As people who make things for the web, it's tempting to show off our skills and creativity. To do something that will impress our peers, wow clients, maybe get on a few award sites. That’s fine for experimental projects, but not if regular people need to find and do what they want quickly for it to be successful. This isn’t the fashion industry, and looking cool should never come before usability.

Asymmetric grid layouts with parallax headlines overlapping images. Vertical text on the side of the page. Thin fonts and soft colours. Elaborate reveal animations for every. Single. Element. Just a few strong looks from the F/W 2016 season. Yes, it will look impressively on-trend, but if it takes more than 15 seconds to load on a decent mobile connection and you can barely read the text that finally appears, something is wrong.

It’s good to be aware of what’s contemporary so a site doesn’t feel dated. It’s fun to look at what others have made and be inspired. It’s good to experiment and push the envelope—as long as the site is still accessible, fast, mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, and doesn’t get in the way of what it was meant to do in the first place.

Never forget who you're making it for. If it wins awards and praise from your 'enlightened' peers but doesn't work for the people who ultimately matter, you've lost.

This post is as much a reminder for myself as it is for anyone else. The catalyst for writing it was a site for some headphones that weighed 8mb, made 468 requests, and took 26 seconds to load on good 3G. That's just not okay.