Top UX Trends to Watch This Year

To say that user experience is important is a gross understatement. It is literally the most import element in web design. If the user experience is confusing, boring, or otherwise fails to meet increasingly demanding standards, visitors will simply go elsewhere. The key to good UX design is to stay on top of emerging trends, and to incorporate those trends into your own work. You can begin by considering the following UX design trends.

Screens Are No Longer the Only Focus

When it comes to user experience, web designers now have a lot more to think about. Until recently, all that mattered was the screen, because that was the only way that people connected or interacted. Today, the web is no longer limited to desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones. Virtual reality, augmented reality, wearable technology, smart homes, and other technological advances have disrupted UX design assumptions. Now designers are tasked with learning new skills to keep up with these advances and with putting into place new standards and practices as well.

Personalization Is Key

You may have noticed that web designers are giving users more control over their own website experiences. For example, think about a website that sells educational games for children. A year or two ago, every person entering that website might have been directed to a ‘one size fits all’ home page. Today, if you entered that same website, you might be greeted with an introductory screen asking you to select whether you are a parent, a student, or and educator. Then, depending on your answer you are presented with a UX that has been designed to meet your needs. According to Michael Sheridan of Cheap Games, his company saw an increase in revenue once they began using customer data to influence their website design.

Designers Using Video in Increasingly Innovative Ways

Using video to improve UX is nothing new. Designers have used videos to convey messages, to demonstrate products, and even to strengthen branding efforts. Now designers are taking things a step further with the use of background videos. Picture visiting an artist’s website where the background of the home page is a looping video of them creating a beautiful work of art. Not only are you seeing the work and process they use, you also get to see creation of something beautiful. Background videos add depth to web pages and serve to clarify what the designer is trying to communicate. They also do a great job of setting the tone of a website.

Storytelling Remains an Important Element in Design

Not too long ago, web designers figured out that storytelling was a great way to get users engaged and to keep them on the website longer. This often leads to increased conversions. This trend will continue to become increasingly popular. Designers will leverage this trend by finding ways to make stories more compelling, more engaging, and likely more interactive.

Flat Design and Skeuomorphism Find Peace via Flat 2.0

One issue of contention in web design has been over the use of flat design in icons, or skeuomorphic design. Flat design proponents claim that modern users want elegance and minimalism. Skeuomorphism fans claim that skeuomorphism is intuitive, familiar, and clear. While flat design has become more widely accepted and used that skeuomorphism it is still a controversial issue. Fortunately, Flat 2.0 might just change all that. Flat 2.0 involves the use of layering to create a 3 dimensional appearance (popular in skeuomorphic design) while still obeying the rules of flat icon design.

Not all of these trends are a good fit for all audiences or for every design project. However, each is very important in modern web design, and it is likely that as a designer that you can improve user experience by incorporating at least a few of these trends into the work that you do.

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Written by:
Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien
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