Since the art of web design only proliferated in the ’90s, most of us have seen it evolve through the years. But before it became the reader-friendly, easy-on-the-eye designs of today, amateur and pro web designers alike most probably committed one or two colossal blunders in the discipline of proper designing.Web design mistakes are the equivalent of the worst fashion faux pas committed on the red carpet. They got everyone asking: what were they thinking?! Flaming GIFs, off-colored scrollbars, marquee texts—put them all together and voila! You get the award for the worst web design trends in recent memory.

The things is, these actually started off as trends that (thankfully) died down. For seasoned pro’s and rookies, here are the top 15 worst web design trends you probably did before.

In the meanwhile you may want to read some of Web Design related articles

15 Web Design Trends to avoid

1. Custom Mouse Cursors

Worst Web Design Trend 1
Apparently, some people found the traditional mouse pointer passé. They decided to change the cursor arrow to various cartoonish images like Mickey Mouse, a panda, a cat, or a dog. They also added effects on cursor trailers, so the pointer now moves shadowed by fairy-like trail worthy of Tinker Bell.

2. Custom Scrollbars

Worst Web Design Trend 2
The usual scrollbars are also apparently another source of boredom for a lot of people. You can see numerous websites with customized slider, track, top and bottom arrows. While they may not be annoying, they sure are distracting.

3. Website Visitor Counters

Worst Web Design Trend 3
We get it: you want people to know how many visitors you had. So some webmasters decided to put up flashy, animated visitor counters that would show off their legions of readers. Too bad a lot of them were unrealistic. Visitor counters achieved two things: turn off the visitor or make them doubt the numbers flashing on their screens.

4. Short Repeating .wav Files

Here’s the thing: a lot of people check out websites while listening to music. So it annoys them when your website automatically runs with a .wav music file. Worse, the player is hidden and it’s on loop. Do you want a way to automatically lose visitors? This is it.

5. Horrible .gif Animations


Back in the day, websites were peppered with GIF (graphics interchange format) images in all the wrong places. Webmasters use GIFs in the same way as a fashion-challenged girl would accessorize her outfit: too much. Worse, auto-generate websites multiplied, in response to the growing demand of cheesy, low-quality GIF images.

6. Incredibly Annoying Pop-ups

Worst Web Design Trend 4
Pop-ups used to be a marketing ploy. After all, who can escape from the sudden attack of the pop-ups? Visitors have no other choice than to look at them. The good thing is that webmasters have now realized that pop-ups do nothing more than annoy the living daylights out of their visitors.

7. Animated Weather Backgrounds

So the website owner wanted to keep up with the seasons by decorating his site with a Winter Wonderland background, complete with falling snow. Sure, this may be the best season of the year for you, but it is hurting the website aesthetically. For one, it affects the readability of the website. Secondly, you have to regularly update your design, so visitors will not see snow during the heat of summer.

8. Website Best Viewed in Text and Graphics

Worst Web Design Trend 5
“Best viewed in (insert browser here).” How many times have we seen this? Nowadays, it’s SOP to make sure that the website is compatible with the major web browsers.

9. Scrolling Text – Marquee Tag

Worst Web Design Trend 6
There came a point in time when web designers became obsessed with moving text. Left to right, right to left, and bouncing texts were used to break the otherwise static design of the site. But marquees were so overused, people would just skip looking at them.

10. Flash Intros

Flash can add to the overall look of the website, if used properly. The days of flash intros are now over, however, as it will only drive away visitors who would rather check another website than wait for your image to load.

11. Too Many Ads

Worst Web Design Trend 7
A lot of people make money online. But if your site is pelted with ads, readers may think that the entire website contains little to no useful information.

12. Jumbled Layout and Navigation

A rule of thumb for creating websites: viewers should get to any page within two clicks from where they are currently on. Unless they are doing intensive research, the average reader does not have the patience to scour through websites to look for the important details.

13. Bad Color Palette

Some webmasters badly need a crash course on color psychology. Depending on the overall message of the website, owners need to choose the appropriate color palette. For text-heavy sites, it is advisable to do away from negative color schemes, or light-colored text against a dark-colored background.

14. Busy patterns in your backgrounds

Loud, distracting background patterns direct the eye of the viewers everywhere except the content of the website. If busy backgrounds were the “in” thing before, use solid, soft gradient, and minimally patterned backgrounds today.

15. Obscure Fonts

Obscure fonts are often a big no-no in website design. Chances are your visitors will not be able to load them. It’s always safer to stick with Verdana, Georgia, Arial and Tahoma, as these are the standard web fonts.

Am I Missing Anything?

Let us know if you have ever come across any other trend that made you say What were they thinking? It would be great to have comments from your side!

Nikko Marasigan writes topic about marketing, branding, graphic design, and blogging. He writes for Uprinting.com, a leading socially responsible online printing, marketing and technology firm that offers business card printing, postcards, brochures, canvas prints and various printed marketing media. 

Nikko Marasigan – who has written posts on Demortalz – Get Inspired.