Finding the right mix between design and technology can be tricky. Sometimes, technical solutions may fail to appeal visually and at other times a good UX design may lack usability and functional brilliance. Nonetheless, it is this balance that designers strive to strike which, though difficult, isn’t impossible to achieve.
To ensure that you are able to strike the perfect balance yourself, here’re the top web and UX design trends that are going to be ‘in vogue’ this year.
The year 2014 was ruled over by aesthetically-created flat designs, which was quickly followed by material design. The latter helped create visual presentations for users that synthesize classic principles of good design alongside technological innovativeness.
This is 2017, and predictions do not hint towards the design trends reflecting any of the above mentioned. Rather, critics would like to call this a ‘year of fusion’ where design and technology in the form of ‘Digital Design’ will create a seamless browsing experience, which will aim at providing a more real-world feel.
Below are the design/UX trends, predicted for 2017.
This is the age of personalization and providing the customer an exceptional experience, basis her preference, habits, and even age. Yes, age is an influencer that determines how a customer may use the internet. Different generations respond differently to the same website as they have their own choice regarding the content, the color palate or theme of the website, and so on. As the different age-groups may use the website differently, they may have diverse expectations, set according to those parameters.
So, to be able to cater to the varying tastes, we have to make the site respond to the screen size, device, platform, etc., in question. We can collect a user’s personal details, such as age, based on Cookies collected during his/her visit. Not only will this ease the search experience of the user, it will also enable her to enjoy a personalized experience while on your website.
Besides the age and preference, page load time also defines a user’s experience on a website. Previously, a progress bar, a spinner, etc., were used to indicate that a page is loading – these practices have however, become obsolete now; skeleton screens have replaced them. The page load activity is now happening in phases, making it easier for customers to view the information appearing on the website.
Traditionally, navigation in websites only meant links displayed in the top bar. Gradually, this changed to designers also experimenting with displaying links in the side bar, besides the top bar. In the age of responsive design, web designers are adopting the Hamburger menu, specific only for mobile devices. While many who have adopted this are happy, many others believe that neither does it completely fulfil the requirement nor does it match the UX pattern.
As a fix, one can use the menu in a realistic manner as shown in the image above. The links can be framed around the Hero image or the main image of the page for offering better clarity to users.
In yet another way of presenting the navigation, a scrollable navigation has replaced the traditional format. Not only does this prompt a user to use the scroll to view the rest of the content, it also offers it a ‘tidier’ look as well. The illustration below reiterates this point:
Designers are also experimenting with the idea of presenting just one navigation design for both desktops and mobile devices. Traditional menus are being replaced by the Hamburger menu as the only option to navigate.
This is what a typical traditional scenario looked like.
There would be two navigation systems, one each for desktop and mobile devices. In the desktop navigation format, the main menu would be visible at the first sight; sub-menus would appear in the following steps. In the mobile device navigation format, this would be converted into the Hamburger menu that would require clicking on it to make it visible. To make all subsequent menus visible, a user would have to click on the appropriate items in the menu.
It can be pretty confusing for a user to have to explore two, entirely different navigation menus, while accessing the same website on different devices. This may lead to a poor UX experience for her (the user). To avoid this, having one navigation system – common for all device types – can prove to be handy. Not only can this make users easily access the website, it can also save time and efforts at the developers’ end as they won’t have to use separate codes for different devices.
Prepare to also witness a lot of vertical screen divisions in 2017 – the split screen design is predicted as the ‘next big thing’ this year. By using this design pattern, designers can allow a user to make a choice – pick the relevant section – right at the onset. Besides beautifully arranging items as per relevance, this sleek pattern can also streamline the experience for the user.
As is illustrated in the image below, a user interested in viewing the products (on the website) can click on the left split screen, and one wanting to become a distributor, can choose to browse the right split screen. Because the content is already sorted, the user can reach her destination (on the website) in a jiffy.
2017 is also about blending the physical world with the digital. The above-mentioned site displays headphones in a creative way. To give the feel of a real digital world, it offers users animated effects that symbolize sound.
Digitizing with physical objects builds a strong connection between the digital screens and the real world.
Chat bots aren’t new to us. Nonetheless, they are being recreated using fresh ideas to better engage with customers. Websites can now use them to provide better customer service, generate sales leads, and help create more streamlined sales processes.
Another design trend that is set to take the digital world by storm is shopping cart marketing. Marketers would agree when we say that it is pretty hard to sell products to a new customer, as compared to an existing one. However, this can be reversed (and revenue generated) by offering upsells, bundled offers, and cross-sales during check-out.
Animation is always more attractive as opposed to a static view – it is human tendency to get attracted towards something that is moving. By adding animation to your website, allow your online visitors to better engage with you. This is another design trend for 2017.
Besides animation, video backgrounds too work well while capturing users’ attention. Large, immersive images and videos can make users stop and take notice, and these cinematic experiences can transport one to a world of illusions. No wonder, they have become so popular. With advancement in technology, video loading has become faster, and the improvement of WebGL websites are playing an instrumental role in adding cinematic experiences on the web.
Earlier, animated videos were used to boost online sales. However, in 2017, designers would rather feature real people sharing their experiences about a product, via real-time videos, as compared to animated videos. This helps validate the product in a better way and offers a quick connect to the user that can lead them towards a sale.
In the end
As you can see from the above, design trends of 2017 isn’t focusing on just one approach. In fact, there’s a plethora of ideas that designers would experiment with. Besides a grand variety, these ideas would surely add up to the ‘personalization’ repertoire as well – every approach will ultimately concentrate on providing the user with a never-before experience – one that is personal and direct.