10 Web Design Features that we’d Love to See Disappear Forever and Why


Over the years numerous web design features have been created and implemented on the web that may have seemed cool at the time. However, today they seem outdated and even annoying to most users of the Internet. What may have seemed trendy and popular then now only displays how old and outdated the web design of your web site is compared to newer, trendier ones. We always tell clients who are happy with their older-looking web sites that, while they may still think it meets their needs, it probably pales in comparison to the more recently updated web sites of other businesses in their industries. More and more people have realized that the site design that they had in 1999 might not be “keeping up with the times,” and have opted to refresh their presence on the Internet. Even still, you will come across these types of trends and features all the time. Many of the folks that create their own sites without the knowledge that comes with years of success in the field go overboard and include a host of features thinking that they are neat, funny, and showcase their talents in web design. In actuality, a web site that meets the needs of the business, is easily navigable, and has the ability to grow is considered an effective web site.

Approachnet has over a decade of experience as a web design company and we specialize in not only web site design, but also in SEO – Search engine optimization for relevant keywords and web hosting. We thought it would be interesting to compile a list of all of some common pitfalls and poke a little lighthearted fun at our own industry.

Web Site Visitor Counters
These were used and often asked for in the past. They were quite popular in the early days of the Internet and you would likely find one on most web sites back then. Of course, back then there were not as nearly as many web sites or users of the Internet. These counters were not very advanced back then and would actually count how many times a day someone popped onto a web site; they could not track unique visitors then and would commonly count a person that visited a site 5 times a day as 5 different people when, in actuality, only one individual visited the site 5 different times.

Tacky Animations – Moving Characters
Let’s face it: if you have used the Internet for anything, even helping your child with a school project, for instance, you have probably run across the common moving, dancing, wiggling, and thoroughly annoying moving characters. Fifteen years ago, they were common and quite cute to most. Think back to the Ally McBeal days when the “Dancing Baby” character phenomenon had everyone talking. You will still run across the “Dancing Baby” animations and others like it from time to time, and today, instead of considering them cute, most people find them annoying and outdated. Another example of this is the clip of the late actor Chris Farley’s appearance on Saturday Night Live, in which he spoofed a Chippendales dancers. Remember… when it comes to adding features to your website, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Talking Virtual People & Characters
We can see how the concept could be helpful. These features were implemented to seemingly help businesses say whatever they wanted to the potential clients through a cute character or “virtual” person. Many widely marketed companies began to use these on their sites; however, it is hardly ever asked for these days, as most understand that sounds, noises, and music that begins playing automatically when visitors enter your site deters some users from visiting it at certain times—especially when they’re at work. Your probably thinking, Well, technically, they should be working. But stop and think. If you are in the vacation industry, for instance, most people plan their vacations and search for planning materials at times when they are at work, especially if they have access to their own computer at work, as most professionals do these days.

Pop-ups have got to be one of the most annoying things on the planet, and one of the most avoidable as well. Most people have special pop-up blocking software running on their computers integrated into there browsers. Even if you think it might be a good idea to have a page advertising something new, it’s likely that it will not be seen since most visitors have web browsers that block the annoying pop-ups.

Under Construction Graphics
We’ve all seen it, and we may have even used these on a few of our own designs back in 1998. Today, however, the old “Under Construction” graphics are seen as out-dated and are not widely used. A place marker page can be created using your logo and other special contact information if you have a domain name and you would like to put something up as your web site is being developed. We typically do not design these unless asked, as we would rather Google and the other important Search Engines spider and index your site and Domain Name with the properly designed website that we designed for you.

Read more about Approachnet’s SEO – Search Engine Optimization service , graphic designers  and programmers, who are here to help you.

Scrolling Text – Marquees
Very few people in this day and age are going to sit through a scrolling bit of text on a Marquee, no matter how cool you think it might be. We live in an age where consumers want everything NOW and have a short attention span; they want things FASTER, they want every answer to be at their fingertips. They do not and will not sit through scrolling text to find out about your next special. This web design feature has never been a great way to get a lot of information on a site, but it was used a good bit back when Microsoft released Windows 95. Today it should not be used, EVER.

.WAV Files – Music that Begins Playing on Home Page
We’ve talked a lot about this in the past, so there’s no need to rehash that old battle. Suffice it to say that we try as much as possible to deter the use of sound and music on a web site for the same reasons that it is not wise to use talking characters, etc.—especially ones that begin playing automatically when visitors enter your site; however, we do realize there might be a specific use for this. For example, it may be necessary for companies in the music industry or artists.

Mouse Cursor Trailers
You might not know exactly what this is, but we’re pretty sure you’ve probably seen it if you have ever visited any 16-year-old’s MySpace page. These were graphic creations that trailed your cursor. As you moved your mouse cursor across the screen, it would then be followed by some sort of graphic creation that literally went everywhere you rolled your mouse. Just as you probably do not want anyone invading your personal space, users of the Internet do not want anyone invading their monitors with useless graphics that follow the cursor around.

Funky Button Designs on Navigation
There is such a thing as going overboard with web design, and buttons that have been over-designed are often harder to read and find. Of course, all buttons on your navigation bar need to be uniform; however, if they are over-designed, and contain too many elements and filters, they are much like buttons that are designed differently. Buttons should be simple, easy to read, easy to find, and, of course, all buttons should WORK properly, meaning when you click on them they take you to the proper page. Also it should be consistent through-out your website.

Sign my Guestbook Pages
The commonly used Guestbook page and “sign my guestbook” gimmicks died right around the time that people discovered that most Guestbook pages were nothing more than a cleverly disguised way for businesses to get your personal information, like your email address, for instance. Some people used Guestbooks, and still do, for proper reasons and many use them as a tool to stay in contact with their clients and customers, but there are now newer and more improved ways to stay in close contact with your customers and better ways to get feedback. Approachnet can give you helpful advice on how to achieve these things without resorting to antiquated web design elements such as Guestbook pages.

We invite you to contact us for a free consultation on our web design services. You can also browse our other web design services on our site to get ideas on what features and elements you want us to implement in your new company web design. We started developing websites in 1998 and have grown into a Florida web design company that serves hundreds of clients in more than 28 states.