What happened to excitement and originality?
We are bored. We scour the internet for inspiration on a daily basis in the hope something will genuinely amaze us and yet it’s a very rare occasion when something actually does.
Why? Because everything looks the same.
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There are other elements to add to the equation like client direction, budget constraints and of course there are also trends to ‘follow’. It’s easier to adhere to grids and boxes to ensure that the end result is responsive to the plethora of mobile screen resolutions, hell, we even use them on our own website (in a playful manner) — granted, but what happened to originality, risk and adventure, to the philosophy of thinking different?
We used to enjoy ‘Best of the web’ showcase sites like Awwwards and Siteinspire but even there, the ‘best of sites’ are all very similar — large full screen images / video, masonry blocks, bold typography and usually a large ‘I am…’ or ‘We are…’ blah blah blah intro on the home page.
Remember ‘Splash’ pages and how annoying they were?
Then came the tedious ‘Preloading’ screen which would usually just cause us to get bored very quickly and leave.
Today’s generic intro message screen is the new successor to those damned Welcome pages of yesteryear.
What does your intro message say? It probably tells the visitor what you or your company does and/or claims how you or your company are different to everybody else. The trouble is, that’s exactly the same intro message everybody else has too so your quest to be different, in fact, makes you exactly the same.
Like the ‘Splash’ page, it is a waste of screen real estate and will be fastidiously ignored anyway. Don’t you get it, it’s your work that will prove the message you are trying to get across. I can tell you anything but… The proof is in the pudding!
Why make visitors scroll down below the fold to get past what they don’t care about before seeing what they really came for?
And in most cases, you will even need to add a downward arrow icon at the bottom of the screen to tell visitors there is more below, past this useless promotional statement.
Show don’t tell, now not later.
Keep hamburgers on the BBQ!
Why do web designers insist on using the ‘hamburger’ icon when there is plenty of room for the four or five menu options along the top, side or bottom of the screen? Why force users to open a modal window just to access the rest of the website’s content, shouldn’t that be the most accessible thing on the website?
Yes, we’ve got a ‘hamburger’ icon on our own website but… all of our content is immediately accessible right on the home screen and does not require the user to dip in and out of a modal window every few seconds.
Admittedly, the ‘hamburger’ icon has become synonymous with Menu and visitors have to come to expect it.
The hamburger icon was originally conceived as a visual cue in mobile apps to indicate that there are more options available beyond the current screen — due to tight screen width. An ideal and welcome solution.
It now seems that a lot of designers do not know the difference between a website and a mobile app, tight space and ample space or when to use what. If your site is responsive, as it should be, then dial back on the clicks, give the user immediate access to your content via a visible menu when viewed on the desktop — no need for the hamburger icon there, there’s plenty of space. As the site resizes down and adjusts for smaller screens then by all means, that’s when you should employ the ‘hamburger’ icon and that’s when we should see it.
Remember that thing called user experience?
Most of the ‘same-y’ problems we have cited in our rant are commonplace with personal portfolio or small company websites opposed to product promotion websites that are becoming slightly more adventurous.
A website should be like a music video you are watching for the first time; exciting, keeping you in wonder at what’s coming next and leading you through to the end — all while selling you the song.
We couldn’t agree more.