At its core, modern UI has good intentions. Its goal is to experiment with the means available to bring more value to the user. This value can take various forms, such as consistency across devices, seamless navigation through a website, easy-to-read font sizes, or clever use of whitespace.
To achieve this, UI designers make sure there is no friction between the user and the product or website. Everything they do is focused on ensuring the user completes their task without spending excess time trying to decipher the logic of a button. Then UI goes a step further to provide a pleasing and appealing experience.
Today we’ll take stock of current and coming modern UI trends and elaborate on the ones that will make a huge impact on better user experience. Here’s what we’re likely to see this year and beyond:
Illustrations and animations are making a comeback. Once the hallmark of niche websites like The Many Faces of John Cusak, animations and illustrations are increasingly used by staple brands across a variety of industries, including Atlassian, Spotify, Airbnb, and Dropbox.
Their appeal lies in the fact that both digital and hand-drawn illustrations, as well as 2D and 3D animations, can be used to explain complex notions, entertain users, and create a more memorable experience.
The dynamism created by asymmetry, misaligned shapes, and free forms accompanies — and in many cases enhances — the copy. This helps the website stand out amongst more traditional and generic designs, and gives the brand a unique voice.
The shapes and drawings often come to life through complex motions and thus help break down the brand’s offer, which users can then grasp at a glance. And with the advent of 5G and increasingly robust browsers, loading time is becoming less of an issue. This will allow brands to use animations to express key information while shepherding users through their website.
We can expect to see AI integrated into every bit of modern app UI design. By enabling the capturing and storing of large amounts of data, AI can help UI designers tailor their message to each unique user.
Take a look at Netflix or Spotify. Their highly personalized services and the design that accompanies them have made loyal users of millions of people across the globe. In 2020, we will see more such designs on a larger scale, beyond the entertainment industry. And here’s why this is important.
With AI, you can design an experience that’s not just seamless, but highly personalized in a way that fully resonates with the user and consequently increases conversion. AI helps you better understand your users and how they prefer to consume your product.
You can then build on this knowledge by offering VR- or AR-enhanced design or going with bold typography and responsive colors. Experiment with different approaches, but more importantly, listen to the beat of your users’ behavior.
Another big trend with far-reaching effects on modern UI is the rise of frameless phones. As smartphones continue to lose their bezels (frames) to save on the screen space, designers will need to find ways to get around rounded edges (pun intended).
iPhones have already dropped the home button, and Android’s on-screen buttons are giving way to phones with a frameless screen in an attempt to bring more rich content and full display to users.
While this should bring more content and an extraordinary visual experience to users, brands will need to support the use of gestures instead of buttons. This means that designers must come up with visual hints that will teach users how to interact with their devices.
No matter your industry, storytelling remains one of your main conversion drivers. And modern UI can help tremendously in this regard — typography in particular.
In recent years we’ve witnessed the rise of large, bold fonts that, on the one hand, are pleasing to the eye (crucial for content consumed via mobile devices) and on the other, nicely present the hierarchy of information.
Great typography can guide users through your product/website/app while simultaneously reducing cognitive overload. The right style will help you grab the user’s attention and the copy will help pull them in, so it’s also crucial that you pay attention to your UX writing.
AR will force us to move from the screen to new frontiers. As AR advances, UI will not stay fixed on the screen, and whoever wants to offer the user an immersive experience will need to use AR capabilities.
While it used to be the domain of the gaming industry, AR has moved into retail. The DIY furniture giant IKEA offers its users an AR furniture app, IKEA Place, through which it’s possible to check in real time how a piece of furniture would fit in your home. In 2020, it’s apps like these that will swarm the marketplace.
The appeal of using AR in design comes from the fact that brands can offer content that focuses more on the experience itself, not just the user. By shifting the focus, brands can give significantly more value to the user.
Before we wrap up — just a quick note on the most important web UI tip for 2020.
All your efforts should focus on consistency and helpfulness. You should create a sense of familiarity that encourages users to feel a connection with your brand. This is achieved by placing elements where they are expected by and most intuitive for the user, by customizing the content and design to each user, and finally, by providing value.
To achieve these goals, you must reassess your design on an ongoing basis, pruning and tweaking it every few months to give context and content to the user.
If you need help delivering your product to users, let’s get in touch.
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