It’s easy to get hung up on the aesthetics when designing or redesigning a website. However, if you’re trying to achieve something substantial, you’ll have to do more than just make it look good. In a world where people have access to millions of websites, you have to make sure your application is easy to use and enjoyable, otherwise you’re likely to lose out to another brand!
In fact, due to this exposure, users know exactly what they want, which makes them more demanding and harder to retain. How well a user can navigate your website or application (UI) and how enjoyable their experience is while using it (UX) will ultimately define your brand’s success.
Unveiling the Acronyms
We’ve all overheard conversations about the great ‘UI’ of a product, or the poor ‘UX’ of a website. But what do either of these actually mean — is it a secret conversation you’ll never be privy to?
Here’s how Rahul Varshney, Co-creator of Foster.fm rightly puts it:
“User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) are some of the most confused and misused terms in our field. A UI without UX is like a painter slapping paint onto canvas without thought; while UX without UI is like the frame of a sculpture with no paper mache on it. A great product experience starts with UX followed by UI. Both are essential for the product’s success.”
So why are UI and UX design important for a business?
The success of your website depends on a well-designed UI. When done well, it enhances your brand identity, boosts customer engagement, and drives more traffic towards your business.
In the same vein, even if your website is designed effectively, imagine not being able to navigate through it seamlessly. A website is no good if you can’t provide users frictionless digital experiences that align with their daily lives — something they’ve come to expect.
The facts as presented by Forrester research show that:
A well-designed UI could raise your website’s conversion rate by up to 200%, and a better UX design could yield conversion rates of up to 400%!
So, in order to quickly gain trust, promote brand recognition, and ensure user retention, here are some of this year’s UI and UX trends to keep your brand ahead of the curve.
Leveraging UI Design Trends
Big, bold, and beautiful typography is becoming popular, thanks to the availability of a range of web font services offering free or cost-effective font families. Even though cliched system fonts are being replaced by typography drawn from traditional graphic and editorial design, minimalism isn’t going away.
Cards aren’t a new breakthrough trend but we’re seeing more and more of them across platforms such as Netflix, Twitter, and Facebook. They’re a great way of showcasing short bursts of information, allowing the user to process them with ease. They can include text, imagery, video, and everything in between — scaling from the smallest screened devices to the biggest.
When the background moves at a slower rate to the foreground, users experience more depth as they scroll. To help lift content off the page and engage users further, parallax effects are used in conjunction with imagery, text, and a less rigid layout that paves the way for fluid, layered content.
UI design has long relied on the grid to create consistency, balance, rhythm, and order — a holy grail. However, we’ve been seeing more ‘statement pieces’ that allow designers to play with layering, depth, motion, and obvious focal points. Don’t forget though, your design still needs to remain user-friendly, regardless of how dynamic and creative you want to be!
A shift from grid designs to more experimental layouts coupled with the use of rich, bold colors is making 2018 a fresher and optimistic year for UI. As was seen with Instagram’s controversial rebrand, the use of vivid colors and gradients adds warmth, dynamism, and energy into the project.
Now that you’re on top of some of the most popular UI trends, let’s look at UX.
Good UX is Good Business
Trends this year show that most desktop websites will look like an app. Google search engine has already paved the way by removing ads from the right menu — and the industry follows! It’s important because any brand wants its users to experience the same interface without the need to learn a new one each time they use a different device.
People love chatting and developers are now tapping into this interest. As a result, voice-activated interactive platforms that use chat-bots are dominating. Bots have been around for ages but the reason why it’s trending now is because of the advancement of Artificial Intelligence. Products such as Google Assistant and Siri have gone beyond a fad to become a useful product with real impact en masse! Take for instance the ability to order a pizza through a conversational interface in a mobile app. Once started as a cool niche feature, the capability to do things like this will soon become the norm across industries.
As more and more experience goes beyond the digital; experience becomes the product. There are now tools allowing developers to pinpoint the biggest weak points, eliminate bugs, or design a more intuitive interface! Snapchat Spectacles, for example, has created seamless integration of a digital product into the user’s life. It supplies them with a multi-purpose object that offers an easy way to share experiences — creating positive impact.
Augmented Reality (AR)/ Virtual Reality (VR)
The collaboration between UX designers and 3D architects has increased to create anticipated user experiences and immersive designs. VR and AR have huge potential in tourism (for example – ‘visiting’ a location before actually visiting the physical location), construction (‘walk’ around your new house before deciding to buy), shopping (‘try’ out your new dress before buying via mobile), and pretty much any other industry.
The form of design may change and evolve but its function will remain core to many new and exciting experiences to come. As time goes by, trends of custom-fit, chatbots, and VR/AR will continue. In the meantime, get on board with this year’s trends to stay a notch above everyone else and give your brand the edge.