Web Design Trends vs. Fads: Two Insights to Help You Tell Them Apart

By Ruth Hawk, Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Fidget Spinner Fad

Changes are constant in web design. Every month seems to bring at least small shifts in thinking and practice within the field. Practically, it is impossible to keep up with all of these changes. If you implemented every new idea that became popular in the world of web design, you would end up redesigning your site every month.

Business Trends

At the same time, web design trends do need to become part of your website. Otherwise, you run the risk of having a site that is out of date and unappealing. A website that does not deliver a modern and appealing look will lose out on traffic, leads, and conversions.

When considering which changes to implement in your website, you need to be able to tell the difference between web design trends and fads. Trends are the biggest, most important changes that are important for you to notice and adopt. Fads, on the other hand, are short-lived and often ill-conceived ideas that you can safely leave out of your web design.

How can you tell the difference between a web design trend and a fad? Here is a look at two of the biggest clues.

Look at what is driving the trend or the fad.

Trends and fads both develop for a reason. In web design, they usually develop because of changes in people’s preferences, changes in technology, or changes in users’ habits and behaviors.

When evaluating whether a change is a trend or a fad, it is important to evaluate what is driving that change. Trends tend to be the result of widespread and fundamental shifts in thinking or technology. They are natural outgrowths of these shifts. They are a necessity if web design is to continue providing individuals with a pleasing and useful online experience.

For example, responsive web design developed because people had shifted from using primarily desktop computers to using primarily smartphones to do their online searching. This change was widespread and fundamental to how people approached websites and online searching. As a result, developing websites that worked smoothly on mobile devices was a logical and necessary change in web design. It was a web design trend, not a fad.

On the other hand, fads tend to be based on intense, specific changes in people’s preferences. They feel immediate and necessary but upon further examination are not actually essential in providing the online experience that people desire.

For example, a few years ago, using Flash was a popular approach to web design. However, Flash was not essential to how people used websites. Nor was it driven by any fundamental shifts in how people thought about web design or in the technology used to create websites. Now, it is an outdated look. It was a fad, not a trend.

Look at the expected length of the trend or fad.

If you are going to adopt a change to your web design, you want it to last more than a few months. Since you probably want to wait a few years in between website redesigns, you want the design you adopt to last at least that long without appearing outdated.

Web design trends naturally have a longer shelf life than fads. The reason for their longevity is the fact that they are based on deep-seated changes to technology and viewpoints. For example, responsive web design has evolved over the last 5 years into a mobile-first design approach. This approach designs the website to work best on a mobile device and then adds features to make it work on a desktop.

However, the basic premise, that websites need to cater to mobile devices, remains unchanged. In fact, that focus is even stronger and more important than it was five years ago, thanks to the ever-increasing popularity of mobile devices.

A fad, on the other hand, tends to be short-lived. This short shelf life is primarily due to the fact that fads are based on emotion or a temporary wave of popularity that builds on itself, crests, and then falls away. Being able to evaluate which is which when faced with a potential change is important if you are going to choose trends over fads.

How can you tell how long a change may last? Evaluate first the reason for the change. Is it based on shifts in technology and thinking that are likely to last for several years? Then you may be dealing with a trend. Is it starting to garner attention from big players like the search engines? It is more likely to last if so.

Retro Rollerskate

Trends and fads in web design differ from each other even if, on the surface, they both look similar. The characteristics that define trends are as follows:

  • Based on fundamental shifts in technology and practice
  • Long-lasting
  • Noted by big players in the web design and development field
  • Necessary to the continued success of users’ online experience

The following, however, are characteristics of fads:

  • Based on more specific, intense, and emotional factors
  • Short-lived
  • Unnecessary to the continued success of users’ online experience
  • Often ignored by big players in the web design and development field

SEE ALSO: Outdated Web Design Trends

Creating a web design that adopts the best trends and changes in the industry requires the help of a professional company. Do not hesitate to reach out to WEBii. We offer web design and web development services that follow and adopt appropriate trends while sifting through fads that may not be helpful to your business. The result is a modern, updated look that allows you to maximize your website’s effectiveness over the long term.

Posted in: Austin Web Design, Mobile Web Design, Web Design, Web Design Resource, WWW Learning Center

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