Web design, like anything else, is subject to trends and fashions. One leading website will adopt a new design choice or innovation and suddenly it’s cropping up everywhere online. And, like all trends, the designs that are cutting-edge and trendy today will look dated or even laughably over-done in a few years when the fashioned change.
Great design is a combination of style and function. The best designs take the end users needs into account and creates a solution that will meet those needs. What does this mean for you as a site owner? It means that a design that works great for one business might be totally wrong for you – and following the wrong trends might actually hurt your site’s performance.
“Apple” and Oranges
Here’s an example for you: One of the most influential companies in web design is Apple. As one of the biggest and well-known tech companies in the world, Apple is an instantly identifiable brand supported by a massive marketing budget. So it’s hardly surprising that Apple’s been ahead of the curve when it comes to web design, with many trends following in its footsteps as eager designers seek to adopt the successful formulas of the Apple site.
However, there’s more to successful web design than just copying Apple or any other popular site. In fact, copying a trendy design without considering your own site’s needs is a recipe for disaster:
- Your company is not Apple. It’s not Microsoft or Coca-Cola or GEICO, either. Your company has its own identity, and its website should too.
- Your site should reflect your company. The color scheme, navigation and graphics used for a tech site just won’t work for an insurance company.
- Your site needs to work for its audience. A tech-savvy minimalist design that appeals to some users will be frustrating to navigate for an older audience. It doesn’t matter how beautiful your site is; if it doesn’t fulfill the user’s needs, it’s not a good design.
Big companies aren’t successful just because of their websites: They have marketing, brand identity, great products and other perks in their favor. So copying their design – or any other single aspect of their marketing – isn’t a recipe for overnight success, and it could be detrimental.
Instead of following trends blindly, take the time to discuss your needs, your audience and your branding with your web designer. Together, you can create a site that will be perfectly designed for YOU instead of just following the herd!