Although fashion trends are the trendiest of all trends, coming in at a distance second are website design trends. My advice to anyone on the verge of a website design and development project is simple, remember this: If it’s trending, it’s pending, or in the inimitable words of the great Jack Kerouac, “Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.”
Think about it this way. Does every single website need a heavy does of parallax viewing? Of course not, perhaps just fixing or pinning your header is enough. Does every footer need to be a monster footer as is the current trend? No it does not, and I predict that future footers will be wafer-thin just as men’s ties, as wide as clown ties, yielded way to the thin tie movement, which thankfully did not yield to the bolo tie movement. Does every call-to-action button need to bespeak to our enormous creative abilities? Umm excuse me, I’m proud to say we started that trend in 2010 with what is still my favorite CTA button for Scott Kelly, a Madison, WI investment advisor and developer of the Uptown Fitchburg community; oh yes, that one, Beam Me Uptown, Scotty.
Do we really want to believe every trend is minimalistic? I’m all for minimalism but guess who isn’t? That’s right, Google isn’t and they’re now preaching 1,000 – 2,000 word counts per web page. Of course no one reads more than 250 words on a web page, but you better feed the beast on some pages if you want to feed your search rank. And what’s with this notion that a web visitor will shut you down in 2.2 seconds if they don’t know what you do, what your POV is, how you look, what your brand is, how you’re relevantly different, and, oh yes, what your go-to-market strategy is? The fact of the matter is, we can only read five short words in that amount of time, and I’ve got news for you, if you’re getting blown-off in two seconds, you have a visitor in the wrong place, a prospect you don’t want, or you forgot to put your contact information on your website.
Don’t fall victim to always following a web trend, but do fall victim to common sense, audience wants and needs, industry nuances, and usability testing. And always remember, we’ve probably forgotten the oldest trend of all in our penchant to follow the newest trends of all: Don’t make me think.