One of the best things about the way technology is continually changing is that it allows writers to be endlessly creative about the ways they interact with readers. But not every new idea is necessarily the best idea. In fact, some of the latest Web design trends that seem like great ideas may actually be too much of a good—or bad—thing.
Here Are The Web Design Trends Most Writers Should Probably Avoid
Building down (and down, and down, and down). Some Web designers are trying a new tactic: Instead of asking visitors to click into a navigation bar, they put their best content on the homepage in a way that forces readers to scroll down…and down…and down—to finally reach a footer with some clickable links and content. Some visitors might not figure out that they need to scroll. And others will feel irritated that they are forced to look at content you’ve chosen for them (for example: a promo for your newest book), instead of content they’re actually looking for (such as other books you’ve written).
Hiding too much of your navigation menu. You may have noticed the “three horizontal bars” icon that Web designers use to indicate the presence of a hidden menu. Hover over it, and voilà! The menu appears. But hiding the wrong things under the three bars icon can obscure your call to action and hurt sales. For example, if your “buy my book” link is in a hidden menu, you might lose sales.
Social media overkill. If you want to, you can import a plug-in from every single social media site that you update so that your website visitors can skim all your latest news on a single page of your site. But that can leave your reader feeling overwhelmed. Like a tourist in Times Square, visitors won’t know which flashing billboard to look at first. Social media integration can be powerful but choose one or two social media feeds for live updates. Then, represent the rest with icons.
Overdoing it with apps. With third-party apps, you can add lots of bells and whistles to your author website. But since these apps are all designed by different people, you may end up trying to integrate apps that don’t play well together—which will affect your site’s functionality. Using multiple apps by different designers will also result in many different style aesthetics, ruining the cohesive look of your website design and your author brand.
Embracing “Bad” Web Design. If you’re an edgy writer who thrives on riling people up, there’s a Web design movement for you. It’s called Web brutalism and, in short, it is an aesthetic that embraces unfriendly, cumbersome design. The philosophy seems to have been hatched in response to the glib, breezy, and friendly websites that most modern Web browsers (the human kind) prefer. For most writers, Web brutalism is a trend to avoid. But we imagine that this kind of creative design would work beautifully to support certain author brands (like counterculture writers who want to shake up the status quo).
Even Bad Design Ideas Can Be Good…In Moderation
The taste buds of human beings are programmed to detect bitterness because it may indicate the presence of something harmful. But not all bitter foods are dangerous: consider coffee, kale, or unsweetened cocoa. This same “taste test” can apply to Web design. “Bad” author website trends shouldn’t necessarily be avoided if you find a way to make good use of them—and variety is the spice of life!
Question: What’s your Web design pet peeve?