What Makes a Website Look Dated?

While browsing around the web this morning, I came across an interesting article that I would pass on to my readers. The article was written by James George and posted on the Design Festival website.

Having an outdated style for your website can leave a negative impression with your visitors, reduce your overall traffic, and lower the interest and credibility of your site. Retro or vintage designs are great, but retro/​vintage and outdated are two entirely different concepts, and no visitor will interpret an outdated site as a purposeful throwback to an earlier time.

He calls our attention to the following "pitfalls."

  1. Having Anything that is Flashing or Blinking – The flashing and blink icons and banners still turn up on occasion especially on hobby sites. To my way of thinking, there is nothing more annoying that flashing and blinking items on a page. This is especially true if you are trying to sell something to your viewer.
  2. Generic Colors -  for hyperlink states. I’m not sure I totally agree with this as sometimes the generic colors work well with a site. However, I do use CSS to style hyperlinks on my site with colors that match the rest of the site.
  3. Generic Typefaces -  Google Web Fonts makes it easy to integrate custom typefaces as part of your website. You don’t have to stick with Arial, Helvetica, Verdana and the other “web safe” typefaces. You might also consider the CSS3 @font-face Rule. The @font-face rule is only supported by newer browsers.
  4. Using Tables for Your Design – Tables are meant to be used to present data NOT for site layout. You can and should construct all of your layout ideas using CSS. Add dimension to your websites by using the text shadow and box shadow CSS properties. Remember though, these properties are only supported by newer, modern browsers
  5. Using Images Where You Could Use CSS – One of the most common uses of images was the ability to use "fancy fonts" for typography since not everyone might have the font you chose to use on their computer. With Google Web Fonts and @fontface integration, you can find almost any style of typeface that will match what you are looking for.
  6. Not Taking Advantage of CSS at All  – Using CSS will make your site much faster to load and much easier to update and maintain.
  7. Not Using Transparency in Logos & Images That Require It – Is yours a site that uses a certain background color with a logo image pasted against it? Looks kind of haphazard. Create your images with a transparent background and it will look so much more professional.

It’s important that you the web designer stay up-to-date on the latest practices so that YOUR website doesn’t look dated. Ask yourself if YOUR website has any of the qualities mentioned above. If so, you might want to consider redesigning it or at least updating it.

You can read What Makes a Website Look Dated? by visiting the Design Festival site.

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