User Experience - Function over Form
Every year, design trends for websites emerge. For 2018, for instance, the current trend leans towards broken grid guidelines, floating navigation menus, varying fonts and improved mobile functionality.
In contrast, 2013 saw design trends such as flat design, static headers, infinite scroll, typography-led designs, and extra-large buttons. These design trends change for a reason: they are there to conform to what is palatable to visitors; they adapt to the changing preferences; or sometimes, they change simply for the sake of not being stale.
However, these design trends go all for naught if they do not add value to user experience. The design of your website is there to give a good first impression. It is to make the viewers take a long hard look. But it is great user experience that makes the viewers stay. And you want your viewers to stay for as long as possible to click on more pages, to read your articles, to know more about what you’re offering, and to ultimately avail of your product or service.
Things like ease of use, user-friendly interface, ease of finding information, useful articles and navigability are essential in the success of your website. Design is only one aspect of offering a pleasant experience to the user.
Amazon, for example, has made changes in its look over the years. However, the design of Amazon is relatively spartan compared to trendier websites. It has instead focused on delivering amazing user experience. Aside from making it easy for viewers to discover for the product they are looking for, it has revolutionized online buying experience to make it easier to purchase. More particularly, it introduced one-click ordering.
Amazon figured out that visitors often browse through products and add items to their online cart, only to be frustrated by the several steps before actual purchase, making the visitors abandon their cart. Thus, one-click ordering was born. With one-click, your settings are saved when you make your first order and enter a payment method and shipping address. So on subsequent purchases, you just click Buy Now button, and your order will be automatically charged to the payment method and shipped to the address associated with your original purchase.
The end result? Better user experience and more converted sales, with Amazon now recognized as the top internet retailer in the world in terms of revenue.
Taking the cue from Amazon, it is ok to follow some trends if it improves the experience of the user. But you should not lose sight of the primary purpose of your website, which is to make it more convenient for the viewer to use your website and convert views into sale.