The year of 2021 brought vast changes to user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) design through requirements such as contactless experiences and virtual meetings. User experience had to meet expectations and provide user-friendly applications and software for changing times. This type of quick pivot will be expected as technology accelerates and UI/UX designers react to keep users connected. User experience will continue to be in demand as a means of providing value to clients. In this article, we’ll examine nine trends that are poised to shape UI/UX design in the year 2022.
Minimalism Triumphs in UI
The return of minimalist user interface design has gained strength. Today, there are many digital products with a broad service catalog found in a single place and it’s necessary to simplify the vocabulary, refine messages, and, better yet, be direct. We have seen a reduction in decorative elements, color palette, pop-up windows, and other distractions so that the user can focus more on getting his or her task done. This has created a wave of interesting visual styles and application re-designs that can attract different types of users to these interfaces.
Source: Dribbble by Azie Melasari
An exciting trend for 2022 is neomorphism which is the ability to make an element protrude from a screen. It’s a mix between a flat image and a 3-dimensional one. For example, when a user is browsing a website shopping for sofas, once he hovers the cursor over the sofa, it will come forward and become more 3-D. This allows for new ways of interacting with products and new ways to build interfaces that add engagement and a near-tactile quality.
Source: Dribbble by Mary Tokar
When a user on a website or app clicks a button, swipes, or inputs information into a field, a micro-interaction is occurring. This exchange between user and digital product or website is trending for 2022 as designers are placing new emphasis here, and deciding how to create interactions that are visually appealing, and engaging as well as functional.
Being able to make sense of large amounts of data quickly is a critical part of user experience in many apps, websites, and services. Currently, charts, graphs, pie charts, overlapping bubbles, and maps are just a few of the ways designers are tackling these challenges. Illustrated scrollable posters are another way that designers are engaging users with data. Continually finding new ways to present data in easy-to-digest, visually appealing, and interesting ways is a trend (as well as a design challenge) that we expect to see more of in 2022.
Source: Dribbble by Amanda Pape
Air Gesture Control
Imagine turning on your phone camera for a selfie without touching the screen and simply waving your hand in front of the device. This is air gesture control. The concept involves making physical gestures in front of a device as a command. Born out of the ratio changes to touch screens since their inception, this trend will likely catch on with users who have smaller screens such as phones or wearables. It will provide a bigger possible interface and eliminate touch. This will resonate with users as more and more transactions move to touch-free.
Immersive 3-D Visuals
Returning to the idea of 3-D, illustrations are also becoming more than a flat, two-dimensional experience. 3-D illustrations allow consumers to experience products more fully online, from shopping for shoes to virtually re-designing a kitchen, 3-D visuals are gaining in popularity for their ability to connect with users. With more and more tools on the market to create 3-D illustrations, such as Maya, Houdini and SculptGL, designers are honing their craft and we can expect to see more products and services in 3-D.
Moving beyond 3-D, virtual reality is a trend that is continually growing both in potential and popularity. Virtual reality is combining the real world with the digital and melding fiction with reality. In an example of this, Facebook is heavily investing in VR technology and recently unveiled its new virtual reality project, the Metaverse, a virtual world. Facebook is even rebranding to Meta. In Facebook’s new space, digital representations of people (avatars) interact and meet one another at work and play. Facebook’s Oculus VR headsets make it possible to enter this world that includes augmented reality layered into virtual reality. If this is any indication, VR will be a large trend for the foreseeable future. And UI/UX design will begin to reflect this.
Source: Dribbble by Maulana Farhan
Emotive Storytelling Through UI/UX
The concept of storytelling is nothing new to markers who have long known that users make decisions based on emotion and that storytelling creates a greater emotional connection to a product and brand. This is backed by research. MRI imagery shows that consumers use emotions more than reason when evaluating brands. By combining UI/UX design trends such as illustrations, micro animations, parallax scrolling, video, and other tools, designers have the opportunity to create immersive experiences through visual storytelling.
Source: Dribbble by Hira Riaz
Wearables and UI/UX
With the rise of personal health devices such as Fitbit, or smartwatches that function as phones, messaging systems, and internet browsers, and wireless headsets, wearable technology is definitely in vogue. The shipment volume of smart wearables globally stood at 266.3 million units in 2020, and it is projected to reach 776.23 million units by 2026. Designers must rise to the challenge of designing user-friendly interfaces for very small screens to keep consumers engaged and happy with their wearable devices.
Source: Dribbble by Michal Skvarenina
Common Threads for UI/UX Design
Among these nine trends, it’s easy to find common threads to understand the direction of UI/UX in the future. The core role of UI/UX remains unchanged and continues to be that of keeping the users engaged with a digital product. But the products, the technologies behind them, and user demands are advancing rapidly. It’s the job of UI/UX designers to keep pace with the technology and continually problem-solve, finding ways to enable users to have easy and pleasant experiences across interfaces. The role of virtual reality is also a challenge as designers and design must create fully vibrant worlds that users can inhabit and control. With each advancement and trend come new challenges for designers.
- With new technologies and greater adoption of existing ones, user experience will continue to be in demand as a means of providing value to clients. We highlight 9 trends in UI/UX design for the year to come
- Trends include: minimalism, neomorphism, micro-interactions, data visualization, air gesture control, immersive 3-D, virtual reality, emotive storytelling, and wearables.
- The core role of UI/UX remains unchanged and continues to be that of keeping the users engaged with a digital product. But products, the technologies behind them, and user demands are advancing rapidly.
If you are looking for a software partner who will work towards your business goals and success, Encora is your solution. We offer dedicated teams, team augmentation, and individual projects to our clients and are continually looking for the best methodologies to give you the best results. Curious to learn more about UI/UX trends and how to implement them into your projects? Get in touch today!