Worst Web Design Trends of 2015

December 14, 2015

2015 is only a few weeks away from coming to an end, and I can only hope the trends listed below aren’t far behind!

#1: Hamburger Icon for Desktop Websites

The hamburger icon has become a staple for responsive design. Squishing 10 links on a small iPhone 4 screen never has positive results, so the ingenious designers decided to hide those links within a hamburger icon, only to be revealed when clicked.

Although a smart move for mobile devices, we started seeing desktop websites use this icon as well. Do we not have enough room to fit 10 menu links on a massive screen? Now we just have to perform an extra click to reveal the navigation, and two clicks to visit a new page.

Come on guys, we all love our hamburgers, but without proper handling… we get reactions none of us want.

#2: Scrollbar Hijacking

Most modern website designs use large images and fonts that makes scrolling a necessary tool to view all the content. Unfortunately, some websites have started hijacking your scrollbar so the page either scrolls slower, faster… or not at all!

Sometimes it can give a cool effect, especially when the website utilizes parallax design. But when I’m navigating the website and my scrollbar starts acting strangely, my first thought is I wish I purchased that extended warranty on my Macbook Pro… but then I realize the website is to blame and I will forever bookmark them on my naughty list.

Just let me scroll at my own pace, okay?

#3: Big & Boxy Websites

Old website designs from the 90’s were very condensed, content-heavy pages with slim borders and lots of shadows. 20 years later, we laugh at how bad these designs were and do whatever we can to build modern websites completely differently.

So now we have very wide website with limited content, huge fonts and flat UI. The result is a lot of scrolling, a lot of whitespace and not so much content. This often makes for a very confusing user interface.

#4: Lots of Animations

Flash is now officially dead (yay, another terrible trend!), but for some reason we are now seeing an endless amount of HTML5 animations on too many designs.

Almost every WordPress theme now has all it’s content fly into the screen as you scroll, which looks cool, but it’s slow and annoying! I want to see the content right away, so don’t make me wait for it. I also don’t want the website to slow down every time I scroll, but unfortunately that’s just what happens when you have content fly onto the screen as it comes into the view.

There are definitely some good animations you should be using, like on sliders or those cool little widgets Apple loads on their site, but there’s always a limit. When it comes to animations less is usually more.

#5: Ads, ads, ads… and ad block checkers?

I get it…  you’re providing me with a free service so you have to throw ads in my face. Everyone needs to earn a living, and kudos if ads are making you rich. But this doesn’t mean that there needs to be an ad in my face on every page, on the header and footer, and along with the many popup ads that appear when you scroll.

Ad tracking has also become very abrasive. Searching for my girlfriend’s holiday present has made lingerie ads popup everywhere I go – talk about ruining the mood. Thanks Google!

Oh but there’s a solution – an ad blocker!

Except websites are now detecting if you have an ad blocker and won’t let you access the page until you disable it. Yep, now they are coercing me to disable my popup blocker. Reduce the amount of ads on your site and let your wonderful content be the highlight.