Must-Know UX Design Trends
UX design (user experience design) is an exciting field that relates to the functional aspect of creating new digital products, websites and mobile apps. It is very closely tied to UI design (user interface design) which covers the aesthetic elements of a digital product. However, because of this overlap, people will often refer to the latest UI/UX design trends interchangeably, even when they are talking about only one of them.
With the rise of digital workspaces, remote working culture, virtual environments and AI technology, UI/UX trends have drastically changed over the last few years. These new technologies and features have changed what users expect from a digital product. Modern UX design has no choice but to evolve to meet consumer demands while boosting user satisfaction and engagement.
Since its first launch, Spotify has been doing an amazing job with personalised music recommendations. Similarly, Netflix does a great job of suggesting what to watch based on your watching history, and TikTok somehow deduces things you didn’t even know about yourself and suggests videos based on that. Users have come a long way to expect personalised experiences based on strategic algorithms and user-friendly designs. In addition to these UI/UX trends, companies these days can now collect massive amounts of data on their customers, including demographics, psychographics and buying habits.
Powerful AI enables businesses to make sense of data while empowering the automated delivery of customised content across touchpoints and channels. For UX designers who want to develop popular products, paying careful attention to hyper-personalisation and how it can help them curate meaningful experiences for their users is of high importance and value.
AI-powered experiences and tools
It is only recently that AI technology has really been a topic of conversation for the average person, but the truth is that it has been around in some shape or form for years. From the very first awkward chatbots to the sophisticated automated insights that digital marketers rely on for their marketing campaigns to asking Siri random questions — we’ve been interacting with AI-powered technology for a long time.
But as with any other technology, AI has advanced. UX designers are learning to incorporate AI that helps deliver personalised and interactive interfaces and experiences to individual users based on the content they may be interested in. This motivates them to stay on a site or app longer, and spend more time interacting with content.
More practical applications of AI integrated UI/UX design include Google’s experiments of using AI for user testing. These experiments intend to measure the ‘perceived tappability’ of an app. This can be further used to generate heat maps, which show UX designers how user-friendly their designs are.
Integrating extended reality (ER)
Extended reality is the umbrella term for different concepts, mainly virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). Brands such as McDonald’s, EyeBuyDirect, Walmart, Adidas and Instagram have already integrated various ER technologies and made them something that users actively look for when browsing similar sites or apps.
These include helping users virtually try on fashion products right from their living room or using ER to generate realistic simulations for employee training. Of course, there are still barriers to 3D spaces becoming the universal norm — such as the minimum bandwidth needed to power a VR environment. But as the technology advances, UX designers must also consider that users may interact with their products via 3D headsets or haptic suits.
Micro-interactions are not a new trend by any means. The ‘Like’ button on Facebook turning blue when you click it is an example of a very simple micro-interaction that has become so normal that we expect the same sort of experience no matter what site we’re using. These minute changes in response to a user completing an action on your site are subtle but have a high impact on the user’s experience.
People enjoy these little interactive elements that give them feedback on specific actions as they navigate their way around a website. For example, it might be a button changing colour when a user hovers over it, indicating that, yes — this is clickable. It could be a tiny animation that plays when a user performs a specific action, prompting them to the next step. In short, micro-interactions make the entire user experience more interesting, engaging and enjoyable.
Using no-code tools
Whether they know it or not, most people have probably encountered and used a no-code tool in the last few years. These no-code tools give people without any coding experience or knowledge the ability to do things they’d have had to pay a developer for before. WordPress’s drag and drop editor is just one example of this.
In terms of modern UX design, this means that the barrier to entry is a lot lower for brand-new UX designers. Those who have been in the industry for years, on the other hand, can use these no-code tools to significantly expedite their work and the entire design process. With the right set of no-code tools, smaller UX design firms and even solo freelancers can offer the same level of service as a major company with dozens of employees specialised in different areas of UX design.
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Good UX design improves a digital product by creating smooth, seamless experiences and easy to navigate — no matter the channel or platform a user is interacting on. But product teams need to do more than just stay up to date with the latest UI/UX design trends because it can be easy to get sidetracked with something that seems exciting but isn’t valuable for your users. UX designers have the potential to drive change in our society, but to do this in a way that is both efficient and ethical requires empathy and understanding. And that’s where experience comes into play.
If you’d like to learn more about the practical side of UX design and how to thrive in a field that is evolving at a breakneck pace, then contact us today. With highly experienced mentors guiding you through our real project learning approach — at Harness Projects we’re giving UX designers the tools to transform their careers in the design field.