Do you challenge layout conventions?

Richard Shepherd
9 replies
Is there any point challenging app / website / dashboard design and layout conventions? I am trying to break the standard, because I don't feel it serves my app's purpose that well but it will probably feel at odds with popular design conventions and could disorientate the user. So I'd like to ask if you challenge layout conventions and whether there are any great examples of this done well?


Mohammed Imthathullah
You can offer the choice at the click of the button. It has been the standard practice for many apps when introducing a brand new design. I would prefer that button to be visible all the time, not be hidden under some settings. So users can try both and decide what they like. Then you can analyze which interface do most users prefer and drop support for the other one if you can't maintain both. If you prefer one over the other, add some features to that and try enticing users to switch. You can find out whether your idea works with other people.
Richard Shepherd
@imthath_m this is a great way to do it if you have the resources. Harder if it's your first release too! But the idea to split test should give a clear answer.
Jasper Ruijs
In 2018 Webflow made a blogpost about brutalist webdesign, which challenged every convention. The trend didn't stick. In the end, the design should always serve its user. In my experience, it is best to let the user decide the design and not the maker. Something that obvious to the developer isn't necessarily obvious to your audience. Stick to trends if you want to look innovative. Most companies and individuals rather have the 'familiar' than the new.
Rowe Morehouse
@jas801 Agree. I look at a lot of new sites, and they all look kind of "purple" as hero color, and they all use gradients, and all kind of look like This is the new trend. But we have to remember we are webheads / makers … not everybody in the world is looking at new products and sites all the time the way we do. The "look like Stripe" or "default Tailwind" look may not even be noticed by the rest of the internet until months to come. It's funny to say "stick to trends if you want to look innovative" but I think you are correct. :) Also, I still like brutalist design.
Richard Shepherd
@jas801 @rowemore both good points. I'm actually of the view that our marketing design should 'look like a startup' or fit into some convention in order to get the message across without distraction. I am designing an email client which is something everyone uses so there are lots of conventional 'ways of doing email' and challenging that in a user interface is more interesting. So not from an aesthetic point of view but from a user experience point of view I am curious if the new approach will help or hinder. Just have to try it I think,
Prathamesh Krisang
Very rarely... Unless as you say, the change in layout convention inherently increases the value of your app. For example how tinder used the swiping layout and that was what made it a valuable product.
Rowe Morehouse
Good question. Yes. I think the "3 up" design pattern really sucks. It was popularized by Bootstrap. I mean the 3 cards in a horizontal row, like this: I think people don't read the third item. The eye skips it. Worse if the card text is center justified.
Hannah S Kim
I wouldn't challenge layout conventions, unless there is a clear purpose to it and it adds more value to your app. You can always test out your layout with your users or run a survey- the data can help you decide :)