28. June 2017
As a multimediadesigner, design trends are extremely important to me. Most design trends are there for a reason: years, some even decades, of research has led to the perfection of graphical elements, user experience, and user navigation. This makes sense since the purpose of design trends is to streamline things, make life easier for the user, or in any other way improve an overall design of a page. But when two or more interests collide, we get a design trend that is more annoying for the user than it is useful.
I use Google Now on my phone a lot. I’m not talking about the voice assistant (which is now called Google Assistant), but the interface that gathers information of things you might be interested in and then gives you links for stuff you might want to read. This way, I get information and news from a wide variety of sources and I like that. But this also means, that I come across a lot of different design choices, and one of the things that I’ve noticed a lot recently is the “Read More” button you have to click on in order to read an entire article. This is fine when I’m scrolling through a list of different articles by which I have to choose which one I want to read, but when I’ve already chosen the article I wanna read I don’t want to read 1/3 of the article just to have to press a “Full Article” button and have the page reload. I know that this is useful for statistics on how many people actually read the entire article, crawler protection preventing bots from scalping your article, and faster load times, but from a UX perspective, it’s just plain annoying.
Example (on the mobile version of the site): iflscience.com – a great, fun, and interesting site that you should definitely bookmark!
This is another design trend that is most prominent on mobile pages. Whenever I read an article, a tutorial of whatever on a page, I might sometime wanna scroll up because I need to re-read something. Maybe I just need to re-read the last one or two lines of text, but on some pages, this is a bit of a hassle because of the navigation bar that thinks it needs to reappear the second I scroll just a tiny bit up. This design philosophy of hiding the navigation bar when I scroll down to read but make it re-appear when I scroll up maks sense in theory since it hides the navigation controls when I’m not using them in order to show the maximum amount of text. But more often than not it just ends up being in the way of the text that I’m trying to re-read.
Example (on the desktop and mobile version of the site): androidauthority.com – I love the site, I watch their videos, definitely a great source of tech-news!
Now, this trend may not be that new, but it’s still a minor annoyance. Animation has long been a part of the web, but just because you can, doesn’t mean you should be using it – or at least not the animation lengths that som websites are using. Whenever I press a menu button (again, typically on mobile) I expect to be presented with an array of option for navigating the site. What I don’t expect – or wanna see – is a two-minute long animation of these menu-points flying in from the side, dropping in from the top, or whatever animation the designer thought was a good idea to implement. I’m not against animations at all; quite contrary I think that animations are vital for creating a good user experience, but whenever I have to wait 7 seconds for a menu to open every time I need to navigate to a different page I ask myself “is this animation really that important that it needs to be this long? No, probably not…”. So be selective about what animations you use and more importantly: for how long they should run.
These design trends are just a minor annoyance and don’t ruin the overall user experience of a site. I understand that all of these animation choices were implemented for a reason and that there are pros and cons for all of them but this is purely from a personal UX perspective. These minor nitpicks are exactly that: minor. But why not give some attention to the details? After all, if it’s a good design, people won’t notice it, but if it’s a bad design, it’s all the minor issues that become the big annoyances.