Wondering what the future of web design will look like? We should see more and more of these design concepts in more native apps and mobile websites this year:
1. Invisible Design: Invisible Design: Google Maps automatically re-routing when you veer off course is an example of invisible design. Airbnb using machine learning to show you hosts that are most likely to accept your type of booking request is another example. “Good design is invisible. Good screen design happens in the subatomic level of microtypography (the exact definition of a typeface), the invisible grid of macrotypography (how the typeface is used), and the invisible world of interaction design and information architecture”, says Oliver Reichenstein, founder and director of Information Architects. The best type of design is where the design goes unnoticed by the average user, where the product or feature integrates seamlessly into the user’s lifestyle.
4. More data-driven decisions: Design will be rooted, not in principles learned in design school, but in information about the user. Decisions will be based on deep user research and ergonomics. We’ll see design teams working closely with data scientists to make sense of all the user data we have available to us. Design elements will be scientifically designed in tandem with how people behave and will be user- informed.
5. Cards: We saw a lot of new apps presenting their content in card-style fashion and a lot of not-so-new apps switching over to this format. I don’t expect this to die off anytime soon because this technique makes so much sense. In the age of information overload, cards allow content to be displayed in easily digestible summaries. Cards also remove the need for users to figure out how to navigate through content because they are able to interact with them in a familiar way - the way they interact with a deck of cards. The two main types of card layouts are the continuous stream of cards like the Facebook Newsfeed and the stacked cards like Tinder’s user profiles.
6. Context Awareness: We should see more mobile experiences leveraging the user’s current environment to present hyper-relevant information. Nazmul Idris, Founder of Trnql says that we can be more relevant by customizing the UI based on the user’s activity, offering location-based recommendations and taking weather into consideration. For example, if the user is on foot, give them walking directions as a default instead of driving directions. Know their location? Why not suggest nearby friends to invite? If it is expected to rain tomorrow, send the user a notification suggesting they leave a little earlier or bring an umbrella.
7. Material Design: As the ongoing flat vs skeuomorphism debate continues, an emerging middle ground is material design, which is layered flat design. It creates more liveliness than flat design while embracing the modern, minimalistic aesthetic of flat design.
11. Design as central to business and product: UX is becoming a bigger priority and the core of companies. Companies will be hiring more UX designers (in-house and outside agencies) and adding a UX expert at the executive level. UX thinking will be integrated into the operations of other departments. We should see more of an overlap between UX and business. UX teams will be required to be more business savvy and the demand for designers that understand business will grow.
Conclusion: The user is king and approaching design through the lense of their experience is the key to a successful product.
Diana Solatan is an entrepreneur and Managing Director at PLATFORM Design Agency.