2024 is here and that means that there are certain website trends that need to stay in past. Here are 6 old website design and development trends that we need to leave behind in 2023 as we now move forward to 2024.
You’re better off without them. It’s time to move on! No, I’m not talking about ending a toxic relationship. I’m talking about doing away with tired web design trends. The dawn of a new year always brings about the winds of change. We utter the all-too-familiar phrase “New year, new me” and focus on moving forward to the things that are ahead of us. Though a cliché, it signifies a positive mindset to have as we usher in a new era of web design. Outdated trends may just be the reason why you’re not seeing the results you desire with your website. We’ve evaluated the past year’s trends and the results may surprise you! From our professional experience, some things are better off left in the previous year. Let’s take a look at six old web design trends you should leave behind in 2024.
This controversial opinion will ruffle some feathers, but hear me out! Animations (Yes, you read that right) can be the silent killer of your website. I’m not talking about just any animations. I’m talking about TASTELESS animations that distract from the purpose of your website. As a Webflow user, endless possibilities for animations are readily available at your fingertips. With that kind of power, it’s easy to have animations simply just for the sake of having them. The challenge of using animations is to determine whether or not the animation will help or hurt the flow of content. Here’s a general rule of thumb when it comes to designing your website: Content is king. Anything added to the website (i.e., Animations) should be there to emphasize the content. That being said, it may be best to hold back on the animations if it means reaching your target audience. This was our mindset while working with a law firm for their marketing website for their brand-new legal software. When the client requested complicated animations for their website, we were honest with them! The problem wasn't our inability to animate, but their intention for the website. Complex animations would surely attract a creative individual but may distract other audiences. Since content is king, animations should emphasize content. Sometimes, animations can tell a story that words can’t! Take our website design for SmugMug, for example. Each element of the design should have a clear purpose, whether it is for story-telling or enhancing the user’s understanding of the message. When designing your website, design with the user in mind! If your audience will love it, give yourself some freedom to animate away! (Without compromising content, of course). It’s time to say goodbye to useless animations in 2024!
Much like the iconic children’s fair ride, the carousel hero moves fast, yet brings you nowhere. We’ve all been there. You open up a website, and boom!… information overload. The carousel shows you their next big event, their new product, and their new location all within a matter of seconds. This essentially accomplishes nothing. Unfortunately, no one is going to sit there and wait for the next slide to appear. Even if they did sit and watch, the average reader is not going to remember all of these slides. You can’t afford to have all that important information go to waste. The natural reaction of a user is to scroll. Let’s be honest, we’ve all spent hours swiping from one video to the next on TikTok or Instagram. Now more than ever, the vertical scroll motion has become the standard UI for social media platforms. Maybe it’s time for websites to catch on to this trend. The hero is meant to showcase your message. It is the first impression. It is the trojan horse by which you deliver the call to action. Let the hero have its moment without having to share the spotlight with others. The best way to highlight all the information is to stack each section from the top to the bottom. Now, there are cases in which a slider section is utilized well, but it is rarely in the hero. Carousels can be very effective for testimonials, examples, social proofs, and photos. To make a long story short, never use a carousel for important information.
It’s already a dying trend, so let’s make 2024 the final nail in the coffin. The white space trend began with large tech companies like Google and Apple. When Apple began to incorporate white space in their branding, this style quickly became a symbol of the sleek and luxurious products they sold. This was the spark that began the revolution. Today, so many websites try to replicate that “Apple” look that it has become the norm. When it comes to web design, sometimes, you have to break the norm. It’s time to step away from this bygone era. Don’t get me wrong, space is a good thing. But at what point is too much? Who says a clean website needs to have lots of negative space? A website can balance being clean yet compact at the same time. Get ahead of the curve and opt for a design with less negative space! Aesthetics aside, having a compact site is a great decision from a marketing perspective. Having compact sections ensures that the user sees all the content. Web designer, Josh Jacobs, does an excellent job designing the homepage for Jasper.ai. His use of mindful gaps and compact sections generates anticipation for the next section.
Let’s talk about stock photos. (Stay tuned for a secret pro tip!) You’ve got to love a good stock photo! They make for hilarious memes and great visuals for your middle school slideshow presentations, but they have no place on a website. And I’m not just talking about those stock photos (I’m looking at you, Adobe Stock). I’m talking about the glorified stock image website, Unsplash. I’ll be the first to admit that web designers have an obsession with Unsplash. Unsplash has some amazing photos, but when it comes to photos with real people, it’s not much better than Adobe Stock! Usually, you’ll wind up with the same unnatural, staged awkward office picture, only this time, with an aesthetically pleasing filter. It’s time to step away from these kinds of photos. Here’s a pro tip on getting the perfect photo for your website. Let’s say you need an office photo for a website you are designing. Instead of settling for an unnatural picture on Unsplash or Adobe Stock, follow this tip: Create an account for a stock photo website like pexels.com. Instead of searching for a stock photo, search for a stock video. Play a stock video of an office meeting and scroll to a frame that looks the most natural and candid. Pause the video, take a screenshot of that frame, and there you go! As long as you can legally use the stock image, you’ve got you’re stock photo!
Yes, I said Megamenus, but hear me out again! Unless you’re working with a large company or a SaaS company with hundreds of pages, you don’t need a complicated navbar mega menu. You don’t need to put everything on the navbar menu. This is what the footer is for! Check out this site we designed for Tithely. Though the navbar menu is technically a mega menu, it only highlights what is necessary. The rest of the pages can be found in the footer. The last thing you want for your website is for people to feel lost and overwhelmed. When building your menu, choose to highlight only the most important items based on what you know the user will be searching for. With the user experience in mind, choosing menu items should be an easy, straightforward decision.
We love representation! Obviously, we represent people of colour for ethical reasons. At the same time, there are great financial reasons. If you are planning to release a product in the United States, your audience is guaranteed to be a wide range of ethnic backgrounds. Being too exclusive or specific in terms of race in your images and illustrations can cause disengagement and disinterest. Representation of culture has been the push in the last decade of film, television, and media and we’re glad to see it! It’s time to see that same love for diversity in our websites. In this new year, let’s use illustrations, images, and icons that represent people of color. As a designer that is a person of color, it’s rare to find illustrations and images in a website that represent my culture! In the new year, let's take the bigger steps to represent the diversity of the different cultures in our websites. It’s time for people of color to take the initiative to create resources like illustrations and images. One man leading this charge is John D. Saunders, who created Black Illustrations, dedicated to providing inclusion through images and illustrations of people of race and gender.
The future of web design is diverse and we’re here for it!