The last two decades have been some of the most exciting times for the world of Information Technology. Rewind to the start of the millennia, and there were about 200,000 internet users across the world. That number is expected to touch 5 billion in the next couple of years!
2.5 Quintillion bytes of data are being created every single day, and there are more than a billion websites and counting. If you are a web developer, there has never been a better time to be one. As Internet penetration further increases and billions of more people go online.
This industry is extremely competitive, and if you wish to succeed as a UI/UX Web Design Company like ugem.design, you will constantly need to keep yourself updated with the latest design trends and ideas.
Web development has been undergoing constant evolution where design trends have changed in the blink of an eye. Ideas that worked a couple of years don’t make the cut anymore. This is where it is important for every developer to keep an eye on the latest design trends.
Having entered a new decade we, see the UX and UI undergoing massive changes in the near future. Here we look at some of the trends to watch out for in the future.
Performance over Design
Remember the good old Flash-based websites. That was a perfect example of the highest expression of creativity when it came to web development. There was a cult following for that design philosophy when it first came around and everybody wants to get their websites to be built using Flash, often trading it for HTML and CSS. But Flash-based websites went out of fashion as fast as they made headlines. The reason was PERFORMANCE. These websites weren’t the quickest to load and the easiest to navigate. Given the fact that the Internet remains primarily an Information Medium and not an Art Gallery, performance is seen as the key parameter for success. You need to reach out to people on slow networks, when they are driving through remote corners of the world and need websites that have simple designs, load quickly, and are easy to navigate. The point we want to reiterate here is never to choose Design over Performance.
Up until a few years back, the talk in the web development industry was ‘responsive’ designs where you create an interface that would offer seamless experience both on the desktop/laptop and smartphones (tablets include). In truth, designers created websites that looked awesome on desktops and offered a kind of equitable experience on smartphones. The thought back then was if there were compromises to be made, let the mobile users get the raw deal. But that has completely changed with mobile users contributing three-fourth of the traffic on the Internet.This number is expected to grow even further as the sales of smartphones surge the world over. As a UI/UX Web Design Company, you need to adopt the Mobile-First approach going forward to improve user engagement.
Sharp Edged Elements Won’t Work Anymore
Blame it on Samsung and their Edge series of smartphones if you like, but the fact is you don’t have the liberty to play with sharp-edged elements in your design anymore, especially on the mobile platform. The flagship phones are all bezel-less, where the borders have given way to rounded edges. Even mid-range smartphones are slowly losing their body and embracing what we know as full-screen design. Thus trying to play with UI elements on the edges is proving to be counter-productive. Add to this iPhone doing away with a home button and Android, also bringing an end to on-screen buttons and your challenge increases. With navigation becoming more gesture-based, you need to add visual hints for navigation and avoid sharp-edged elements in the design.
AR, VR & MR
If there are three keywords that would define the future of the web development process perhaps for the rest of the decade, they would be – Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality, and Virtual Reality. The design landscape is going to completely change, given how people would be consuming information on the Internet. With Augmented Reality, your design approach needs to move beyond the screen as you will need to focus on creating an interactive platform for the real-world. Virtual Reality, on the other hand, focuses on offering a fully immersive feel in the virtual world where your design would rely on 3D and creating real-life experiences on the screen. Mixed Reality, as the name suggests, offers users the mix of both where they will interact with the screen as well as the real world at the same time.
Bold & Oversized Typography
You might say that this has been around for a while, and we have seen numerous websites try this design strategy and achieve great success in holding on to their users. The reason we are mentioning it here again is for the very same reason. The use of bold and oversized typography has so far been under-deployed, given the kind of potential this has in prioritizing content on any page. They are great in grabbing the attention of the users, and you can employ these over a minimalistic design to invite user attention to the place you want them to read. In a mobile-first environment, this is a great approach to hold user attention to the most important sections of your website rather than letting them scroll through it.
One of the trends that have caught up in recent years is the use of illustrations. You’d see almost every other new website use hand-drawn, 2D or 3D illustrations these days. The reason behind this is simple – illustrations immediately attract attention. Till some years back, Animation was seen as an attention-grabbing tool for websites, but one of the downsides with animation is that they affected the performance of websites and slowed them down. Hence illustrations have emerged as a better alternative as they offer that X-factor to improve the visual aesthetics of a website and, at the same time, help in improving the page load speeds. Illustrations help in solving complex challenges in web development, such as creating motion in web pages without increasing the size of the page. Illustrations allow developers to create a 3D effect on websites even as they keep the other elements of the site to a bare minimum improving its overall performance.
Most designers tend to become obsessed with UX and UI, often ignoring one of the most important goals of creating websites – Storytelling. Most websites, especially those belonging to corporate houses, professionals, artists, politicians, and organizations, need to tell a story and create that interactive digital experience between the user and the brand. This is where, as designers, you need to wear your creative head and work on interfaces that tell stories rather than post information. The use of bold text, infographics, and images can help you in creating stories. The goal here is to allow users to get up close and personal with the brands and people they are interacting with via a digital medium.
Single Page Websites
How were websites designed in the earlier era? You had a Home Page and other interconnected pages. Depending on the website you are designing, there could be several sub-categories. This was good for the desktop/laptop medium, where people have the liberty of moving their mouse around, and navigating through the website. But with mobile-based traffic on the rise, Single Page websites are becoming far too common. The incentives with these websites are that user gets all that he/she is looking for in a single page instead of having to navigate multiple pages on a website which can be a pain on smartphones. While this design philosophy may not be suitable for all websites but single page websites surely improve user experience. The bottom line here is if you can put all relevant information (texts, images, and graphics) on a single page, there is no need to create additional pages.
What comes to your mind when you have mentioned the term accessibility as a designer? Did you just say faster page loads and the availability of the content in all geographies? You aren’t wrong as in the early years of the Internet, it was meant to be a platform for researchers, scientists, and the top honchos in every field. But we are well past that and today the Internet is a mass medium, and when you think of more than 4 billion users around the world, you are talking about people you bump into the streets. Some of them may be visually impaired; some may have mobility issues with their fingers, while others might be unable to distinguish between different colors. Are you designing the website for them?
You can improve the accessibility of your website using larger fonts, adopting a minimalistic design approach, using text readers, and much more. With websites becoming the primary source of information, shopping, banking, and other needs, it is important that UX/UI designers start focusing on creating platforms that can be truly accessed by the masses without any limitation.
To sum up, these are some of the things that a UX/UI developer should focus on when it comes to building websites for the future. As we have mentioned earlier, web development is under a constant evolutionary cycle where ideas come and go with only a few staying relevant for a long time. It would be difficult to put a sell-by date on any of the design trends that we have discussed in this piece, but most of them would definitely serve you well for the years to come.