Keeping up to date with current trends is important for any industry, but for those who work in areas that are fueled by technology and consumer preferences, staying ahead of the curve is crucial. UX design is one of those areas where we must not only know what appeals to our audience today but also constantly keep one eye on the future.
This is the time of year when many of us that work in web design and marketing take stock of what’s changed in the last year and where we’re heading. The welcoming of the new year might just be one day on the calendar, but it signifies a fresh beginning – one where we’re excited to meet and exceed the changing UX expectations of a digital audience.
In 2019, we’ve come to the point where the relationship between consumers and technology has become more dynamic. It’s important that we pause for just a moment to reflect on the current state of UX and the changes and challenges we can expect to see in the coming year.
Flat Vs Material Design
Material design is becoming a key UX element for mobile wed design. Websites built with material design, like the one shown, feature dynamic interactive elements that capture the user’s attention and encourage engagement.
In 2019, we’re expecting to see a major shift in movement from flat design to material design, which will enhance UX in new ways. With its clean, crisp minimalism, flat design has been the go-to template for years now. Flat design isn’t fading completely away into the sunset, but the modern digital consumer is beginning to crave a richer experience when interacting with businesses online, and material design is emerging as the answer.
Created by Google about five years ago, material design adds a new richness and depth to web design. Material design includes elements such as responsive animations, grid based layouts, 3D icons, and shading features that make the web design pop to life. This provides an experience that is more engaging and interactive. Rather than feeling removed from the website, the user experiences a greater sense of connectivity with the business.
During the past couple of years, flat design helped many businesses meet the usability and speed demands of the mobile consumer. Today, web design has advanced to the point that we can create websites that are more dynamic using material design without hampering mobile UX.
The blockchain platform erachain has received accolades for incorporating multiple key UX elements into their web design – one of the most notable being their seamless approach to linear navigation.
The climbing rates of consumers who are connecting with the online world via their mobile devices has resulted in some very impactful changes in what might otherwise be considered the seemingly minor details of UX.
Take navigation for example.
UX has focused on simplified, intuitive navigation for a few years now. We know that users want to easily find what they’re looking for and are put off by navigational tools that don’t lead them directly to their point of interest. We also know that this becomes more of a challenge on the smaller screens of mobile devices.
Simplified navigation isn’t a new trend in the world of UX, but as we move into 2019, the focus on it becomes even more important. Think along the lines of linear navigation that seamlessly guides the visitor through the website on a conversion focused journey.
As an example, we can look at erachain, a fully optimized platform that helps simplify the use of blockchain technology in certain applications. Their web design is packed with UX features that are important to their audience – which is primarily one that has at least a basic level of tech knowledge.
The mesmerizing animations catch the user’s interest immediately, but where they really start to win their visitor over is with easy, intuitive navigation. The linear design flows smoothly from one page to the next and prominent CTAs make it easy for visitors to act along the way, regardless of the device that they’re using.
Design That Tells a Story
The modern consumer is fully immersed in the digital experience. When you’re a professional who’s focused on UX day in and day out, it becomes easy to lose sight of everything that the digital experience encompasses. You might be focused on specific web design elements that are crucial to usability, but it’s important to keep in mind the more nuanced aspects of UX – like the ability to tell a great story.
Creating a website that is capable of delivering a brand’s story to every visitor is an important part of the user experience. Consumers have lost interest in brands that lack personality. They want to get to know a business before they invest their time or money and they want an experience that feels warm, personal, and transparent.
This might seem like something that’s more well suited for the content marketing pros rather than the UX team, but this is one area where the two are tightly intertwined. Successful brand storytelling requires the ability to weave a compelling message throughout the consumer’s digital experience.
To accomplish this, we need to really look at how content is being consumed. For instance, we know that video is arguably the most engaging form of content delivery, so we need to be asking ourselves how we can optimize video content for an improved UX. In 2019, UX design will include moving beyond the expected norm in storytelling and incorporating more immersive elements into video content – such as augmented reality technology.
Pogg, makers of pastries in Japan, uses video in unique ways on their website to provide visitors with an immersive sensory experience.
Pogg, makers of delectable sweet potato pastries in Japan, is an excellent example of how the right incorporation of video builds UX. As the visitor scrolls through their website, clips of mini videos animate the screen. The main video element springs to the center of the page when clicked on and delivers a sensory rich telling of their story and leaves the visitor feeling as though they’re already emotionally invested in the brand.
Audiences Become More Vocal
The use of voice assistants is on the rise, with advancements in voice command technology changing the landscape of the user experience. In 2019, UX is going to be more heavily centered on elements that amplify the digital experience for voice users.
From a UX perspective, appealing to the voice user is going to involve addressing some of the most common “discomforts” of voice use. For instance, solving the disconnect between text and voice based searches, humanizing AI conversations, moving away from robotic sounding chatbots, and digging deeper into the reasons why some consumers are still hesitant to trust voice search and learn how we can provide an improved, more reliable voice experience.
Looking Ahead to the Future of UX
Obviously, the few things we’ve pointed out here aren’t an exhaustive review of the year ahead. The goal has been to highlight consumers behaviors that will be fueling UX trends and offer insights on how to meet the more complex demands of UX in 2019. With a new year ahead of us, now is the perfect time to take stock of your approach to UX and how to best adapt for the future.
The demands of the digital consumer are changing so rapidly that we’ll undoubtedly be standing at this same spot a year from now looking towards an entirely different landscape. Now’s the time to adapt to the changes and exceed your client’s expectations in 2019.