When you are trying to build a new website it’s difficult to know what trends are in style and what design elements you need to make your online presence something people will remember. Well fear no more, below is a quick list of those styles and items that aren’t “in” anymore.

Too Much Design

Thought process: “I want to make sure the user does not get bored when they are on my site. I really want there to be something exciting everywhere you look! Pictures and buttons and fun titles everywhere! People will have so much to look at when they are there!”

You know when you see someone that has completely overdressed and put on too much makeup or hair product? These people typically end up on the Fashion Police watch list, and it is just not an appealing look. Well, if this is something that is unattractive in a person, why is it acceptable on your website?

It’s hard to believe but it is possible to over-design a website. But these are the pages you go to and your computer monitor slaps you in the face with hundreds of flashy images, text, music and videos. These sites are over-designed and overdone.

There is no obvious fix for people who want their page jam-packed with design elements to look at. But the honest explanation is that less is more. Modern design calls for lots of whitespace to draw attention to the key elements on your page, like your branding and content. Make sure the main focus of your site is relevant to articulating your brand and message. If your company’s branding and content are strong, your site will leave an impression on its viewers, no matter how much glitter your site is lacking.

Outdated Style Elements

There’s a quote that states that “art cannot be modern, art is timeless.” Though this is true of art, this quote does not apply to web design. Since the dawn of web, there have been lots of designs trends and fads that have come in and out of style. Below are some of the elements that have left the thoughts of designers and that hopefully left your website as well.

Bevelled & Embossed Elements

Thought process: “If we sell furniture, we should etch our company name into the side of a table and put it on the site. No, better yet, let’s make it look like it was stitched into a chair!”

Embossed and bevelled design elements were really popular when they first came into the web world. It was a way to make elements on a site look lively and exciting. These elements can be described as making the text look like it was created using natural elements. This sort of style also has a 3D look. Currently, the most modern design trend is flat design, which is actually the opposite of bevelled and embossed text. If you do desire these elements on your website, I would recommend taking up arts and crafts as a side hobby.

Drop Shadow

“I just want the text to pop out of the page. Like make the users think they are wearing 3D glasses but they are just looking at my site. People pay extra to see a 3D movie, so they will definitely love my site.”

Drop shadows are a design element of the past. Having that foggy black behind your text is no longer a current design trend and has been replaced. If you are looking to make your text pop out of the page, try adding a second layer of text under it in a similar colour to get a vintage shadow that won’t make users cover their eyes when they see your site.

Intense Gradients

Thought process:“I just really feel that more than one colour in the background will keep the page exciting and interesting! We should add an orange at the top and then have it fade into blue mid-way. Those are contrasting colours too so that will look so fun!”

Gone are the days of fading different colours on your page. Current design trends want you to pick ONE colour or choose a colour palette and then display those colours on your site as separate elements (like text, button, background, footer, etc). A solution to wanting a variety of colours is searching online for a colour palette the captures your companies branding and design you want on your new site. Check out online resources such as Adobe Kuler, or even pick out images on Pinterest that pique your interest. Colour palettes can be created using just about anything and can really liven up your brand and web presence.

Glossy Buttons

Thought process: “I want users to want to click the buttons on my website. So I think they should be shiny. Everyone wants to click shiny things. Can we add a gloss over ALL the buttons so that people want to click them all? ”

When the web first came about, designers wanted a way of making things glossy and fun. One way to do this was by creating shiny elements, like buttons. Unfortunately, those trends were short lived. So take that shine off that button and you will see that users do not need a gloss to want to click something. Creating a button using an accent colour (something with a bit more “pop”) in it will create a button that users eyes will be drawn to.

Skeumorphic Design

Thought process: “Lets show our creative side by making our site look like a book shelf. Like the menu is made out of books and everything displays on a TV in the center of the shelf!”

Though this seems like a cool idea, to have your web page look exactly like something real, it does not make the cut anymore. This was a really popular trend when flash player was big as people would love clicking around on lots of gizmos. The main issue with skeumorphic design is that items become so accurate to the real thing they lose functionality. In some cases, it becomes difficult for users to intuitively navigate your site when using this design.

So what’s next? Take a look at your current site and see if any of these elements are there. If you do have some out-of-date designs on there, you can pay a web designer to make some tweaks or maybe it’s time for a site upgrade!

Want to hear more from Lindsay? She was recently featured on Stack Overflow Careers! Rachel Maleady profiled Lindsay along with other up-and-coming web developers in the piece “What These Millennial Developers Look for in a Job.” Check it out!



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Lindsay Kavanagh

Lindsay Kavanagh

Lindsay is an SEO Specialist with seoplus+. She graduated with honours from the Interactive Multimedia Development program at Algonquin College in 2015.