With time, design trends change and the idea from providing simple text for engagement have shifted to infographics, images, videos and many more.
Interactive design technique and a proper information structure is a requisite to your website or mobile application to generate traffic and turn them into a long-term customer.
In 2018, stats show that almost 60% of mobile apps were never downloaded. One of the major reasons could be less interactiveness of the app. Applying the latest technology with features but no interactive, visual design will deprive the user from downloading the app.
This picture is a clear example of the changes in the UI trends, Apple back in 1997 have become more neat adding more white spaces to their homepage, less content, 3D images displaying their latest phones with Sans-serif font for a more elegant look.
But, was that a necessary change? Does changing the UI of this website have put any impact on the users? From tap to touch, and 2D to 4-5D illustrations, UI have always improvised to make things look more realistic.
User Interface is an element that helps the user to interact and connect with the website or app, it navigates the user to different features and functions. It works as a bridge for the user to perceive the information through the overall design and content presentation.
User Interface brings traffic to your website when structured, designed and manipulated effectively. It has the capability to engage users in order to convert them into loyal customers. Even the small adjustments in UI can surprisingly put in a big impact.
Likewise, Apple changed its App Store home page with more whitespaces and less content, fluid images, icons, Sans-serif fonts, and more vibrant colors.
Progressive technology have always something new to make things more realistic and pleasing. Certainly, we see changes in the UI for more realistic approach and customer delight.
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How designers can drive customers through effective UI?
Users have a definite aptitude towards designs that drive their behavior towards the website or an app. Thus, it is important for the developers to keep the user aptitude into consideration when designing. Delighted customers in return would recommend your app or website to other users for the use which can give you a higher customer base.
“Design creates culture. Culture shapes value. Value determine the future.”Robert L. Peters
User Interface can have a great impact or could be one of the reasons behind the failure or success of any website or mobile application. Interface not just engage users but, smartly displays the complex systems and technologies in a simpler way to the user.
Most widely used Adobe XD is one of the amazing and competitive software to proffer limitless UI designing solution with enhanced animation features and UI elements.
Let’s take a tour of how interfaces have changed the world and we await much more:
1. White Spaces or the breathing room for the objects
White spaces are also termed as negative space as it is not just restricted to the color white. Developers try different colours, textures, patterns, sometimes images in the background for an enhanced look. This trendy interface let the focus be on the object, making it more expressive.
This trend is used by the designer when he does not want too much clutter allowing the user to perceive the message easily. White spaces or negative spaces also adds elegance to the page curtailing the level of distraction.
Another benefit of negative space is they bring contrast to your image. Through adding contrasts, the user can easily differentiate the subject and space around it.
Designers opt for this trend to provide high usability and easy navigation to the users. You can see this trend been used often in logos, illustrations, posters, and creative lettering.
2. Custom-Made illustrations
Custom Illustration is still widely used and one of the most trending interfaces. This versatile technique of captivating audience can easily boost the company’s brand image and give a clear picture of its work. Illustrations help in representing the nature of the website too – funky, innovative, fun, or magical.
Not just this, custom illustrations can be used in blogs to make it more lucid and engaging. Due to its variable use, custom illustration in web designing is used for branding to conceptualize.
Atlassian is a technology company that uses illustration as a tool of choice. It provides them with the flexibility to tell aspirational and whimsical stories. Custom illustrations allow them easy communication with the audience delivering the complex technical concepts in an effortless way. They use illustrations to convey a variety of tones and emotions using the same visual language.
3. Mobile responsive website first
With the rise in mobile users, designers are following the concept for designing for the mobile screen first, then for the desktop which means start the product design from the mobile end which has more restrictions, then expand the features for desktop or tablet version.
Under restrictions like bandwidth, screen size and so on designers will keep the key points and features of the product in mind while designing.
The key principle behind designing a mobile responsive design first is that it helps save design time and improve productivity. It also helps designers create neat and practical designs keeping content in mind.
Thus, the tradition of designing for the desktop has taken a step back, and a new concept of mobile-first have come into the limelight. With the change in time, mobile traffic surprisingly surpassed desktop traffic with 50.31%. Google indexes those websites that contain the mobile responsive design.
4. Dynamic Illustrative Icons
In the age where massive and fast information consumption, the role of visuals are growing. Illustrations are a visual interpretation of process, action, and environment. Illustrations are integrated into a variety of published media like printed and interactive both.
Icons have been used in web designing, but now with touch input, they are being used to the fullest. Icons can prove to be more functional, understandable, intuitive, and overcome all language barriers in small mobile screens. Illustrative Icons in User Interface has a largely symbolic value used for the purpose of communication.
The icon can be a great marketing tool to add value to any element. There is a long list of icons used out of which 7 most widely used have been mentioned below –
- Clarifying icons – Meant to explain, these visual makers explain features or mark out the categories of content. Generally, this icon comes with a copy together to instruct people with the actual meaning of the image.
- Interactive Icon – These icons core purpose is to navigate and interact with the user through clicking or tapping and respond with the action as their symbol. Their purpose is to inform about the function and features behind these symbols.
- Decorative and entertaining icons – As the name suggests, these icons are more pleasing and attractive than their functionality. They are mostly used when someone wants to offer special discounts or seasonal features. They have the potential to attract as well as retain customers for a positive experience.
- App and Favicons – App icons are the interactive signs that represent the original identity of the digital product. It is generally made from the combination of a set of icons likewise – a mascot and combination of corporate colours. Favicon, on the other hand, represents the brand in the URL line as well as in the bookmark tab. This interactive icon is effective for website promotion and recognizability.
- Glyph Icons – The word “glyph” means “to carve” which earlier represent symbols or pictograms along with readable characters. Today, glyph icons are typographic symbols that use universal shapes for the navigation of a digital product. Some icons like the alarm clock in a phone to “set alarm”, aeroplane represent to switch to “aeroplane mode”, the moon represents “do not disturb” and many more.
- Flat and semi-flat icons – Quite different from the glyph icons, flat or semi-flat icons are the combination of colors and filling of the elements. These icons are simple visual metaphors that quickly convey the meaning.
- Skeuomorphic icons – Skeuomorphic icons displays the 3D look of any image. These icons are popular in the gaming industry. Nowadays, they are being dominated by flat and semi-flat designs.
5. Animation for more engagement
Conceptual animation is a piece of motion design crafted to convey a particular idea which may be found in various concepts for interactions, transactions, manipulation with controls, etc.
A nice hover effect for a section or smooth transacting buttons, animations can truly make a huge difference. Animations are being used on websites as well as app designing to elevate your UI patterns.
Conceptual animation steps aside ready-made solutions and tries new ways that go beyond limits and rules.
The key points to keep in a note when applying animation to your website or mobile application –
a. Duration and speed Animation
Animation too fast could be difficult to recognize and too slow could make it boring for the users. Thus, absolute animation requires following accurate speed and duration.
It is one of the essential principles of animation, the object in animation with easing will either move in acceleration or deceleration. Objects with easing look more natural compared to the linear ones.
- Ease-in or acceleration – This part of animation reflects the object with slow movement and gradually increase the speed. For example, a car being the object here first starts and moves slowly and then accelerates its speed.
- Ease-out or deceleration – It is opposite to ease-in, herein the object’s accelerated speed slows down and then finally stops. The object here covers a long distance quickly likewise – a man on the sledge slides quickly on the snowy curve.
c. Linear Motion
To make an object appear moving uninterruptedly at a constant speed, designers use linear motion. In linear motion, you can change the colour or transparency of the object easily.
d. Equal interaction
Equal interaction is a type of choreography used for the fluid directions from one state to another. In this case, the flow guides the user’s attention in one direction, mainly from top to bottom to avoid distraction. If not followed might distract and scatter users attention.
e. Subordinate interaction
Subordinate interaction is another type of choreography meant to create attention of the users on one central object, and all other elements work as subordinate. This type of animation is used when the designer needs to justify the sense of order and draws attention to the main content or object.
6. Fluid, Asymmetrical and Geometrical shapes
A style that moves away from a realistic depiction. Instead of geometric shapes or lines, fluids are liquid inspired transitions between shapes. The outcome of this trend has turned the eyes wide of the audience with liquid motion animation.
Fluid Interfaces are responsive, interruptible, and redirectable. While asymmetric designs turned out to wallop the world of art, the asymmetry probably results most effectively in the digital world.
We can expect to see some striking upgrades in the visual resolutions and colour combinations in the fluid as well as geometric shapes this year.
According to the WWDC presentation talks about fluid interfaces as “an extension of your mind” and “an extension of the natural world”.
Inspired from the 80’s and 90’ designs, the ultra-flat designs have shifted to the geometric and abstract pattern. These patterns have bright vibrant colour filled with primeval designs, images to give a contemporary look.
7. Bold Fonts instead of Images
Sans-serifs proves to be in trend and fashionable as always with creative layouts and their placements that involve imagery and bolder variations in alignments and kerning. Certainly, fonts are one of the most subconscious methods of inducing personality into a UI.
Typography has been an essential, even today in the digital era, and the font is meant for clarity to cater to user requirements. Moreover, a font delivers expression, personality, tonality, emphasis, and engagement.
Big brands like Apple are choosing typography over images to make a statement. As they say, the bigger and bolder, the better. A font can be a powerful yet subtle differentiator for building UI. Designers are now adopting extra-large font sizes for artistic effects.
8. 3D Illustrations with shadows
Designers understand the human tendency to pay attention to the object that is focused so they reimagined shadows in a peculiar way and created fun in shadows. They created varied levels of textures by placing shadows in a pattern would bring out the life in the interface element.
In mobile applications, designers used shadows to blur those objects that are unimportant to draw user’s direct attention towards the valuable content or critical controls. To create more realistic 3D illusions, you can unite shadows with grids and parallax layouts with more refined depths on 2D display.
Still, there is a big boom in 3D illustrations with big brands using them for furnishing their products to the audience like sneakers, sports gear, and many more.
With progression in UI, we can continue to see how designers use shadow variations to get a 3D interface outlook.
9. Grid and Overlapping Elements for a memorable experience
Overlaps are meant to create more sense of space and more structured interface. Creating an asymmetrical balance can make things creative and interesting while sticking to grid keeping things in order. This type of UI can be a little complex, if the proportion of the objects muddle up, it might turn into a mess.
A bedrock of modern graphic design, the grid makes the balance in the design through breaking page in equal proportional sections.
Improvements have been made in technology giving designers more grid capabilities. Designers use parallax – a technique where foreground images remain static with the slow-moving background images. To highlight a simple product, generally, sites use overlapping images to call out a piece of UI.
10. Micro – Interactions for better UX
Micro interaction are meant to perform a task as their icon likewise to follow someone on social media a button naming “follow request” is a micro-interaction when clicked send the request, swipe, animated buttons and many more.
They should be one of the key concerns to take care in UI designing. The most interesting thing about micro-interaction is designers can come up experimenting some new design solutions to entice the users.
The basic message of delivering great design is to make them look pleasing, usable, and useful. Micro – interactive is a problem solver in a fast and easy way that can take the animations to different level enhancing user experience.
11. Augmented and Virtual Reality
A new technology, AR is guiding designers to think beyond their imagination. The fixed screen in UI designs have found ways to interact with the real-world environment through Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality.
Google and Apple have already introduced their own AR development platforms, ARCore, and ARKit which are a true example of the combination of the physical and the virtual world.
Designers use VR/AR in UI to translate more realistic interface. This is a quick way to onboard user to interact with the physical world which is still in progress.
With its great gaming effects on user, VR continue to rise in the healthcare sector to cure phobias or in the educational sector in order to enhance interaction.
We are in a period where the maximum population are just introduced to this technology unaware of its full potential and are hoping for more assistance from these technologies.
UI is all set to embrace and experience the advances in the trends with bigger, bolder fonts and custom illustrations. With lots of experiments done with grids and overlapping elements, animation continues to maintain its importance with micro-interactives. Sites and apps have switched from building traditional grid system to borderless UI display for an infinite edgeless screen. With the fundamentals of graphic designing, the tools will still advance which the designers should learn to adapt and adjust their skill sets as new tech emerges and design styles shift.
Featured image source: Freepik