There is no doubt that internet users are developing higher expectations when it comes to user experience. As a result, UX designers continue to raise the bar and come up with new ways to create website experiences that are more engaging, more efficient, and more visually appealing to users than ever before.
The rate of change in UX design in the past few years looks set to continue to come at a rapid fire pace as we look to the future. Of course for many designers the most important future is the one that is happening in the next few months. If you’re thinking of becoming a UX designer, check out these Top 7 UX Design Trends that will be making an impact in both design circles and for you the user in 2016.
UX Design Won’t Be Limited To Mobile Devices Laptops And Desktops
One thing to keep in mind when considering UX trends is that UX now involves more than screens. User experience also impacts wearable technology and the internet of things (IOT). In fact, an alternative to the familiar term “sticky UX” was coined. That term is “slippy UX”.
If you are designing for screen-based devices such as desktops and laptops, you want to create a sticky experience by offering both content and an interface that keeps people engaged. If you are creating a UX for wearable technology or IOT, you want to create a slippy experience. In other words, rather than drawing the user in, you want to give them what they need to take an action or to make a decision at a glance.
Although flat design seems to be dominating, there are still enough skeuomorphism apologists out there to keep the skeuomorphism vs. flat design controversy alive. One trend that might just end this battle is flat 2.0. Layering can be used to add visually appealing dimension to links and buttons that adhere to flat design principles. The result is that the user experiences an interface that is easier for them to navigate, and the appearance of the web page isn’t sullied by outdated skeuomorphic design.
Split Screen Layouts
Not every person who visits a website is interested in the same thing. In addition to that, not every brand has only one thing to promote. The beauty of the split screen layout is that you can create a UX that allows users to choose which path they want to take when navigating your website. It also allows you to offer visitors more than one entry point to your website. For example, if you had both business clients and individual consumers, you could use split screen layouts to create a welcoming experience for both. You can also use split screen layouts in clever ways to express the duality of your brand.
User Experience Will Become Increasingly Personalized
Personalization is simply creating a user experience that is customized for each visitor’s preferences and past behaviors. For example, if you have previously made purchases from an online store, you may be presented with suggested items based on your shopping history. Another website might ask you to sign in using one of your social media accounts and then customize your experience based on your profile information. Even the use of geolocation can be used to increase the level of personalization.
Storytelling Continues To Dominate
One of the best ways to create an engaging user experience is to use storytelling. Telling a story gets visitors engaged in a website experience quickly. It also creates a UX that flows. A good story is visually and emotionally compelling, which is why this trend dominates in digital marketing.
What better way is there to sell a product or service than to provide visitors with a compelling story that leads them to your call to action? What better way to get people behind your cause than to tell the story of somebody who is impacted by that cause? Finally, using storytelling is often the path to a more simplified and efficient user experience design. For example, the popular single page website design is an excellent match to a user experience that focuses largely on telling a story. Here are some great examples of storytelling in UX design.
Expanded Use Of Video
Just like UX designers are doing more and more with storytelling each year, video also becomes increasingly more important when it comes to user experience. Designers have always known the importance of video to create engagement, grow brands, and drive conversions. What’s exciting about video today is that designers are taking things beyond product demo videos, interviews, how-tos, and getting to know us content, and are now using background videos to enhance the user experience.
Why is this exciting? For years, website layout has been based largely on print layout. The main focus was text and static images. Videos and other more engaging content were relegated to links or clunkily embedded into the page. With video backgrounds, the video becomes part of the user experience, it provides the UX designer with one more way to communicate with the visitor, and it is one more element keeping the visitor on the page.
Imagine going to an artist’s web page. Not long ago, in order to see the artist’s work, you would have to click a link, or perhaps they would have a collage of images on their homepage. If there was a video, you would have to click to watch it. Now, that same artist can have a web page where a video depicting their finished work, even their process can play, not just in the background, but as the background.
Studies have shown that having too many decisions to make has a negative impact on the brain and its ability to process information and increases the likelihood of error and frustration. Using anticipatory design, user experience designers can take some of the mundane decisions and tasks out of the hands of visitors so that they can focus on more pressing actions and decisions. This, of course, includes converting.
Anticipatory design can also be used to help users consider important things that may not have occurred to them. For example, the online ordering page at a grocery store could be designed so that certain actions trigger reminders or questions for a visitor to help them have the best buying experience possible. This might include popping up a brief message box asking them if they would like to order charcoal or firewood if they order items common for campouts or cookouts. A UX designer could also use past purchasing behaviors and offer to prefill the shopper’s purchase list with regularly purchased items.
Ultimately, good UX design is about meeting customers evolving needs and expectations, and then exceeding those. The trends listed above can be used to add beauty, streamline processes, and make the user feel as if their good experience on a website matters to those who operate that website.