How Popular Design Trends In 2017 Can Backfire And Harm UX
By Yoon Sann Wong, 22 Oct 2017
Being aware of design trends is good, but using them blindly isn’t. In a recently-penned, helpful article titled ‘Dangerous Design Trends 2017’ on Medium, UI/UX designer Eleana Gkogka elaborates on six popular design trends that can backfire and do more harm than good to the users’ experience.
“We, designers, know that following design trends is a crucial part of our job, but we shouldn’t use them blindly,” warns Gkogka in her introduction.
“Not every trend is useful, helpful or appropriate for every case. Even good trends can turn bad, damaging the user experience. That’s why we have to use them mindfully, filtering them and adjusting them when needed.”
Gkogka spotlights three main trends, each accompanied by an explanation on the dangers that come with thoughtless following, as well as recommended dos and don’ts to steer clear of such possibilities, before ending off with three honorable mentions:
1. Bright colors
2. Experimental layouts
3. Little details
4. Tiny typography
5. Experimental navigation
Preview her article below and read her full write-up here.
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Vibrant colors help grab audience attention, but overuse can make the readers’ eyes “bleed” and subsequently turn them away.
“Bright colours, behind or even near text copy, can make reading unpleasant, annoying, or impossible. Bright colours reflect more light. It’s like flashing a torch on peoples’ faces, while they are trying to read. Even if they do manage to read, they will have a negative experience resulting in disliking you and whatever you are trying to say there.”
Dos: Balance bright colors with larger chunks of neutral or darker hues; use bright colors as a detail, particularly to guide the user. Find out more.
Don’ts: Avoid using vibrant colors as the main background color, as well as behind or near the main text copy. Find out more.
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This unbalanced design, where photography, typography, and interface are not ideally aligned, can be playful and interesting. However, experimental layouts can frustrate users if it causes them to spend more time sourcing for relevant information.
“Our daily lives are chaotic enough. Do we need more of that, while trying to find information online? The unbalanced playfulness in a layout can easily interfere with the scannability and discoverability of information in a website, making browsing an overwhelming experience. When the main objective is getting information from a content heavy page, then layout structure is necessary.”
“…In experimental layouts, elements often float away from each other, splitting the content in weird and sometimes random, non-hierarchical ways. Other elements might overlap or end-up in less visible areas of the page, making it particularly hard to read, group and process information.”
Dos: This trend could be more suitable for when reading content is not the main objective. Utilize overlapping elements only when you have great contrast and large enough typography. Find out more.
Don’ts: Avoid experimental layouts when it comes to content-heavy pages. Don’t randomly throw elements across the page. “Some basic alignment must always take place,” reminds Gkogka. Find out more.
Read Gkogka’s full article, which includes the dangers of using little details, as well as all the dos and don’ts for popular design trends in 2017.
[via Medium, main image via Shutterstock]
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