Much of the consumer-product interaction today happens digitally. This means that, while you have a good online presence, you can’t overlook the importance of the experience your product provides to its users. As more and more customers become digital, there is a bigger demand on great UX design.
We have seen innovative UX designs in 2016, such as Pokemon Go’s augmented reality and Snapchat’s virtual accessories. What does 2017 have in store? Here’s a roundup of some UX design trends in 2017.
- Time-saving, almost intuitive
Customers are becoming more impatient in getting things done online, so there will be more demand on intuitive UX design. Users want to find what they are looking for right away and don’t want to waste time scrolling down or up. More attention will be given to minimalist layouts, simple menu, an easy to understand site map, and straightforward content.
A noticeable trend is the use of the card designs. The card layout is increasingly popular because they look good on different screen sizes and provide an easy way of organising content. They are also very intuitive, and they allow users to easily navigate the site or app and instantly view the items they want.
- Emphasis on content
With the increasing demand for quality and highly-informative content comes an equally great demand on neatly assembled content. UX designers are now making sure that the content pops out and that the audiences have a clear, uncluttered view of it. Incorporating more white spaces is one way of making the content stand out more and minimising some disruptive elements on the page.
Another way is to use separators. Big chunks of text can be overwhelming, so designers are now organising content by using lines in dividing sections, columns and articles, as well as text boxes in separating unrelated content from the rest.
Apart from adding visual appeal to any website or app, animations could also give the illusion of speed. This is especially important since research suggests that 57% of mobile users are likely to abandon a site if it takes long to load. Moreover, animations help increase user-friendliness and intuitiveness of a site. Animations could help highlight changes in the site, direct users around the site or app, give information, provide visual feedback or just entertain users while on the site or app.
Microinteractions are simplified versions of a command or feature. Examples are the animated heart that appears when you like a post in Instagram, the green check mark that appears when you have completed a task, or the pull-to-refresh feature in different popular apps.
Microinteractions are habit-forming and increase the intuitiveness of a site or app. They will be used increasingly in UX designs this year as they provide a simpler way to interact, as well as a quick-response mechanism to different website and app functions.
- Omnichannel UX
People now own more than one mobile device, which is why there is a great demand in a UX design that allows a seamless transition from one device to another. According to a recent study, 25% of users are likely to switch from their smartphones to their tablets, and then 60% will switch from their smartphones to their laptops mid-task. Customers want to have more options in their hands, so this type of design will allow them to have total control over whenever, wherever and however they want to use your product.
- Hidden navigation
Remember those tiny three-lined menu buttons you see at the corner of your screen? They’re fairly recent but you may encounter them less and less this year. Hidden menus will be a popular UX design component. This type of menu will only appear if a user taps on certain area on the screen. According to UX designers, hidden menus give users a sense of control over the site or app, as they will open the menu only if they want to.
- Conversational Interface
Conversational interface, or AI-powered voice-activated communication platforms like chatbots, will be particularly popular this year. We’ve seen these types of platforms in earlier years, and popular ones like Siri, Cortana and Google Now have already blurred the lines between human and artificial intelligence.
- Design storytelling
With the proliferation of different types of content in the web, there is a great need to stand out from the rest. Design storytelling is one way of differentiating your content as it helps engage audiences in a deeper level. Storytelling design involves different aspects, such as a story structure (introduction, culmination and end), responsive visuals, and gamification. This type of UX design, however, may not be applicable to websites that are made to provide instant access to information.
Responsive design is all about adaptability of your content to any user device. But this year, not only will site layouts be made to adapt to the sizes of different mobile devices, but site content and structure will also be made to adapt to different ages. Very soon, online experience for children will be different from those of adults. Among these include changes in the size of navigation menus, where younger users will be presented with simplified versions; changes in font sizes and spacing to accommodate the elderly’s eyesight; and changes in colour schemes, where younger audiences will be seeing more saturated tones and the elderly muted colours.
- Weather Apps
UX designers will be giving more attention to weather tracking. While these types of apps have already been widely used since 2015, demand will continue to grow this year, with weather patterns getting more inconsistent and unpredictable by the year. People are increasingly worried about various climactic events—from storms to extreme humidity—and there is always the looming threat of extreme weather disturbance, so there is more demand for accessible and up-to-date weather information now more than ever.
- Virtual Reality
The concept of virtual reality is not entirely new, but it is only now that we are making bigger strides in turning VR into reality and starting to integrate the concept into sites and apps. For instance, car maker Ford is now exploring VR and augmented-reality technologies that will allow customers to interact with the product at their convenience. Mark Zuckerberg also said once that screens would soon be replaced by special smart glasses or lenses. Tech giants Apple, Google and Microsoft are all exploring this possibility.
Technological advancements may bring about new digital trends, ideas and designs, the goal remains the same: great UX design should make the user’s life better. Looking at the developments in the area of UX design is enough proof that companies are already shifting their focus from selling products to selling experiences.
Ultimately, the challenge lies in understanding the expectations and aspirations of the modern 2017 customer. But UX designers will find a way, as they always do. The key is to take all the important lessons of 2016 at heart and keep stay up to date with the latest trends. This year is sure to be an exciting one!