
If not well thought out and applied, web design trends could result in a number of frequent UX errors. UX designers should utilize their best judgment and shouldn’t be scared to innovate, but it would be beneficial for them to thoroughly test their design with actual users in order to guarantee excellent website usability.
Things that are in style change throughout time due to the insane abundance of web design trends. The ability to differentiate the UX trends that have shown to be the most effective and popular with users amid this confusion depends significantly on the balanced application of aesthetics, efficiency, and usability.
The most eye-catching color scheme, the most elaborate scrolling motion, or the most amazing parallax effects can be created by web designers, but if the user experience is bad as a result, visitors will leave the site shortly. Another website is only one click away.