4 Obsolete Website Elements People Won’t Let Go

4 Obsolete Website Elements People Won’t Let Go.

“You know what really gri​n​ds my gears?!” The following are elements I’m bored of seeing. Left over relics that people thought would be useful back in days gone by, before the web evolved in to what it is today. Relics which no longer make a meaningful contribution to UX in 2014. Why can’t we let them die?

Content Carousels

Carousels may seem like a good way to cram more content and call to actions on a page, but think again. The majority of users wont interact with a ​​slider and will likely resent having to navigate through slides to reach the content they are looking for. In addition​,​ cramming a page full of call to actions is never ​a​ good idea if are trying to funnel your visitors, it create​s​ ambiguity and confusion. Personally​,​ I feel the only place for carousels is for large (full width fluid) background images, and this is providing the images are carefully chosen to look great​,​ as well as contrast well with the foreground. The other place I think carousels are a good shout is for multiple product images, but there should be a thumbnail navigation in this case, and ideally a zoom function. Note that the above acceptable examples, ​are both for ​images​ only​, definitely not for page content or call to actions. http://shouldiuseacarousel.com/ This site sums things up in a nice ironic fashion. Should I use a carousel

Footers

Before people knew a lot about user interaction, footers seemed like a good idea. They provide us with a convenient place to put ancillary links, such as privacy policies and terms, and they give designers an easy way to square things off. This is great, but they seem to have become a mandatory feature of every website, even if there is nothing different to put in it. Often​,​ a footer will just contain a replica of the primary navigation’s top level, along with a copyright notice. In this case, they are just there because we expect them to be there.
Website Footer

This footer seems to duplicate the primary navigation, but doesn’t intrinsic value.

If you have a good reason to build a site footer in​,​ then cool, ​b​ut don’t do it for any of the following reasons:
  • You’re a designer and want to use a footer as a lazy way to balance a design.
  • You’re planning a website navigation, but can’t work​ ​out where to put some stuff. If a page is important enough to be on a website, it’s deserves a place in the primary navigation system. Sticking it in the footer as an after thought is lazy navigation design.
  • SEO execs use footers as a lazy way to create internal linking structures.
Even if you do have a good reason to use a footer, do some user tracking analysis (think clicktail), because here’s what I expect you’ll see. People don’t use footers. A recent UX study on my friend​s ​’s companies website which receives upwards of 80K visits per month, less than 2% of users interacted with the footer. It’s also clear from my own experience browsing the web that footers are, these days, surplus to requirements. I almost never consider looking for something in the footer, I first check the main navigation, then search. I don’t think I’m alone. In addition, with the proliferation of responsive and mobile design implementations featuring infinite scrolling, footers are becoming more and more a hindrance than a useful website element.

Breadcrumbs

Another manifestation of lazy navigation design, breadcrumbs create unnecessary clutter on the page. Bearing in mind that one of the core concepts of good UI design is to keep things simple and focused, why add additional navigation elements to the page, when a well designed nav does a much better job? In the majority of cases, users will only use the breadcrumb navigation to get back to the home page by clicking the first node. This is an action which can normally be achieved by clicking on the site logo, a mere pixels away from the standard placement for a breadcrumb nav. Furthermore, most of the time when I see a breadcrumb navigation, it is only one or two levels deep. `Home -> About Us?’ What is the point of this? In this example, I am already on the ​’​about us​’​ page so I don’t need to navigate to that, and I can click the logo, or primary nav home button to get home. I’d rarther save the clutter ​​and minuet rendering time by not having the breadcrumb at all. ‘Home -> Insights -> 2014 Browser usage stats’. When the breadcrumb is three levels deep, this is normally due to an intermediate category view, which is probably better implemented using a three tier navigation solution or section subnav. Again, save the space, make the site look cleaner, and structure your primary navigation properly. Finally, if you​r​ breadcrumb navigation is more than ​three​ levels deep, your site structure is probably too complicated in the first place.

“The Fold”

Not technically an element, but this one ge​t​s to me all the same. Many stakeholders, especially “old school” marketers, are still religious about this crazy concept of a “fold” online. I agree that certain call to actions and information are better placed near the top of a page for conversion optimisation, but I think the idea of a fold on a website is just ridiculous.
Where is the fold?

This hat has less potential “the fold”s than any website.

Leaving aside for the moment the fact that user’s are accustomed to, and expect to scroll on digital platforms, the bigger no-brainer which renders this concept absurd, is that website’s have no fixed dimensions. How can you talk about the area which is​,​ by default​, ​visible for all visitors when you have no idea what screen​ ​size, zoom, browser width or device your visitors will be using in advance? The best you can do is checkout device useable analytics to deduce the most likely screen region which constitutes “the fold” for the majority of visitors, but even then this is a flawed concept because, oh shit​, b​rowsers can be resized. EDIT: A friend send me this useful link, which shows visually the diversity between screen sizes and where “The Fold” would be. What do you think about these elements? Are they out of date or still important?