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Web Design Trends That Will Become Obsolete In 2020

By Eva Barnes , Jan 26 2017
Web Design

Featured Image: iStock/jamesbin

We humans are a species driven by trends and norms. This especially applies to web design trends and if you’re among the pool of web designers who do not follow those trends, you’re automatically described as “behind the times” or old fashioned.

On one hand, it does make perfect sense for web designers to follow the latest and evolving trends in order to stay on top of their game, on the other, following trends too blindly can sometimes do more harm than good. After all, it isn’t exactly uncommon for web designers to overlook or even overthink certain aspects of the design process, particularly when it comes to usability.

Keeping in view what has happened in the web design industry over the last few years and how it is evolving today, we’ve listed some of the most common web design trends that are going to be a thing of the past by the year 2020:

1. Parallax Scrolling

Even though parallax scrolling is a pretty ‘neat’ way of giving depth to a site since the background and foreground items scroll at varying speeds, it is not necessarily good in terms of user experience, which is why we believe it’ll be long gone by 2020.

Here’s one major drawback: slow loading speeds. Here’s another one: bad SEO ranking on Google. If that weren’t enough, web users tend to switch parallax scrolling off as 40% of people navigate away from a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

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Parallax Scrolling 2
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Now this is not to say that parallax scrolling may be the only reason your website is slow to load. A variety of factors, including WordPress hosting services and what type and volume of content you have on page, can influence loading times. However, we should acknowledge the fact that not every user may have access to a superfast connection even 4-5 years from now. It’s quite likely we’ll see it being ditched altogether by most businesses that see usability as a core priority.

2. Flat/One-Page Design

The very premise of a flat design is actually a good one: deliver content to your users all in one place, thus, eliminating the need to navigate back and forth to check out different sections of the site. As an added bonus, you also get to decide how the user journey ensues the moment they land on your site. However, flat-design web pages overly rely on “above the fold” information in order to attract users. And there’s no telling if that’s enough. Why? Because users might be quick to assume what they’re seeing is all there is to see.

Flat One Page Design 1
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Flat One Page Design 2
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The real problem arises when you want them to navigate away from the main page in order to view other sections of the site as well, such as your blog or FAQs. After all, you can’t possibly have that all on one page, expecting users to scroll down endlessly. Another pitfall of having all your content on a single page is that it adds to load times.

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As we just discussed, longer loading times are “bad” for SEO purposes and, in addition, fewer pages mean less opportunities to target more than one keyword. Anything that counters your SEO efforts – you can bet it will be dead in the coming years, because SEO is here to stay!

3. Complicated Typography

With so many typefaces to choose from today, it’s no surprise that web designers are constantly fighting the temptation to use different types of fonts on any given page. In some cases, they even bypass the common typography sense of not using more than two to three fonts on one page.

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Complicated Typography 2
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Even though some websites do cleverly find ways to justify the use of multiple fonts, you will eventually start to see the trend dying out. With users being so constantly wired and connected on a daily basis, a web page that is cluttered with multiple typefaces and fonts will undeniably drive them away, as opposed to one that delivers information in a clean and concise manner.

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Overcomplicating a site with too many fonts will certainly drive users away and sites that are not quick to change will no longer be valid.

By 2020, you can expect to see a lot of sites with overly complicated fonts dying out because the average user is a highly connected mobile user – he/she wants nothing more than to have information quickly delivered in a clean, clear and concise manner, just to reiterate.

4. Overly Complicated Design

Speaking of overcomplicating things for users, another trend that is sure to die out is websites that love overdoing it. We do agree wholeheartedly to the fact that attention to finer details is quite important, however, going overboard is just plain stupid. With the way things are evolving in the technological and online space, it’s going to become increasingly challenging for online businesses to attract and retain attention of the average user.

Overly Complicated Design 1
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Overly Complicated Design 2
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For a fact, the average user simply wants quick access to information right at their fingertips, in the least amount of time possible. Overcomplicating website layout as well as navigation will be a surefire way to put people off which is why sites with layouts going all over the place, using way too many colors and fonts, and complex navigation will eventually frizzle out.

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5. Standard Card-based Web Design

You’re going to come across card-based website designs all over the web today, particularly on news and real estate sites, where little rectangles filled with inclusive text and images enrich the users’ minds with essential information. In fact, many website designers love sticking to a card-based layout due to the balance it provides between clear aesthetics and simple usability.

Standard Card based Web Design 1
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Standard Card based Web Design 2
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However, despite being really popular up until last year, there’s now an emerging trend where designers are really starting to experiment and innovate with card-based layouts. Don’t be surprised at all if the standard card layout is completely out in a few years.

Additionally, a website layout heavy on image cards might work well for visually driven websites, but one where content is top priority, can drive users to “analysis paralysis”.

Simplicity and high usability is undeniably going to be a top priority for all web designers in 2017 and beyond, so you can bet we’re going to either see card layouts disappearing altogether or see them in a heavily modified form.

Closing Thoughts

Just because a certain web design trend is the current “in” thing does not necessarily mean it’s going to be around for too long. And the real problem arises when we all follow suit and decide to do it simply because it looks cool, without fully thinking through the implications it may have.

Moving forward, in the next few years, we just might see some of the above trends still hanging around by a thread, but only as an afterthought more than anything else.

About The Author

Eva is a marketing major with a keen interest in web design. She is also an explorer and loves to dig into web trends from mobile apps to visual communication and everything in between. Feel free to send her your web design queries or blog related feedback in the comments below.

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