The field of UX is constantly changing, and we should expect nothing less in 2021. Here are five of the top design trends you should keep an eye out for (and look to implement) this year:
1) Motion Graphics — Animated elements on both mobile and desktop apps engage the user so much more than their static or text-heavy counterparts. Not only are large, 3D motion graphics going to increase in popularity this year, but also smaller animated elements — buttons, cursor movements, transitions, and even micro-interactions such as reactions to pressing buttons or data loading visualizations. The overall design will take a minimalist backseat, and the motion graphics will pop.
2) 90s Design Techniques
Seems like we’ll be looking back to the 1990s — a time when digital design was just beginning — for inspiration this year, switching from the currently popular Brutalist style to something more “nostalgic.” Examples of 90s-inspired design include simple 3D animation, Memphis design and pixelated typography. Even gradients, which were initially popularized in the 90s, are back on design inspiration boards. More subtle forms of 90s design can be used across industries, but they’re popular among designers in the fashion and entertainment industries.
3) Personalized Design
Design and site content is already becoming more user-specific — think about Spotify’s personalized playlists, YouTube content suggestions and Netflix recommendations. When users believe content is created specifically for them, conversion rates significantly increase. However, many people are also concerned about the extent of their personal information that sites possess, so as your platform focuses more on personalized design, ensure you communicate the strength of your site security as well.
4) Augmented Reality
The increasing involvement of AI and AR in UX design is no surprise. Even though the lack of development standards and a common language makes AR compatability difficult, it is being used in everything from interior design apps to virtual museum tours and other ed-tech platforms. This is a trend that will continue to become more important in 2021.
5) Live Collaboration — most of us have been at home for the last nine months, working together over tools like Zoom and Google Docs and staying productive with accountability and management softwares like Notion and Asana. Live editing, viewing, messaging and tagging features on platforms will only become more important in 2021, as well as the way they’re presented — UI designers will have to think about how to clearly represent multiple different collaborators, authors or designers who are working simultaneously on the same project.
In addition to these five trends that you’re sure to see across design work in 2021, some others to keep an eye out for include: the increasing use of dark mode, voice recognition software and other touchless interactions and more 3D experiences. If there are any other trends that you or your company are paying attention to this year, let us know in the comments!