Simple, effective, and functional design is the key for user experience in 2015. With the rapid growth of mobile technologies and users multitasking more, time is becoming more valuable. Designers will need to be more conscious of designs that deliver content more quickly and without hassle.
Here are the top 10 user experience trends of 2015, made by Megan Wilson.
1. Simple, clutter-free design is in
Some common misconceptions are: Adding animation and other kinds of client-side technology improves the UX. The “prettier” the UI, the easier it is to use. It is better to have a UI with lots of dynamic menus, animation, multimedia, rich graphics and other visual effects, even if it slows down the page-load time and decreases the responsiveness of the interface. In reality, obsessing over a visual experience can result in unnecessary development work that negatively impacts usability, UX, brand experience and overall business value. Fancier design isn’t always better. Excessive elements interfere with the user’s ability to read and interact with your product. Many websites are adjusting contrast, color schemes, layout, and readable typefaces to look and feel more modern. The focus will be on providing the user with a positive experience, and reducing barriers to that experience.
2. Focused landing pages will become a useful promotional tool
Focused landing pages are web pages that work similarly as a full page ad in a magazine, often used for mobile apps, products or web services. Typically, a landing page will contain an attractive visual element, some information and links to the full site or app. These allow consumers to educate themselves about your product at a glance before committing.
3. More pages will design interfaces based on priority and user expectations
When users are navigating a website, certain things will be more important than others. Savvy companies are using hover and hidden controls to free up screen space of unnecessary elements. Expect to see more streamlined websites in the future.
4. Websites are assisting users with helpful cues when necessary
Sometimes there are vital features that cannot be simplified further. Whether they are text labels, or pages with multiple buttons on it, users will require some guidance on your part. Organizations will be more likely to offer helpful, non-obtrusive tips on data fields or other areas on-screen. Websites will become more intuitive and easy to follow. Online guidance software, such as WalkMe, is becoming more and more popular to help users complete their online tasks.
5. Mobile-first design will be leading the pack
Scaling up from mobile-first designs is much easier than scaling down to mobile from desktop. One major advantage of this is that many trending design philosophies overlap with mobile design. Ideas like flat design, de-cluttered spaces, visual landing pages, and hidden controls are all part of mobile design.
6. Organizations will look to flat design to deliver a more functional experience
Flat design is becoming the new trend in interface design. Flat colors, simple shapes and de-cluttered geometric layouts are becoming some of the most popular aesthetics. Website designers are ditching the shadows and the 3-D look on buttons, as well implementing contextual transparencies.
The key factor in flat design is that it distracts your eye less and creates a more pleasant viewing atmosphere for the user.
7. More text will be being replaced with icons, images and illustrations
Visuals help break up text-heavy pages. The create a visual interest point and directs the flow of the user’s attention. Without images, the user’s attention may wander and then eventually get bored or frustrated. Icons, when easy to understand from a glance, will replace traditional text labels.
8. Many sites will breed familiarity with the user
It has been said that users will not notice great design, but rather they feel it. You will notice that many of the best designed sites follow some of the same patterns in terms of responsiveness, screen space ratios and layout. It is not often that a new website comes out of nowhere that looks 100% unique. Expect website designs to follow conventions, and improve gradually over time.
9. Offering online guidance to users will be important
Offering online guidance, like WalkMe, can offer unique and helpful tools for user experience professionals. All-in-one tools can both help improve the design for users and onboard new businesses. Their self-service walkthroughs can be implemented and they also provide analytics for the organization.
10. Looking at future trends will be the key moving forward
According to Apala Lahiri Chavan on the subject of the futurist approach to user experience, you can look at future trends, and determine if that future state is one that is desired. You can then either move towards if it is desired, or away from it if you want a better future state (Chavan, “How Futurist Trends Will Drive UX Design”, Human Factors International).
This way of thinking will become the norm. Companies will look to have a more broad perspective when analyzing future trends, using a combination of popular social media channels and traditional research.
Being conscious of trends in user expectations, behaviors and adoption of new technologies will be what sets apart successful companies from lagging ones.