Ep 28: Emerging UX/UI Design Trends You Can’t Ignore

Sarah

So this week we’ll be talking about emerging UX/UI design trends that you simply can’t ignore. So as technology continues to advance at an incredible rate, I think we’ve definitely witnessed this over the years with the creation of the iPhone and what we are now like the iPhone 15 or something. The rapid evolution and creation of technology are insane, so remaining up to date with the most current design trends and innovations is essential for developing digital experiences that truly resonate with and captivate users.

So in this episode, we’ll be exploring the emerging trends in UX/UI and discussing the key insights you need to craft engaging and impactful digital products. And might I add staying on the cutting edge of technology and design is not an easy feat as new tools and techniques and even platforms are introduced every day. However, as a UX/UI designer or a graphic designer, it is your responsibility to understand these new developments and determine how they can be leveraged to craft the most intuitive, seamless, and memorable experience possible.

The trends that will be analyzed in this episode include the rise of voice interfaces, the increasing utilization of augmented reality and virtual reality, and continued prominence of mobile-first design, the importance of personalization, the growth of conversational interfaces, and the emphasis on simplicity and minimalism in design. So gaining an understanding of any of these trends and learning how to implement them will ensure that you are designing a digital experience that meets users’ needs and even their expectations.

So User Experience design is ultimately about solving problems and addressing pain points, and the trends we discuss are influencing how those solutions take shape with technology and user preferences shifting so incredibly rapidly. UX and UI designers, as well as web and graphic designers, must work to stay ahead of the curve and push the envelope of what is possible to build the digital products of the future today. So let’s get started.

The first trend we’ll be talking about is Dark Mode. I’m sure we all at this point know what dark mode is, I mean pretty much all of my devices that are Apple are on dark mode. I am a dark mode stan, but I know quite a few people who also like their light mode, so up to you. But in recent years, one of the most prevalent and well-liked design trends has been the use of dark mode interfaces. If you don’t already know, dark mode refers to the implementation of user interfaces with a dark background and light text, rather than the traditional light background and dark text. So this trend is not only sleek and modern in its appearance, but it also offers significant benefits for user experience and even accessibility.

The dark mode is a win-win for users and designers alike. Users find dark mode easier on their rise, especially in low light conditions, and designers can create a stylish and contemporary aesthetic. Many major tech companies and platforms have rolled out system-wide dark modes, including Apple’s iOS 13, Google’s Android 10, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, among others.

The widespread adoption of the dark mode is a testament to its popularity and effectiveness. So in summary, the dark mode has become a prominent design trend due to its ability to please both users and designers. With its combination of style and function, dark mode is likely to remain an important tool in the designer’s toolkit for years to come. Just to mention accessibility one more time, having this dark background and light text helps people see the words that they’re reading a lot easier. We will be diving more into accessibility a little bit later, but just keep in mind that a lot of these might overlap in a sense.

The second design trend we’ll be talking about today is Minimalism. I think we also know what minimalism is at this point, it is another trend that has gained popularity in recent years, simple and clean designs are more visually appealing and easier to navigate. Minimalist designs often feature bold typography and ample white space which helps draw the user’s attention to important elements on the page. The use of animation and interactive elements can add interest to a minimalist design. As designer Paul Rand once said, “Design is so simple, that’s why it is so complicated.”

Minimalism in UX and UI design aims to achieve simplicity and ease of use through clean layouts, ample negative space, and a focus on functionality over excess ornamentation. By stripping the interfaces down just to the essential elements, minimalism creates a simple, yet very compelling user experience, instead of being distracted by maybe these animations over here, as well as these buttons over here, and different texts on this side, and different colors over here, a minimalist design will most likely have a minimal amount of color will have bold text the user interface will just be very stripped down to what needs to be there.

An example of minimalism and UI design would have to be the Google homepage, that’s the epitome of the minimalist menu I design with its simple search bar, the two buttons, and Google’s logo. The homepage is a prime example of how a minimalist design that is visually appealing in its simplicity and is highly functional. The ample white space and minimal elements draw the user’s focus to the search bar, which is a primary function of the page, we don’t go to google search to write a document, right? We do that in Google Docs, but Google search is for searching and that’s what it gives you the options for searching and that’s it. This type of minimalism has become increasingly popular and influential in user experience design.

How can you apply this?

Next time when you’re designing for a website or user interface, think about how can I make this as simple as possible to help the user and guide them through the user journey in the easiest way possible.

Our third trend we’ll be talking about today are Micro Interactions. Micro Interactions are something that is not as well known, so these are small, friendly animations or visual cues that provide positive feedback to the user.

What is positive feedback?

When you do something, for example, you’re opening a door or you are locking a door when you close a door, you don’t know if a door’s locked. How do you know if a door’s locked? Well, you turn the lock and a lot of times you hear a click. Once you hear that click, your brain tells you, okay, the door is locked now I can move on with my day. In User Interface design, positive feedback might look like a hover state or a button changing color, or a click of a mouse. So as designer, Dan Saffer puts it “micro-interactions make a product feel simple, intuitive, and easy to use.”

They can make the user experience more delightful and seamless, and they also provide helpful feedback to the user. For example Instagram, so when a user likes or is hard to photo the heart icon fills with color and a cheerful animation plays to let the user know they are like was received. These types of enjoyable interactions, delight the users and make the Instagram experience feel fun, seamless, and easy to navigate. Have you noticed that when you like a photo, if it doesn’t show up, you continue tapping that until you see that part pop up, this is a prime example of micro-interactions.

So micro-interactions have become an increasingly significant trend and user interface design due to their ability to facilitate an effortless and pleasant user experience technology and user expectations continue to advance, micro interactions will remain an essential tool for designers aiming to craft memorable and seamless digital products that bring users joy and at the end of the day, isn’t that what we wanna do, we want to create joy.

The fourth trend that we’ll be discussing today is Voice User Interface or VUI. So with the increasing popularity of voice assistance like Siri and Alexa, designers are beginning to integrate Voice User Interfaces into their products. Voice User Interfaces or VUI, allow users to interact with digital interfaces using naturally spoken language. This can often feel more intuitive and efficient for users compared to a traditional Graphical User Interface. As VUI technology continues to improve, we can expect more and more products to incorporate this feature. By including VUI designers can create experiences that feel simple and seamless, while also providing a high-tech futuristic experience that delights users. For example, many people now use voice assistance to control smart home devices, get information like weather and traffic updates, stream music and podcasts, and much more all using just their voice.

I think at this point we’ve all seen the Amazon Alexa commercials or even the Siri commercials, where they’re able to pull up all this information and not even have to look at their phone, which is insane. A voice in the user interface has also really helped those who have various abilities, whether someone is blind, or cannot see the screen very well. Having Siri, Alexa, or any sort of voice user tool allows them to be able to interact with the product and be able to have a presence in the online space without needing to exactly see what’s going on or see the visual screen, the hands-free natural language interactions that VUI provide, create a magical experience for users and point to the exciting future of technology and design.

So pretty much in summary, VUI has become an important trend in user interface design because of its ability to facilitate an effortless and technologically advanced user experience. Technology and user expectations continue to progress, and VUI will remain an essential tool for designers aiming to craft memorable digital products that bring users joy, just like we talked about for micro-interactions. Imagine traditionally not being able to interact with the online space and then Voice User Interface is now available. People who were not able to interact with this space previously are now able to do this seamlessly.

The fifth design trend we’ll be talking about today is Personalization. Personalization is becoming increasingly crucial in UX and UI design, users desire products tailored to their needs and preferences, designers can utilize data analysis and machine learning algorithms to construct personalized experiences for users. For instance, an e-commerce site might recommend products based on a user’s browsing history or purchase behavior. I think we’ve all seen this when we shop online, especially on Amazon, the number of times I’ve searched for something and forgot about it, then went back on the Amazon app and saw continued browsing what I was searching for before is right there, and Amazon will even recommend me various products based on my pets purchase and search history. That’s amazing, it’s able to intuitively know what sort of thing I am looking for and be able to provide it for me right there.

Expanding personalization in digital design is a win-win for both users and designers. Users receive a customized experience suited to their interests and needs, while designers can craft more engaging and memorable interactions by tailoring content to each user. Many major tech companies have implemented personalization, like Amazon that we just talked about, and Netflix has a recommendation algorithm that works very similarly to Amazon’s tailored product suggestions, which are all based on browsing and order history. So in summary, personalization has emerged as an important trend in user experience design due to its ability to please both users and designers by gaining an understanding of users’ preferences and crafting experiences to match their needs, designers can create a more impactful digital product.

The sixth trend we’ll be talking about today is Augmented Reality. Augmented reality is taking the design world by storm, air technology is becoming increasingly integrated into UX/UI design, especially in the retail and gaming industries. AR allows users to interact with digital products in the real world, creating an even more immersive experience. For example, a furniture retailer might leverage AR to enable users to visualize how a piece of furniture would appear in their home before purchasing it.

Crafting an intuitive and seamless user experience through this cutting-edge technology allows users and customers to be able to visualize and see what this product might look like in their home, or maybe a makeup product, how it looks like on their face, or clothing how it might look on their body before they purchase it. Cause one of my pet peeves is buying something being so excited for something and I bring it home and it’s just not what I thought, it’s not what I imagined, and now I have to go and return this item, it just felt like a waste of time. So being able to eradicate that in advance is amazing and just being able to know what you’re buying is a good choice and the best choice for yourself, your home, whatever it may be.

AI and UX/UI design are win-win for both users and designers alike. Just like we talked about earlier, users perceive an engaging futuristic experience that brings them joy, and designers can construct more memorable interactions by incorporating AR. Many major tech companies have implemented AR such as IKEA Place, which allows users to see how furniture might look in their space through AR, and the Pokemon Go mobile game, which enables users to discover and catch Pokemon in the real world. Do you guys remember when was it around 2018 or 2017, or maybe even 2016 when Pokemon Go took the world by storm, everyone was playing Pokemon Go because of how amazing is it to be able to engage in the real world. I know a lot of us grew up with Pokemon, so being able to interact with Pokemon in the wild in the real world is a dream come true and a fantasy we’ve all wanted to play out.

Being able to implement this is extraordinary and being able to be a part of it is also extraordinary and brings many people joy even to this day. So in summary, AR has emerged as an important trend in user experience due to its ability to please both users and designers, and by gaining an understanding of AR, and how to implement it, designers can create a more impactful digital product.

The seventh design trend that will be discussed today is Accessibility. I know you’ve heard me talk about accessibility earlier in this podcast episode, and pretty much accessibility is extremely important. While I was back in school, I didn’t know anything about accessibility, I did to an extent, but I didn’t know what it meant in relation to the design world and design products. Believe it or not, accessibility affects us all, whether we have a disability, whether we have a range of abilities, it doesn’t matter, accessibility affects everybody. I remember when I took a disability awareness course in college and by far that was one of the most important courses I’ve taken just in general, and it was very informative.

I learned how even to this day in 2023, People with disabilities are not able to experience the world in the same way the world is designed for able people. Designers are increasingly recognizing the importance of designing inclusive and accessible products that meet the needs of all users, including those with disabilities, this includes crafting experiences for users with visual, auditory, and physical impairments. Designers can incorporate features like screen readers, close captioning, keyboard shortcuts, and more to make those products accessible to all. For example, an e-commerce site might include alt texts for images to allow screen readers to describe photos to visually impaired users and close captions for any video content.

By gaining an understanding of accessibility, best practices, and assistive technologies, designers can create digital products that are intuitive and seamless for every user to navigate and enjoy. As technology and user expectations continue to advance, accessibility will remain an essential consideration for designers aiming to build inclusive experiences. We’ve come a long way as we are in 2023, but we still have significant progress that we need to make. So in summary, accessibility has emerged as an increasingly important trend in user experience design due to its ability to serve and empower everyone. Designers that craft accessible, inclusive interfaces will be able to reach a wider audience and gain a competitive advantage over those who do not. Overall accessibility and design are a win-win that benefits both users and designers alike and people of all abilities.

The eighth and final trend we’ll be discussing today is Data Visualization. As data becomes increasingly vital in our daily lives, designers are discovering innovative new ways to visualize complex data sets, this includes developing interactive charts and graphs, utilizing color coding, icons to convey information, and incorporating animations to make the data more engaging. Effective data visualization can help users better comprehend and interpret data.

Expanding data visualization in digital design is a win-win for both users and designers. Users receive information in a visually compelling and easy-to-understand format while designers can construct more memorable Interactions by presenting data in new and interesting ways. Many major tech companies have implemented data visualization such as Apple’s Dynamic Charts in the iOS 13 health and activity apps, and Google’s interactive data displays. If you have Apple, you know that Apple’s health app is iconic. If you have an Apple watch, you know that those rings, you wanna get those filled every day, you know that it’s empowering. So being able to implement an aesthetic, visually appealing, and impactful design that you can visualize this data is important.

So in summary, by gaining an understanding of data visualization principles and techniques, designers can create more impactful digital products as technology and user expectations continue to progress, data visualization will remain an essential tool for designers aiming to craft intuitive and seamless user experiences. By keeping data visualization trends in mind and experimenting with new styles and techniques, designers can create simple and compelling data displays that Captivate users.

As UX and UI design trends are constantly evolving, designers need to stay up to date with the latest. By keeping these trends in mind and experimenting with new techniques and styles, designers can create simple yet effective designs that stand out in an increasingly crowded digital landscape.

So I hope that you all enjoy today’s episode. All of the design trends. I’m sure you know, we’ve kind of noticed these trends in the websites and digital experiences that we consume on a day-to-day basis. I hope you take all of these into consideration next time you are designing for any sort of digital experience and incorporate one, two, or even three of them into your next design project.

Can’t wait to see and hear about your next Design Prod. Let us know what you guys are working on, and if you need any help optimizing the UX/UI for your website well we love dabbling and incorporating many of these into our designs for our clients. So let us know if you need any help and would like to incorporate these things, like to incorporate these ideas.