It is usual for tech blogs to start the year with an article like “X trends of the year” or “Top predictions for industry Y”. So did we, and you have probably already read our research about the trends in web development for the year 2018.
But to be consistent, we decided to describe the anti-trends of the year as well. These are the technologies, approaches, techniques that are very popular among website owners, but are rather annoying and unfriendly for the users or negatively affect website conversions.
So, here comes the list of the anti-trends on the web. Make sure you get rid of them before the end of the year. Your users will be really thankful.
HTTP stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. It is responsible for the communication between the server and the web browser. Data that is transferred via this protocol is not encrypted.
Earlier, this was the issue mainly for e-commerce websites, which transferred sensitive data such as payment details or shipment addresses.
Nowadays, the security of personal information and therefore website security is becoming more important in web development.
To solve the problem HTTPS was introduced, where S stands for “secure”. The communication between the server and the browser via this protocol is encrypted so that personal data is completely safe.
As the part of the campaign for secure internet, Google is starting to label HTTP websites as insecure. The latest version of Chrome browser will indicate to users who enter personal data on an HTTP website that the data will not be secure. Of course, these websites will lose credibility.
And in addition to that, HTTPS websites will rank higher in search results.
So, if you don’t want your website to be displayed with the “Not secure” label by the world’s most popular browser, transfer to HTTPS as soon as possible.
To make the internet more secure, Let’s Encrypt has introduced free encryption certificates. So, if you previously didn’t want to spend extra money to secure your website with upgraded Hypertext Transfer Protocol now you have no more excuses to remain on the dark side of the web.
Pop-ups are a great marketing invention aimed to boosting website conversions, however, after a few wrong turns they became so much aggressive and annoying, that people can’t stand seeing them on their screens.
Pop-ups on websites usually aim to advertise a product or service or to exchange the user’s email for some useful piece of content.
These advertisements became extremely aggressive when they started to “offend” the readers who refused to accept the offers.
Elle, for example, offered an article titled "32 Surprising Things That Are Destroying Your Skin". Website visitors could accept it and add their emails to the database, or click "No thanks, I’m not interested in protecting my skin." Personally, when I see this kind of aggressive marketing, I usually close the tab immediately, even though I may miss out on reading an interesting article.
Yes, the pop-ups are good for website conversions, but they aren’t user-friendly at all. Any negative emotion experienced by visitors to your website decreases their loyalty to your brand.
But if displeasing your users isn’t enough to convince you to say “NO” to annoying pop-ups, then you should think twice about displeasing Google. The search engine may rank the website lower if it discovers inappropriate pop-ups.
So, make your marketing less obtrusive and more user-friendly.
Low website speed and heavy pages
The web is getting faster every day, and the speed of website is now more crucial than ever. 40% of the users leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. And as the competition in web development continues to rise, this intolerance may even increase.
Website speed directly affects conversions and revenue. Walmart and Amazon, for example, reported 1% loss in revenue per 100 ms of site load delay. And the conversions of Walmart increased by 2% for every one second of load time improvement.
Moreover, the speed of the website is one of the important ranking factors. By improving it you will please both your clients and the search engine.
If your website experiences some load speed issues, check the following:
- Server. Your website, with all the information and data, is stored on a server. How quick this data is sent to the browser defines the load speed of your website. The location and performance of the server are critical. Also, the more visitors come to your website, the more time it takes for the server to respond. CDN or content delivery network may be a solution. This is a network of servers located all over the world. When a user requests a website, the node that is closest will respond, delivering the fastest load speed.
- Large images. They just load slowly. The same applies to complex file formats. If your website needs optimization, check whether the images are JPG, PNG or GIF (these are the most speed-friendly), and compress them to the appropriate size.
- Excessive code. Every line of code takes time to run. If your website contains unoptimized code, this can make it significantly slower.
- Unnecessary redirects between the pages. Every redirect is another headache of web development that increases the load time
Gone through this checklist but still haven’t found the reason of the low website speed? Let us help you with this. Contact us for a free website inspection.
Website conversion rate and website speed are indeed correlated. That’s why we recommend that you pay attention to this factor.
What can be more irritating than a slow website? A slow preloader, of course.
I don’t even imagine, where this idea came from. If the preloader was aimed at entertaining users while waiting - it completely failed. Preloaders are really boring. Should it indicate the load progress? Maybe, but it won’t make your potential customer wait longer. Seeing the load progress 7% - 9% - 12% over several seconds may actually convince visitors to leave the page immediately.
The preloader makes the website visitors focus on how slow the website is.
So, if you have a preloader on your website - remove it and check the website load speed. If you plan to add a preloader - forget this and pay more attention to the website load speed.
Hidden website navigation, particularly hamburger menus, became a trend in web development about two years ago. But nowadays it is clear that with hamburger menu the user experience goes down.
The reason is simple - this type of menu is less discoverable. Users often don’t notice the hidden navigation and simply pass by. If they click the hamburger icon, they do this significantly later compared to clicking a visible menu.
Using the hamburger menu could be excused for mobile phones. The limited screen size forces the website developers to hide some menu tabs behind a simple icon. But doing so on the desktop is certainly useless.
An experiment conducted by Nielsen Norman Group showed that on desktops 27% of website visitors tapped on the hidden website navigation, compared to 50% of users who tapped on mixed navigation, and 48% on the visible navigation. On mobiles, 57% of users reached for the hidden navigation, and 86% used the half-visible one.
This proves the statement that the hamburger menu is less discoverable and causes a bad user experience. Therefore, some content may remain undiscovered by the website visitors.
If you want to see your users click through the website and reach the content you prepared for them - think of alternatives for the hamburger menu. You can check some here, or ask our designer for some fresh and captivating ideas.
Complicated website navigation
Yes, one more website navigation anti-trend and not surprisingly it is about simplifying the user’s journey through the website.
Let’s assume, there is a website with a large number of pages that describe the company, its services, portfolio, testimonials, prices, special offers, etc. Every page contains a short text, perhaps some images and several links to other pages on the website. Every single page is reachable from the homepage via a multi-level drop down menu.
Everything seems to be logical. But a drop down menu makes the navigation through the website far more complicated for users who need more time to find the information they are interested in and sometimes they leave without ever finding it.
The trend for simplicity in web design shows us the alternative - one-page websites. As we already mentioned in our article about web development trends of 2017, one-pagers accumulate all the essential information within one page. The user only has to scroll down.
This approach is highly appreciated by the mobile users, who can acсess the necessary information just by scrolling. Moreover, the website owner has a certain control over the information flow perceived by the user.
All the hype around the death of Flash has had some consequences. It’s now almost impossible to find a web development company that will build a Flash website. But at the same time, a lot of existing websites are still sticking to this old-school technology. But it is worth considering saying farewell to it because Flash:
- is very CPU intensive;
- has cross-platform support issues;
- isn’t mobile-friendly.
And the most convincing argument against Flash is that it is no longer supported by the majority of modern browsers. So if you still want your visitors to have full impressions from your website - consider saying good bye to Flash.
The alternative is obvious - HTML5. It delivers better user experience and simplifies the development process. HTML5 is a popular technology nowadays, so finding a team of experienced developers is not an issue. Moreover, the active developer community is always ready to help with advice if needed.
So, if your website still runs Flash - it’s high time to update to HTML5.
Ignoring ad blockers
Web surfers try to avoid annoying advertisements on every web page and use ad blockers to do this. These are considered to be a great invention to save time on the web.
However, imagine a situation where an individual publisher has a website that provides useful information for free. Thousands of people visit the site every day to receive fresh updates. Advertising is the only source of income for the website owner and the authors who place content on the site. However, some visitors have set their browsers up to block the ads. This causes the site owner to lose a lot of money which could be spent on supporting the website and improving the content. Do you still think ad blockers are great?
Publishers are losing a huge amount of money, and the sum doubles every year: $11 billion in 2014, $22 billion in 2015, $42 in 2016. Ignoring this ad blocking trend is a big mistake. There is actually a solution!
Ask your readers to whitelist you! This may sound weird, but most users are willing to turn on the ads on your particular website in exchange for some valuable content you have to offer. You can add an unobtrusive pop-up, or redirect readers to a page where you politely ask them to add the website to their ad blocker whitelist.
Such messages may also increase visitor’s loyalty, as they are likely to feel satisfied for supporting such a useful product.
Enough to suffer from ad blockers. It’s time to build a closer relationship with your customers. Ask them to help you earn money by showing them the ad.
Websites are different, and so are their visitors. But there are things that are equally annoying for everyone. We hope that this summary of web anti-trends has convinced you to pay more attention to users’ experience, instead of just blindly chasing website conversions.
Web development is evolutionizing every day. Things that were highly appreciated some time ago become outdated and even annoying. Get rid of them on your website. Your visitors will reward you with their attention!