Back to Learning Center
Subscribe
Join 40,000+ sales and marketing pros who receive our weekly insights, tips, and best practices.
Thank you! You have been subscribed.
Learning Center
Learning Center
Close
The IMPACT Learning Center

Free resources to help you master inbound marketing and They Ask, You Answer

Access the Learning Center

Access the Learning Center

Access the Learning Center
learning_center_grey__What is They Ask, You Answer-v2-black

What is They Ask, You Answer

What is <span>They Ask, You Answer</span>
Articles, Podcasts, & Updates

Articles, Podcasts, & Updates

Articles, Podcasts, <span>& Updates</span>
Free Courses & Certifications

Free Courses & Certifications

Free Courses & <span>Certifications</span>
On-Demand Keynotes & Sessions

On-Demand Keynotes & Sessions

On-Demand <span>Keynotes & Sessions</span>
Events
Events
Close
IMPACT+ Membership
IMPACT+ Membership
Close
Services
Services
Close
Navigation_8_2021_taya

They Ask, You Answer Coaching & Training

They Ask, You Answer Coaching & Training
They Ask, You Answer Workshop

They Ask, You Answer Workshop

They Ask, You Answer Workshop
Navigation_8_2021_workshop

Inbound Marketing Services

Inbound Marketing Services
Navigation_8_2021_website design - monitor

Website Design & Development

Website Design & Development
Navigation_8_2021_hubspot implementation

HubSpot Training & Implementation

HubSpot Training & Implementation
Navigation_8_2021_virtual selling

Virtual Sales
Training

Virtual Sales <br>Training
Navigation_8_2021_swell - paid ads

Paid Search & Social Services

Paid Search & Social Services
Become a Certified Coach
Become a Certified Coach
Close
Marketing Strategy

5 Outdated Design Trends That Are Plaguing Your Website

By Carly Stec

5 Outdated Design Trends That Are Plaguing Your Website Blog Feature

_5_Outdated_Design_Trends_That_Are_Plaguing_Your_Website_Let's say you're walking down the street and you spot someone sporting a 1970's disco suit, a chain wallet, and a Von Dutch trucker hat.

You'd probably think to yourself, "Has this guy been living under a rock or what?"

So what's stopping people from saying the same about your website?

After all, that Word Art-inspired header you've been relying on since 1996 is just about the online equivalent to a dusty, old disco suit....

But you're not a designer, how are you supposed to know what's right and what's wrong?

To get a better grip on which trends should stay and which ones should go, I did some research. I coupled insights from one of IMPACT's finest designers, Donny Wilson, with my online findings, and came up with a list of design trends to avoid like the plague. Check it out. 

1. Bevel and emboss 

Want to send your website in a time machine back to the 90's? I have three words for you: bevel and emboss. 

For non-designers, "bevel and emboss" is a Photoshop effect that can be used to create a 3-dimensional appearance, like this:

bevel_and_emboss

"As a whole the design community will generally agree that the bevel and emboss tool should remain where we slowly put it - in Photoshop's tool graveyard," explains IMPACT graphic designer, Donny Wilson

While some would argue that the bevel and emboss tool works to create standout headlines, we'd argue that it does nothing more than draw attention to your need for a redesign. 

Wilson goes on to explain, "In the past, adding a grotesque amount of effects on your elements and typefaces seemed like a good idea. Then again, that bowl cut your mom gave you seemed like a good idea at the time too."

If you're looking to draw attention to a particular bit of text, focus on creating contrast without the extra effects, like Yottaa did here:

Yottaa_contrast_website_design_example

2. Carousel sliders

While certainly trendy, carousel sliders aren't all that they've cracked up to be. In fact, many designers will encourage you to stay away from the feature, as it has proven to be a poor way of conveying information. 

How so?

According to research from usability analyst, Craig Tomlin, the average length of a visit for a majority of website visitors is under 10 seconds. With that said, if you're hiding valuable information on the 5th slider, you can bet that your visitors won't be around long enough to see it. 

Not to mention, hundreds of website audits have revealed that the average click through rate for carousel slider images is less than .1%. (Source: Useful Usability)

If people aren't sticking around long enough to view them, let alone click them, there's really no reason to employ them. If you want visitors to pay attention and react, consider using one powerful hero image with a carefully crafted value proposition that explains exactly what it is that your business does. 

3. Unrealistic stock photos

We feel the same way about stock photos as we do public restrooms - we'll use them, but only if we have to. 

Unfortunately, a lot of businesses don't share a similar mentality, and as a result, their websites are littered with cheesy, unrealistic images of "happy salespeople talking on headsets" and "successful men in business attire."

The trouble with these images is that your visitors have seen them time and time again, which results in blurred lines and little to no differentiation between you and your competitors. 

Not to mention, these types of monotonous images do very little in terms of establishing trust, as visitors aren't blind to the fact that these aren't the real faces behind your company. 

"Users have learned what cheesy stock photography looks like. Don’t give them the opportunity to crack some jokes on your behalf," urges Wilson. 

If you want to create an honest portrayal of your company, make the investment in professional photographs. If your budget won't allow for this type of investment, follow these instructions to uncover better stock photography options for your business:

4. Skeuomorphic design

When I was little, I felt like my parents went to great lengths to embarrass me. Quite notably I remember their decision to purchase a Buick Estate Wagon equipped with "wood" paneling feeling like a personal attack on my social life. 

What I didn't realize at the time was that very station wagon would come in handy when attempting to explain skeuomorphic design to marketers nearly twenty years later... 

According to Techopedia, "skeuomorphism refers to a design principle in which design cues are taken from the physical world." The "wood" paneling on my parent's station wagon is the perfect example of just that. 

While the feature was designed to look like wood, it wasn't, in fact, made from wood. Get it?

A modern day example of skeuomorphism would be the pre-iOS 7 Apple icons:

Apple_skeuomorphic_design

(Image source: Phonearena)

While skeuomorphism employs familiar elements from the physical world to help users better identify online elements like icons and buttons, Apple designer, Jony Ive, found that as consumers continued to adapt, the need to specify began to diminish.

“When we sat down last November (to work on iOS 7), we understood that people had already become comfortable with touching glass, they didn’t need physical buttons, they understood the benefits,” he explained. 

“There was an incredible liberty in not having to reference the physical world so literally. We were trying to create an environment that was less specific. It got design out of the way.” (Source: USA Today)

Point being, if your website currently employs skeuomorphic design elements, they may no longer be entirely necessary. In fact, they could be dating your website.

5. Sidebars 

Click this!

Download that!

Fill out this form!

More than often, sidebars serve no purpose than to create noise and distract the visitors from the end goal. While many marketers see the sidebar as an opportunity to promote offers, collect email addresses, and highlight other pages, if nobody is looking there in the first place, none of this is being accomplished. 

Last year, we made the decision to get rid of the sidebar on our blog after heat map insight revealed that it wasn't getting any action. As a result, we were able to create contrast between the written content and the colorful CTA at the bottom of the post. This resulted in more eyeballs on our CTAs, which turned into a 71% increase in conversions. (For more on this process, check out this article.)

Topics:

Marketing Strategy
Published on March 17, 2015

Recent Articles

How To Become a Better Coach (for Business Consultants, Sales Coaches, and Marketing Strategists)

By Kimberly Marshall on October 20, 2021
8 min read

Get Clients To Seek Your Approval, Not the Other Way Around (Podcast)

By Kimberly Marshall on October 13, 2021
1 min read

Why Your Business Always Needs to Invest in Marketing — in Bad Times and Good (+ Video)

By John Becker on October 7, 2021
8 min read

How to Grow a Digital Marketing Agency (with Coaching Services)

By Paul D. Grant on October 6, 2021
6 min read

Hire Freelance Writers with Caution (Read this First)

By Paul D. Grant on September 27, 2021
10 min read

5 Key Elements of a Winning Inbound Marketing Strategy

By Kimberly Marshall on September 14, 2021
14 min read

How to Get the Most Out of Your 2-week HubSpot Free Trial

By John Becker on September 13, 2021
5 min read

Free inbound marketing courses and training

By Paul D. Grant on September 10, 2021
4 min read

Drift report on pandemic fallout reveals seismic shift in marketing strategy

By Paul D. Grant on September 9, 2021
2 min read

How much HubSpot do I need?

By John Becker on August 17, 2021
4 min read

Inbound marketing strategy: 7 steps to success

By John Becker on August 11, 2021
8 min read

How can the StoryBrand framework be used for inbound marketing?

By Zach Basner on July 21, 2021
6 min read

8 business blog design examples that keep readers engaged

By Steve Polito on June 16, 2021
6 min read

Think you’re paying too much for HubSpot? Here’s how to get your money’s worth

By John Becker on May 5, 2021
5 min read

Do I need to hire a HubSpot specialist, or can someone on my team handle it?

By John Becker on April 30, 2021
4 min read

Every website agency talks about strategy; How is IMPACT different?

By John Becker on April 19, 2021
5 min read

Customers aren’t getting what they need from my website; What can I do immediately to change that?

By John Becker on March 8, 2021
6 min read

6 tips for creating a successful HubSpot and Salesforce integration

By Joe Bachir on February 12, 2021
5 min read

Is your marketing still relevant in 2021?

By John Becker on February 11, 2021
6 min read

How to best use your 2021 marketing budget so your company rebounds

By John Becker on February 8, 2021
4 min read

53 best marketing books you need to read (updated for 2021)

By Allison Melnik on January 21, 2021
15 min read

Digital marketing budget: How much should you spend per month?

By Eric Dunn on January 14, 2021
9 min read

The 10 marketing KPIs you should be tracking (updated for 2021)

By Carolyn Edgecomb on January 5, 2021
9 min read

How does IMPACT's website strategy blueprint process work? (schedule and outcomes)

By John Becker on December 18, 2020
5 min read

Is HubSpot a requirement for They Ask, You Answer Mastery clients?

By John Becker on December 16, 2020
4 min read