It’s that time of the year again! With 2018 just around the corner, soon we will be jazzing up our Christmas tree, planning our holidays and parties or perhaps getting ready for our Christmas and New Year feast. But before we get there, let’s talk about UX design trends and what we can expect in upcoming 2018.
2017 has been a great year for the design industry, we have seen a rising demand for UI/UX designers as the industry grows, which reflects the fact that more people are becoming more cognizant about the importance of having strong and intuitive design as part of their brand identity.
We could mark 2017 as a start of something bigger for the upcoming years, with Artificial Intelligence (AI) becoming more advanced, the rise of voice virtual assistants like Google Home, Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, Amazon Alexa and Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) getting more popular. Although these things might take some years to fully refine, we can still make some educated predictions about it. Let’s face it – the user experience has become essential in our modern world, whether you’re targeting customers or users, a great user experience is almost mandatory in order for you to become successful and stay relevant in this industry. We are in the midst of humanising the digital world, improving our interactions with digital platforms to be as pleasant as we interact with humans.
Top 8 UX trends in websites and apps
We have seen companies start to drift away from conventional style websites to more of an unstructured yet more effective design to engage the users. We don’t see many websites having the same structures anymore like in the past where you are typically presented by pinned top navigation, maybe some carousel banners, content with a generic or cheesy Shutterstock images and a footer. Companies have opted in to implement designs that cater to their customers and users, scrapping one-size-fits-all in their design method.
In this article, I will talk about some of the trends that might be happening in UX design industry in 2018.
Content-centred experiencesThis is probably one of the most important trends in 2017 that affects us significantly on how we interact with websites. It’s all about the content’s essence and trimming down the unnecessary elements that might distract users. Minimalism and flat design are kings in today’s website design style. It is understood easier by users of all age, with faster loading speed and uncluttered design making it easier for users to reach the target.
In the past few years, we saw plenty of experimentations of web design layout in structuring the content but now we’re adjusting that fantastic interface to not sacrifice content. At the end of the day, a good hierarchy in design makes it easier to comprehend.
Time-saving designPeople with the average attention span of 7 seconds (6-8 seconds for humans, 9 seconds if you’re a goldfish!), it makes it really imperative for designers to catch users’ attention within the time constraint. Generic images and boring layouts do not cut it; it has to be unique, be it bold and prominent typography or evocative images or minimalism with an interesting focal point.
Less is definitely more. Ideally, we only present with a clean navigation and relevant information. With users expecting a more intuitive experience, it’s crucial for designers to:
• Create a linear design experience where there’s a fixed set of journeys, beginning-middle-end. For example, you’re buying a product on an eCommerce website, you’d expect to browse the available products, buy the product desired and checkout. The design experience is clear and linear.
• Design with common navigation pattern to make it intuitive for first time visitors.
• Anticipate users’ needs to deliver their best possible experience.
High quality and non-cheesy imagesHumans are visual creatures, we love pictures. Any viral things on the internet often include video or pictures. Therefore, what better way to attract users by displaying great imagery on the website, it might not be a new thing in 2018 but this trend from previous years will remain. The difference is, now people have been actively trying to take great pictures themselves as they don’t want to use a generic stock photo that other hundred websites might have used. No more cheesy Shutterstock images. Unsplash will still be quite popular but, considering more people have been using it, I suspect there will be more Unsplash-like websites popping up.
Much better prototyping toolsAs websites get more advanced, the tools for supporting advanced websites have improved as well. While users might not realise what tools are being used in order to create the website they’re using, it’s important for designers to use tools that smoothen the process of handover to developers. The tools are focused on the flexibility of the software, ability to handle simple and advanced animations and intuitive responsive friendliness. While there are numbers of prototype tools emerging in 2017 such as Adobe XD, UXpin, Proto.io, Sketch and Axure currently still dominate the market. But we predict that InVision Studio will get a good traction in 2018, particularly with their new software release next year.
Mobile first, Android first
In 2016, mobile usage finally surpassed desktop traffic. And we’re certain that this trend will continue for years to come. Particularly supported by many mobile providers allowing unlimited data and fast internet and powerful smartphones, it is inevitable to find mobile browsing more convenient. It’s also logical for developers to build websites from the smaller screen and build their way up to bigger screens. And speaking of mobile, currently, close to 80% mobile developers choose Android over iOS when building apps. The number of users for Android still dominates the market with a whopping 87%, while iOS comes second at 12%
Less hamburger menuThis might come as a shock but we suspect there will be less usage of hamburger menu. While it is very useful for some websites and apps, it might be overused and lowering discoverability. Some companies find not having hamburger menu actually help their navigation and efficiency. Spotify for example removed hamburger menu and applied a tab-based navigation menu on the bottom of the screen. Spotify claimed that tabbed menu led to a 30% increase in navigation clicks which is quite significant. We anticipate that in 2018, there will be slightly less hamburger menu appearance.
Greater use of contrast and white space, bright colours, big typography and personalised icons and illustrationsLike I have mentioned above, in order to grab users’ attention, companies have to be able to show a unique graphic while keeping it clean. There’s no set of design rules when it comes to creating a website, if the approach is proving to give better results, then it’s worth following. Showing brighter colours, bigger typography and personalised icons and illustrations demonstrate that it helps to be courageous for 2018.
Rise of conversational botsTech giant, Facebook, invited developers to start making bots via Facebook Messenger app in April 2016. We have seen the number of bots grow from 30,000 active bots in 2016 to 100,000 active bots. Companies like Sephora, for example, increased their booking rate by 11% with the use of chatbots. Sephora’s goal was to encourage more customers to visit the stores by offering an easy way to book makeovers. With Facebook chatbot, Sephora managed to trim down 5 steps in booking makeovers compared to its online app, making it super speedy in scheduling appointments with customers.
Live chats currently have the highest satisfaction levels with 73% rate while phone and SMS are currently ranked the lowest by scoring 44% and 41% respectively. Judging by this trend, we suspect more companies will invest in making their live chat better.
While it’s never easy to make predictions about constantly evolving design trends, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared to embrace any UX trends coming your way in 2018. Although trends can come and go, the simple fact remains: user experience will always be tremendously important in websites and apps. It’s our job to make sure that we deliver the best experience for our customers.
To find out more about how we can help you with website design, get in touch with the experts at SpiderGroup. We can help find the right customer journey for your website, so it fulfils your business objectives. You can call us on 0117 933 0570 or fill in our contact form and we will be in touch.