Design is communication, but these design trends missed the memo.
Trends come and trends go, some more obnoxious than others, but the ones we truly love to hate are the ones that actively impede usability and create a confusing user experience. And worse yet, that seem to continue gaining popularity despite this! Who are these people?! Why do they think this is a good idea?!
#1 Default Hidden Navigation
We get it, your site is WAY too cool to give users the ability to quickly scan your nav and find the relevant content themselves.
#2 When the hidden nav pops out it then has a confusing icon, crazy loading animation, and pops the navigation in the lower left hand corner WHAT
Sometimes the crazy hidden navigation isn’t cool enough and you need to REALLY take things up a notch. Upon clicking on this hamburger it then turns into a “banned” or “not allowed” symbol, which I suppose is meant to mean “close”. Not sure. The background animates in a cacophony of lines and finally the actual site nav loads in the lower left hand corner, as far as possible from the upper right hand corner, where your mouse was when you clicked on their hidden nav hamburger. Please, tell me how this is usable, strategic, or even remotely a good idea?!
#3 Sites that don’t load until you start scrolling
No, I don’t mean lazy loading where we defer loading images to conserve bandwidth, or even having elements scroll or fade in as you go down (thats it’s own special flavor of obnoxious), but having a blank page until you start scrolling. And you have that moment of “Oh the site didn’t load…” Not a great idea guys.
#4 Hardcore over-use of animations
I did not survive Flash and it’s myriad insanities to be subjected to unnecessary flamboyant fetishization of animations. This isn’t a TV show, this isn’t a game, this is a website where I go to consume information, not wait for your “cool animations” to finish running. Spend more time creating compelling content and intuitive architecture and you won’t feel the need to distract from a lack of substance by subjecting users to your Pixar aspirations.
#5 Single page wipe transition looping scroll-hijacking what even is this
It started with parallax, a simple scrolling stylization, safe in small doses, and has blossomed into a panoply of cthulu-knows-what monstrosities that pepper the (largely NYC) inters capes. Why have a simple scroll that you can predict how fast it’ll go, how the page will transition, what will happen when your mouse hovers over the next item…when you can highjack the scroll speed and pseudo scroll divs in delayed wipe transitions with jarring segues and wait WAIT WE CAN HAVE IT LOOP TOO? Yes, you can. Slow down buddy, pump the brakes, your overdosing on trendiness.
Cool is the enemy of usable. Moderation is key. Please, think of the users.
Slathering your website in every trendy jQuery library or obfuscation oriented design pattern is not going to impress anyone. Your content impresses people, your message impresses people. Design trends come and go, but strategy and usability never go out of style.