Avoid These 3 Website Design Fads to Keep Conversion Rates High

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Change is good and your website design must evolve to accommodate emerging user preferences and technology. But, says Website Magazine, integrated marketers seeking to modernize shouldn’t be swayed by these or other misused design techniques.

1) Masonry Layout: a grid-like, column-based page style that does not use fixed-height rows but rather reduces the gaps between page elements to optimize page space; masonry layout is also called the “Pinterest-style” because the popular image site was among the first to use it. While visually attractive, the style often fails to point hurried users to information that will quickly solve their problems. This discourages interaction and ultimately causes users to bounce away. It’s a “niche design technique being used…to the detriment of user experience,” observes Website Magazine.

2) Soft, Static Nav Buttons: some integrated marketers try to friendly-up navigation buttons with vague “feel-good” terms such as “Explore” “Discover” “Experience” and “Imagine,” that do little to identify relevant, usable content in the way that say “Products” “Services” and “Support” might. “Brands should design all labels for clarity so that “users have a reasonable idea what to expect when they click on a navigation element,” notes Website Magazine. Otherwise, “they come off as an insecure company just trying to be clever.”

3) Missing Breadcrumbs: This 20+-year old web-design technique (named from the Hansel and Gretel fairy tale) clearly shows users where they are, relative to the rest of the site. But many contemporary designers say they are an outdated design relic bereft of any real usefulness. Usability experts, like Usabilla, disagree. “Users want to know where they are in relation to the rest of the site when they navigate. Not knowing can cause them to get lost and waste time. Breadcrumbs…are a necessity if your site has 3 or more category levels of content. Testing shows that there are only benefits and no downsides to using breadcrumbs.”

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