Familiarity on a website can be comforting. Everything is where the user expects it to be, with no unwelcome or confusing surprises. Yet “familiarity” can easily turn into stale, boring, and undesirable. The key is to strike a balance between the old and the new. Good website managers know when to mix things up to keep users intrigued, interested, and engaged with a brand. If your website is too steeped in tradition, it may be ineffective and turn off today’s users. Use these tips to recognize when it’s time to introduce your site to modern trends.
Your Site Still Uses Flash
Adobe Flash media content is one of the fastest ways to increase your bounce rates. Flash may have been the top trend pre-2010, but since both Apple and Google denounced the products, they’ve been on a downward spiral. The reason for the falling out with popular media is that Flash content will not automatically display. Instead, users must manually enable Adobe Flash player for each website. Nowadays, a website is hard pressed to find users willing to take extra steps to view content or download software that may invite viruses to their devices. Modernize your media by switching to HTML5, the new accepted industry standard.
You Jumped Aboard the Hamburger Menu Trend
While the hamburger menu icon (the three horizontal lines in the corners of most webpages today) has served sites well for the last few years, there is an ongoing debate about the menu style’s effectiveness. Many user experience experts denounce the hamburger menu as confusing, discouraging, and the enemy of discoverability. Studies show that users are significantly more likely to use a site’s navigation when some or all options are visible, not hidden – on desktops and mobile. If your site uses the hamburger menu, try switching to a more visible website header or menu list. You may be surprised at an increase in conversion rates.
Your Site Has Obnoxious Pop-Up Ads
Users have sworn off the pop-up ad pretty much since its existence, but if you haven’t had a good enough reason to ditch this dying trend yet, Google’s January 10th algorithm update is officially penalizing websites with “intrusive interstitials,” or ads users must bypass before they can access the site’s main content. If you’re guilty of using these pop-ups, take steps to make your site’s content more immediately accessible. Use easily dismissible banner ads to get your message across, instead.
You Have Generic Stock Photographs on Your Page
Imagery boosts a website’s authenticity and appeal, but bland stock photographs can do the opposite. Consumers are wary of the stock photograph, associating it with brands that have nothing original to offer. Invest in high quality, authentic images of your real employees, offices, and products/services. Genuine photos show users exactly what to expect from your company, and prove that you value legitimacy over saving money on stock photos. If you cannot source original photos, then substituting for high quality stock photos is also an options.
“Out with the old, in with the new” is often the best mantra for optimizing your website. By reviewing your website regularly and nixing these egregious web design wrongdoings, you can maximize your brand’s appeal and credibility for years to come.