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Web design trends we lost in 2009

Sarah Graveling
Sarah Graveling
Creative Director
16 December 2009

Do you still think “above the fold” or think that multiple pages are better for SEO?

Here I outline how 2009 has seen the thankful demise of a few web design trends or myths:

Frames

Thanks mainly to W3C accessibility guidelines, the usage of frames has rapidly declined over the years. In fact usability best practices don’t recommend using iFrames either, suggesting to use the page length instead of interpage scrolling.

Below the fold

There was a time when all content (mainly on homepages) had to be above the fold, because the belief was that users don’t scroll. Over time research has shown that users DO scroll, in fact over 95% of users scroll.

It’s good news. It means that designers (and clients) no longer have to battle over what should be included and just simply prioritise the information rather than cram it above the fold.

This should alarm the SEO’s who are still encouraging lots of small SEO content below the fold on homepages.

800 x 600

Thankfully, nobody designs for 800 x 600 anymore. Browser stats show that only 4% of users still only have a resolution of 800×600 with 57% higher than 1024×768.

3 click rule

Based on the book by Jeffrey Zeldman, he wrote that everything had to be accessible to the user within 3 clicks.

Although there is definitely an element of truth in this, more recent usability research adds that the ability to source their criteria in depth is more important, than adhering to this rule religiously.

Multiple pages are good for SEO

A few years ago the belief was that multiple pages had more value to SEO. For example if you have a lot of content around a product, dividing the content into split pages with unique URL’s and H1’s is beneficial.

Now it’s more about the quality of content and using the page length instead. Structure the page well and use interlinking, such as on Wikepedia.

Using flash is bad for SEO

Generally, flash is bad for SEO, but this doesn’t mean you can’t use flash at all.

If you know how to design sites for SEO as all our web designers at Tamar do, then you can use flash as a visual aid and it won’t have a negative effect on SEO.  Additionally, you can also use Javascript methods to create flash effects (such as horizontal scrolling boxes) and add more content on the page.

Next year…

Hopefully next year I will be writing about the the death of IE6 in 2010 and how the web is a much nicer place to work. At last count we were at 11.1% and moving down an average of 0.5% each month. THIS is what I REALLY want for Christmas!

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