Design is always evolving and sometimes it can be hard to keep tabs on rapidly changing trends. They can also be subtle and can go unnoticed if you’re not actively looking for them. However, all these little things have a considerable impact on user experience (UX).
Whether it’s on a website or a mobile app, these design trends also tend to overlap. For example, you can now see split screens and animated transitions on both platforms. When these elements are used by different societies across continents, something that might seem minor quickly becomes a design trend.
Let’s take a look at some of the design trends that have emerged in 2018 to enhance UX.
1. Content-Centered Experience
For mobile apps and websites, it’s important to communicate your message as easily as possible. To achieve this, the page needs to have a clear visual hierarchy that can be understood at a glance.
Today, designers are approaching this with strong visual signifiers like contrasting colors to drive the user’s attention to essential information and by leveraging interactive elements. This is important as you need to minimize the cognitive load to provide a UX that’s satisfactory.
For a content-centered experience, you also need to declutter and get rid of unnecessary visuals and content to reduce the “noise” and highlight only what is essential in clear simple language.
2. Split Screen
Split screen designs are nothing new, they come and go every now and again, but never disappear completely. These days, split screens take advantage of contrasting colors or embrace subtle pairings to make websites highly responsive (and this approach can also be applied to mobile apps).
Its recent resurgence can be attributed the fact that it works very well across devices. For example, websites that follow use split screens can offer double the content on a laptop screen and stacked content on a mobile screen.
As a result, for a user starting on one device and moving on to another, there won’t be feeling like something has changed or missed out.
At Digi117, we have also embraced this approach in the most recent update of our website. This is because it’s was a great solution to draw attention to dual pieces of content of equal importance.
It can also work as an effective tool to highlight different options (giving the user a feeling that there’s a choice in how they interact with the platform).
3. 3D Button Effects
Whether it’s ghost buttons and flat buttons, these elements haven’t really changed much since the birth of the internet. However, they have evolved and promise to stick around for many more years to come (as they work well with Google’s material design language).
In recent months we have started noticing the 3D buttons where the main button is made up of a lighter color with a border that's considerably darker. This gives the user an illusion that the button is raised when compared to the surrounding content.
When you click it, the whole button sinks in just like when you push a physical button in the real world. This design trend is great for call-to-action buttons as they’re difficult to miss.
While 3D effects usually guarantee more interactivity, it will only work with the right kind of layout. For example, if everything is jumping out at you on the page, the 3D button will also get lost in the chaos of the design.
4. White Text on Dark Backgrounds
We are huge fans of white text on dark backgrounds and you’ll see it applied all over our website. This is because this classic combination simply works!
The contrast between the background and the text draws the user’s attention and adds starkness to the design. White text on a dark background is also very easy to read, so you can communicate your message within seconds.
Even if you’re using typographic animations on a dark background, it still has the same effect. If you’re using the classic white text on a black background, it can also add a sense of mystery.
In a world where we’re overwhelmed with clutter and thousands of competing messages, white text on dark backgrounds provides a calm relaxing break to process the information we’re seeking.
5. Minimum User Input
Delivering an enhanced UX comes down to anticipating user needs and delivering it with the bare minimum input from the user. If they have to follow a whole bunch of steps and input a lot of information to satisfy their needs, you will lose them.
So if there’s a signup form involved, as a rule, design it in a manner that keeps it short. For both mobile apps and websites, it’s a great idea to implement smart features like autocomplete, customized keyboards for the type of query (for mobile apps), and dynamically validate fields.
Input masks can also help users focus on the required data and input it correctly. It also makes it easier to notice errors quickly. But regardless of the approach you choose to go with, it has to be consistent (within and) across platforms to provide a unified experience.
To increase your brand value and provide an enhanced UX, you should also avoid mimicking the UX of other website and apps. While some can be a great point of reference or source of inspiration, copying that experience will diminish your desired impact.
These design trends can be implemented in almost any design project and aren’t restricted by the style of the design. One or two of these can also be added to your current offering to freshen things up or you can save it for your next overhaul project.
But as always, when it comes to design, you have to first think about the content. Does the design add any value to the content? Does it enhance the overall UX? Does it help you achieve your business goals?
If you answered “no” to any of the questions above, it really doesn’t make sense to follow through with it just to go along with current trends. In this scenario, it will be better to go back to the drawing board and further explore your options.