The #1 website design trend that will certainly kill your online business is motion.
Motion is everywhere. Sliders, paralax images, and the worst culprit, video headers. In the words of one of our favorite phrases, ‘just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.’
But just why is motion so bad? After all, if Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerburg described us as entering ‘a golden age of online video’, how could it kill our business?
100,000+ Years of Primitive Survival
The problem, however, isn’t the cool website design trend. The problem is us. The problem is our brains. For over 100,000 years, human survival has depended on our brain’s ability to see motion, understand it, and make life-or-death decisions about it.
Did something just move in the trees? Did that shadowy rock just move? Our hyper-sensitive reception to motion kept us one step ahead of animal predators, and several rungs up the evolutionary food chain. But what is the result of over 100,000 years of primitive survival conditioning?
Well, first of all, one doesn’t just un-learn it overnight. Even the past several thousand years of emerging civilization has not been enough to completely retrain our brain functions, or to forget essential survival instincts.
Our Hyper-Sensitivity to Motion
The bottom line? No matter how hard we try to look away, motion catches our attention every time.
On the surface this sounds pretty awesome, right? If we want someone to notice our website in a world full of distractions, of course we should fill it full of moving images or video headers, right? Not to mention that these website designs look really, really cool. Right?
Unfortunately, that motion works against you. Track your performance and you will notice that your slider or video header gets more of your users’ attention than your the call to action. A distracted user is not an engaged user. Worst of all, distracted users eventually hit the back button and disappear.
Non-Performing Motion in Web Development
Let’s take a little bit more in depth look at what’s working, and what’s not, when you include motion in your website design.
Sliders are often used to showcase an array of products, services, or featured sections of a website. They typically occur on a homepage, just above or below the main navigation. They tend to take up the most prominent space on the homepage, front and center. Here’s what’s wrong with using sliders.
- Unfortunately, for the average homepage, user time on-page is not sufficient for the user to actually view all the sliders.
- If the message is important enough to have on your homepage, then it’s probably important enough to ensure that your audience sees it. A static page, with static images, is the only way to guarantee this.
- A familiar James Carville quote says that, ‘If you say three things, you don’t say anything.’ While counter-intuitive to some, this philosophy speak to the short attention span of almost all known online behavior.
Our best advice to our clients is that we take the time to find the right message. This is the most powerful message for your audience to hear. Once we have the message, we get rid of the slider and deliver that one, most powerful message directly to them.
If, against all our best advice, you still decide to use the slider, then do yourself one really big favor. Make sure that each slider contains text and a specific call to action (CTA). Hint, use buttons for your CTAs.
Simple Parallax Scrolling
Simple parallax scrolling is eye-catching feature we see on many sites. This is when an image remains fixed in the background, while the text and content scrolls up and down, as if sliding in a layer above it. Here’s why we believe simple parallax scrolling should also be avoided.
- If you noticed the feature, even thought to yourself how cool it was, then you were, by definition, distracted by it. We believe that the best website design trends are the ones that go unnoticed, and simply just work. Any feature that is more engaging that your unique selling proposition (USP) or call-to-action (CTA) has got to go.
Number Countdowns and Count-Ups
I believe the idea behind these jquery plugins is that the moving numbers will create a sense of urgency. This urgency, in turn, is supposed to make you buy now.
- Unfortunately, once again we are looking at the numbers, counting up or down with them, and have almost completely forgotten what we came to your website for in the first place.
I do not know of a formal name for this particular website design trend. (Wiggle stereoscopy?) These are images that ‘wiggle’ in a parallax effect sort of way. When done correctly, this technique produces an image that is very hard to look away from. It is one part curiosity and another part fascination.
- Once again, the motion technique is more interesting than any possible word, phrase, or call to action on the website.
If you’re going to use this technique, at least use it on the phone number or other call to action, not some random header-type of image.
Motion that Actually Works
There is one major exception to all of the above. Video. Video is a powerful marketing medium that can do things that CSS motion tricks cannot. So here’s a list of reason why you should definitely, certainly, almost always use video motion.
- Users love video. Numbers don’t lie. Our agency data shows a direct link between on-page engagement and utilizing a featured video. Want to see your time on page go up, or click through rates increase? Embed a video.
- The proliferation and view of videos has increased dramatically. We seem to have an unlimited appetite for video. A recent study suggests that the average US adult watches 5.5 hours of video every day. Up 38% from 2011. Many people would rather spend ten minutes watching a video than read an article they could finish in two.
- Google loves video. The Google Search Algorithm favors things that engage users and enhance the overall experience. Video, especially YouTube video, is one of these things. Webpages with videos tend to rank higher than those without.
- Videos allow powerful messaging, and can convey information quickly and completely. For example, informational, ‘explainer’ videos can use animation and voice over to convey information that would normally take many pages, images, and graphs to convey without video.
- Another often referred to quote is that people don’t buy features and benefits, they buy an emotional experience. Videos tell stories and create emotional connections that compel people to buy. When done right, video can turn even the most unsuspecting prospects into raving fans.
The Best Website Design Trend for Your Business
Of course, we would be remiss if we did not mention the best website design trend of all. The trend I am referring to, of course, is high-performing, results-driven, conversion-optimized webpages. Something which we specialize in.
Whether you agree with our position on website motion or not, if you need better results for your business, then put eWebResults to work for you today. We combine our expertise in web design with your expertise in your industry, to create campaigns that deliver results that matter to your business. Guaranteed. Simply fill out the form, or call us at (713) 592-6724.
The #1 Website Design Trend that Will Kill Your Business | eWebResults
Author: Javier Chiesa
Javier is the creative director, a talented graphic designer, and IT expert with over 18 years of experience. He specializes in system administration, general enterprise hardware & software, and is fluent in multiple programming languages. He graduated from University of Houston with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a major in computer information systems and a master’s degree in information technology. He formed E-Webstyle (now eWebResults) with Chris Burres in 1999. Currently he leads the design team and all IT support efforts for eWebResults clients.
Javier’s skills extend from IT and graphic design into the realm of photography. Javier has great experience with photo editing and manipulation, as well as illustration, and ad concept creation.