We here at UNIVERSE can’t help but study everything that we see on the web, it’s our job and our passion. The following fails and warning signs that your website is outdated are not our personal preferences but common knowledge for any contemporary web designer. They are also easily preventable with hiring a professional web developer who is aware of (and is committed to) providing solutions that are sustainable and follow current best practices.

“Great web design without functionality is like a sports car with no engine.”


DALL-E 2 x UNIVERSE: "1990s website design on laptop, 3D render"

1. Your logo is blurry

Websites built from 2022 on have .svg (vector) logo files so that there is zero chance of it rasterizing and looking blurry at any size. 27% of users in December of 2022 are using an Apple Retina display.

A blurry logo is a sign of a lazy web designer who just uploaded whatever file they had on hand without considering, or worse, knowing what size would be ideal. OR an inexperienced developer using an outdated theme that is compressing logo quality or constraining it to a too-small size. Either way, your brand is now being represented in a sub-par way and that’s unacceptable.

2. It has a home page slide

Around 2010 we all decided that the home page featured content slide was the coolest thing you could have on your website. The idea being that you can feature multiple main messages “above the fold” and add in some javascript animation to satisfy our transition out of highly animated Flash websites.

Why are modern websites no longer doing this? Because: a) users are not scrolling through your content to see your 2nd and 3rd slides (this is why w have Google Analytics), b) the javascript functionality these slides require is bonkers, often fails and creates issues, and slows down your site — impacting your position on Google search. Fun fact: More than half of visits are abandoned if a mobile page takes over 3 seconds to load.

3. It has a Twitter feed

Just…don’t. Have as many of your desired social links in your header, footer, or wherever you like them but don’t slow your site down to host another site’s content in a less than ideal way. If people are interested to see what you are saying and how you represent yourself on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc they will easily find and click on your social links.

4. It is not responsive

Does the site not scale at all?! How about it scales but then everything looks crazy? Broken? We’ve seen it all. And it’s 100% because of one of the following two fails.

DALL-E 2 x UNIVERSE: "1990s website design on laptop, 3D render"

5. It’s not accessible

Not cool. As an ethical choice (and a requirement for Universities and Governments under AODA compliance laws), we here at UNIVERSE have studied current best practices in accessibility and apply this expertise to our websites with each design choice. Some basic considerations include: colour and text contrast, font style and scaling, clear content hierarchy, heading syntax rules, and responsive scaling.

6. It is built in HTML

We started out hand-building websites in HTML (in the year 2000) so are very familiar with how this set-up works and the limitations it has. Copying and pasting lines of HTML and trying to hand-wrangle styles via CSS is just absurd and a waste of time and energy in the year 2023.

Worse is that a web designer who designed a website for you in HTML is now the only person who will know how to edit the nightmare they created so you are handcuffed to them for the future and any minor change you want to make you have to request from them. Yikes.

7. It has a handmade Wordpress theme

Does everything seem.. just off? Icons scaled strangely? Proportions are too large? Too small? Responsive scaling is a nightmare?

This is all likely because your developer has decided to craft his own Wordpress theme. It makes no sense to try and construct your own Wordpress theme when professional theme developers (teams of them) take years to develop one perfect theme, ensuring every detail in every scale is perfect.

Hire a developer who has an attention to detail and knows that working with a paid-for Wordpress theme is the professional way to create a beautiful, perfect website. Customize it to your heart’s content but start with a legit base.

8. You can’t edit it yourself

Even if you personally are not interested in updating, say, minor copy edits on your website, this should be an option for you! Maybe you will hire a staff member in time who will assist you with adding in content to your site, or maybe you will have UNIVERSE do it but we only create websites that are easily editable with a drag-and-drop back-end that allows for ease of use for anyone with a minimum about of Wordpress knowledge.

9. Even your web designer can’t update it

Uh oh. This one is scary for a few reasons. When you have a Wordpress site, you need to be updating your Wordpress core, plug-ins, and theme regularly. We service all of our websites that we create once a month and will not create a website without agreement with our clients about a maintenance plan (which includes regular back-ups, security checks, and all updates performed).

There is a chance you can still revive your website but there is a better chance that it has a virus or has been breached and is now compromised. We only create websites that will evolve over time and that you won’t have to re-build from scratch in 5 years.

10. Way off-trend design and styling details

Animated gifs anyone? Before web 2.0 we had just so many terrible trends, including: drop shadows (the more the better), 3D styling on buttons, sidebar navigation, tiny font scaling, and of course the most dreaded use of comic sans fonts. If you have any of these stylings, it’s time to start from scratch!