User interface design is ever-evolving, and designers have plenty of tools at their disposal to create a functional site or app. However, some trends have been more effective than others.
In the last few years, the digital world has been through a lot of changes. We have seen a rise in new design trends that have completely transformed the overall look and feel of websites and mobile apps all over the web. In the field of user interface design, new trends are constantly emerging. In this article, we will present six UI design trends that UI designers believe will set the new standard in 2021. Before reading on, it is important to know that these results come from a survey conducted by UXPin.
The following UI design trends are going to take center stage in 2021 and beyond:
1. Minimalism Is The New Trend
Trends may come and go, but minimalism is here to stay. According to Forbes’ recent article on user interface trends, “Minimal interfaces are easy to understand because they expose only what is essential.” Users find minimal designs intuitive because of their straightforward nature – many prefer simple layouts and interfaces as opposed to those with too many confusing bells and whistles.
Web design has had a long history of favoring style over substance, such as the garish color schemes and heavy graphic effects that were popular in the early 2000s. These days, however, minimalism is back on top as one of the leading UI styles for website and application design. Minimalist UI’s focus primarily on functionality while stripping away unnecessary visual elements and so that nothing gets in the way of completing the task at hand.
2. Immersive 3D Visuals
Nowadays, everything needs to be as realistic as possible. People want “real-life” experiences online that feel familiar and don’t require effort to understand how they function. Not surprisingly, that’s why 3D visuals will likely become an ever more common sight in the near future:
Thanks to modern technology, users are now seeing more immersive UI designs with advanced graphics capabilities that truly immerse them in the interface rather than distracting them from it. Complex animation effects help merge design elements into their surroundings for a cohesive visual experience, while also conveying useful feedback which is especially helpful when there are many layers in the UI stacking on top of each other for an “overlay-style” effect.
3. Complex Typography
According to Webdesigner Depot, unique and attention-grabbing typography is set to become a key element of UI designs this year – especially because it lends itself well to minimalism. In addition, designers are no longer limited by traditional layouts made up of rectangles or squares and can make use of an infinite number of layouts and shapes.
The simplicity and ease of use once provided by traditional fonts have been replaced by new styles that often look handwritten or graffiti-inspired. These bolder fonts can take up entire screens with larger lettering to help users understand a UI quickly and easily.
4. Voice-User Interface
Voice-user interface is defined as the use of voice commands to accomplish functions on a device, so it makes sense that many tech companies are focusing on making their devices with the best hands-free functions for this trend. From smartphones to smart speakers, a common language will be more important than ever before in 2021. For starters, WeChat already allows users to order food with just their voice, and Amazon’s Alexa can send texts through an Echo speaker.
Designers are no longer restricted to only working with text, but they’re also allowed to play around with voice-based interactions. And unsurprisingly, they’re already doing that in the real world – like for example, Burger King recently released an advertisement that was entirely made up of spoken words. But it’s not just about parodying this year’s most popular movie…it’s also about pushing the limits of what you can do when designing apps or websites in general.
5. Mobile-First Approach
There is no question that people spend the majority of their time today on mobile devices, but even more, striking is how they prefer them when there are two or more options available (e.g., laptop vs smartphone). The article says that the mobile-first approach is “a trend you can bet on to be big in 2021.” As more users flock to their mobile devices for web search, content consumption, and social media time, the best companies will ensure that their apps are available on both desktop and mobile.
The meteoric rise of smartphones has meant that mobile is now the primary screen for many users, which means the design needs to be both functional and intuitive regardless of what operating system they’re using. Web designers have been taking cues from successful apps, ensuring their sites are responsive and clear regardless of the device used. Mobile First designs put content first – meaning content should be easy to read with minimal scrolling on phone screens before designing interfaces for larger screens to place added emphasis on secondary elements.
6. Blurred, colorful backgrounds
Blurred backgrounds have already started popping up on websites and apps such as Facebook and Snapchat. It’s something we’re sure to see more of in the future—we like it!
The color theme is an emerging trend among designers due to its association with vibrancy and energy. It can be used as a visual cue for action or movement; using bolder colors at the top of an interface could give users an indication that they are moving through different sections (eg: Pinterest).
Although many would consider vibrant colors as an essential part of any UI design trend, most companies are currently shifting towards lighter, blurred backgrounds. This “colorless UI” is more beneficial for users with slow internet connections as it takes up fewer data and increases page loading speeds.
Another reason behind this trend is that brighter colors can induce negative psychological effects on some users. Bright reds, blues, oranges, and yellows have been proven to cause anxiety in some people which can lead to decreased productivity levels. According to recent studies conducted by Microsoft Research Labs, sites using dark backgrounds have shown increased user concentration levels compared to their counterparts with white or black backgrounds.
In recent years there’s been a trend toward more dramatic color schemes that eschew security and legibility in favor of something more eye-catching and attention-grabbing. Backgrounds are no longer dominated by neutral or dark hues but instead feature more vibrant and colorful palettes. Simultaneously, background images have shifted away from the traditional photograph towards soft gradients and blurred elements.
We’ve seen huge developments in UI design over recent years. With advancements like augmented reality (AR), voice-driven interactions, minimalism, immersive 3D visuals, complex typography, mobile-first approach, and blurred backgrounds, there are plenty of new techniques for designers to learn about experiment with. But 2018 showed us that these trends aren’t slowing down anytime soon. As new technologies emerge, they’ll continue to influence the UI design landscape at large.
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