The people you see everyday age without your noticing. Your website does, too. You don’t notice the dated styling or conventions because you see them all the time. They’re just part of your site, and you don’t think about the growing signs of age anymore than you notice your friend’s latest grey hair. But your visitors notice.
The rule of thumb states that you should update your company’s web design every 2-3 years. But if your site has any of these elements, it doesn’t matter how new it is—it’s time for a facelift.
1. The Image Carousel
Remember Don Draper’s moving pitch for the Kodak slide Carousel on Mad Men? Well, Don, even the modernized web version has had its day. Users just don’t stick around like they used to—sometimes for as little as 15 seconds. That means if you’re tucking content into four rotating slides, two or three of them won’t be seen.
Solution: Take a cue from sites like PayPal or HubSpot and try an eye-catching, looping background video (skip the sound, please). Overlay the motion with your biggest conversion-enabling call-to-action and send your users straight to the good stuff.
2. Times New Roman, You Are A-Changin’
This just in: you’re not limited to web-safe fonts like Arial and Times New Roman anymore. Actually this has been true for a while now, so if you’re still rolling with web-safe fonts alone you’re missing out on the impact that unique and distinctive fonts can deliver.
Solution: Check out GoogleFonts, FontSquirrel or TypeKit by Adobe. Through the magic of CSS (Google the tag “@font-face” to learn more), these fonts can enhance your website design and boost your impact.
3. Uptight and Above the Fold
If you’ve crammed everything you want your visitors to see above the fold, you may have inadvertently turned them away already. It’s a popular myth that users don’t scroll and that your content won’t be seen if it’s below the fold.
Solution: Loosen up, man! Stretch out a little bit. Use your whole home page, or even extend it a little. Focus the above-the-fold real estate on your best stuff, and keep subsequent content organized and scannable as it continues down the page.
4. Too Little White Space
Everytime I see a site squeezed into tight or narrow dimensions I assume it’s a little dusty. Gone are the days when websites preserved wide margins on the left and right, or feared a taller layout.
Solution: Don’t be afraid to go minimal! Work in some white and negative space. If you want a structure, consider a grid as the foundation for your design. And while we’re on the subject of grids, develop a responsive site so your content will fit any device perfectly—and to keep your SEO strong.
Skeuomorphism for the web refers to the once-popular design trend of basing digital visuals on real-world items. You know, like the online calendar that looks like it’s paper? So unless you’re Apple—and even they’ve given it up—you should consider dumping your faux “real” graphic elements.
Solution: Try using photography or adding Subtle Patterns to your site. Or you could always follow the current mobile design trend and go for solid, flat and colorful.
6. Stock Photos
Did we mention real photography? I hate to break it to you, but we’re onto those stock photos you’re using. That young woman holding a clipboard while wearing a headset? We know she doesn’t work for you.
Solution: Even if you can’t afford to hire a professional photographer, why not consider a photography student, hiring a photo-capable intern or even trying your own hand at it.
7. Web 2.0 Gloss Has Lost Its Shimmer
It was fun for a while, making your user interface look like brightly colored glass jewels, but our eyes have moved on to the next shiny object: matte.
Solution: Keep your bright colors but try a subtle gradient instead, or even a very simple texture. And if you want to see what the cool kids are designing, head over to Dribbble and search under the term “UI” or “button.”
Written by Marisa Smith of blog.thewholebraingroup.com
Marisa is Founder and Head Brainiac at The Whole Brain Group. Over the last decade, she has grown her business into a thriving inbound marketing firm with a first-rate team focused on delighting clients with a results-driven approach.