7 Design Mistakes From 2016 (And How to Fix Them This Year)

2016 was a groundbreaking year for interaction design. While trends in web design have rapidly evolved, we’re still seeing some of the same mistakes being repeated. Here are some of the most common ones the industry has yet to shake.  

1.Avoid Animation Overload

Page transitions or hover states are an easy way to liven up a site. But sometimes these effects can overwhelm or annoy users. Complicated transitions can cause unnecessary delays, take from important interactions, and cause drop-off. Designers should always prioritize the user experience and content, even if that means cutting back on some animations or cool effects. Stay on strategy and focus on ease of use.

2.Don’t Force Desktop Design On Mobile

Most time spent in the responsive design process can be on the desktop experience, oftentimes resulting in mobile becoming an afterthought. Instead, consider whether engagement on your site should be different for mobile. Often, mobile users don’t require the same experience or features as they do on desktop. It’s imperative to do research, pull actionable target insights and then dive into a mobile strategy with a consumer first approach.



3.Declutter the Screen

Confusion is time-consuming, and users won’t put up with it. Approach app design with simplicity first. Make sure whatever you want your user to do is clear and intuitive and avoid presenting them with too many options. By establishing a strategic hierarchy through the user experience, you can guarantee your design will be effective. Digital products like Airbnb or Oscar do an amazing job of this.

4.Be Consistent with User Interface

The devil is in the details. In 2016 we saw a lot of basic UI elements used incorrectly, leading to frustrating user experiences. This was as small as arrows in a slideshow not staying in the same place, requiring a user to have to move their cursor around for each slide. UI elements on a site should be clear and consistent, giving users a frictionless path through your experience.

5.Make Sure your Color System is Clear

When working with color, aim for consistency. Whether it’s one color or eight, make it obvious what the system is through patterns in UI. If red is used on a sign-up button on one page, it’s easier for the user to find it on another page if it’s red. There are exceptions to this, but color should not add confusion to the user experience, rather help to establish hierarchy in different types of content and UI.

6.Be Consistent with Photography Assets

Photography is often taken for granted, but it’s a branding element that should be treated just like color or fonts. Establish art direction for photography that speaks to your brand’s personality and then keeps it consistent. Anything from subject matter or scale to lighting and tone can establish a point of view for photography that can make your brand’s presence stronger and more memorable.

7.Don’t Make Something Just Because It’s “Cool”

When you’re inspired, it’s easy to lose sight of the client’s brand, message, etc. But make sure what’s “cool” is also effective. You might want to use a trendy graphic treatment that Millennials would love, but you’re working on a project for an audience that’s 60+. Always keep strategy and audience top of mind, and work within that framework to create experiences you and the client will be proud of.

As 2017 gets underway, let’s put some of these design mistakes behind us and continue to push the envelope of what’s possible in interactive design.  

What were some of the worst design mistakes you saw in 2016?

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