Magdalena Brzuska, UX Team Leader:
When it comes to User Experience design, I’m not sure if we can talk about “trends” by definition. We design products that should fit users’ needs, not (ok, not only) the ones creating the demand. So maybe a better way to put it is “expectations” – what users will definitely expect from digital products in 2020 when it comes to usability and experience. Here we go:
(no) human interactions
Last year was all about chatbots, voicebots and all other ways of conversing with the client without real human input (mainly for “human resources and cost optimization”, but that is another story). Well, a bot will never call sick or be in a bad mood. Also, he (or she ;)) will always do his best to help you. That makes a pretty good customer service that slowly becomes the standard in more and more industries.
What was also noticeable, AI came to our houses and it looks like we welcomed it with arms wide open. Conversations about how scary it is may seem to be dulled by the whispers of delight about how convenient it actually is.
Merge both mentioned above, and here comes the future (that already came, but we definitely will see more of it). We observe that our clients are no longer satisfied with bots that learned some of the answers. That makes perfect sense. People do not want to speak or chat with customer service that can not solve THEIR specific case. And getting the wrong answer, or being told to wait for a real person – that is a no go.
There are only so many processes and scenarios that we can teach bots. But the efficiency calls for more almost every day. Moreover, bots are now also used not only for helping customers but also for creating engagement with the brand. In 2020 we expect to have more efficient and “real” interactions with… whoever will be a know-it-all available under our thumb.
WCAG is here for some time. There was a period when it froze the blood of designers, developers and clients – all forced to obey these mystified guidelines. We reached the point when it is quite common. When it is required to fill all checkboxes – we do so. For other cases – whatever we design we keep in mind that not everyone in this world is thrilled when given a fully animated, totally flashy, gesture-controlled app.
Yes, creating personas helps us to understand the targeted audience so we can adjust our product to them. And yes, if the chosen group requires some dedicated solutions, we make those a priority. BUT how often (and let’s be honest there) do we consider how diversified our target group can be in a matter of disabilities? Mary that has some problems with sight is in every way as good of a client for shopping app as is Hanna with her eagle eye and appreciation for smooth color gradients. It should not be an edge case.
Every source says that in 2020 the world will be even more concerned about social matters and inclusivity than it is now. And that is a good trend! So we, as designers should also feel a duty of making digital space more inclusive. We need to be more empathetic, maybe learn some more about sociology and behaviorism (been there, done that – totally recommend) and definitely stop running all the tests on our “perfect customers”. Be diversified, be bold.
no more vacuum
You can call yourself a minimalist that does not need fancy smartphones and other smart gadgets. You can call yourself an old-fashioned person that is not really into this whole “smart” stuff. But I guess you get frustrated when your car doesn’t want to connect with your phone. And this super little convenience makes us all realize how much we appreciate IT.
“It” is a mysterious thing. Outside the industry, I guess not many people understand how it actually works. But “it” enables your watch to notify you about upcoming check-in that was marked in your calendar the moment you got the confirmation email. The fact that every device of yours knows exactly what you need at the moment and you can freely manage all your data between them – be honest, you appreciate it and you like it.
So we, as designers, can no longer think about our products as stand-alone ones. Of course, the app should work well as it is, without any external “help”. And it will. The case is that there is no way that in 2020 the user will be fully satisfied with the app that creates onefold value and does not “speak” to other apps.
You can say “C’mon! It is already a standard!” but emphasizing a phenomenon is also a trend. Omnichannel experiences also made their way into customers’ hearts. So not only do we need to create applications that are well connected to others frequently used ones, but also are cohesive with the whole brand (including also all offline processes). You still can say that this is not a groundbreaking thing and it is a good practice for some time to link products and create consistent experiences, but we believe that in the nearest future those two aspects can prevail “to be or not to be” of every available service.
Kasia Ochocka, Senior Product Designer:
Product design is constantly thinking about business and an end-user while creating something visually pleasing and UI trends for the upcoming year are a great example of it. Here are some of them we thought are worth mentioning.
simply better animations
Well, it turns out that everything we’ve already said about animations is true – animations have become an integral part of UI design a few years ago and everything indicates that 2020 will not be different. This applies to both web design and smartphone design. In the first case, designers can afford a little more freedom – in fact, everything can be animated, of course, with the addition of common sense.
We already know that the animation says more than hundreds of words, but the huge role of the developer in the process of implementing this is worth mentioning. The speed of its charging, overall quality and smoothness, as well as the lowest possible load on the device – these are the goals that all teams working on creating products in 2020 will strive for.
As you already know (while scrolling through beloved awwwards.com for instance) – UI designers allow themselves more and more courage in the design process. Broken grid, asymmetrical layouts, typography overlapping other page elements, split-screen – today’s wide desktop screens and full-screen smartphones allow you to implement these solutions without worrying about their illegibility.
Speaking of scrolling – using an empty space won’t be a problem either. A lot of comforting room and seemingly unused space on the page or in the application will allow you to maintain balance in places where the number of graphic elements will be much larger. And good balance and freedom is all we need these days, right?
mobile & gestures
Two years ago we’ve been electrified about the news that Cake raised $5 million for its swipeable browser. Now that it’s out we can tell it was worth it. Progressive web apps or PWAs are gaining momentum and it looks like there is no way a native mobile app can withstand this flurry. For us designers, it means that we have to focus more on designing something crafted for an end device that the user will use it on. Sounds easy but trust me – it’s not.
Since we’re stuck to our phones we need apps and webpages that will be even more intuitive to use and at the same time interesting and offering new value. The biggest mobile market giant like Apple is getting rid of the buttons for transitions and gestures we’ve gotten used to over the years. Farewell, “home” button, it was nice knowing you.
illustrations that are… different?
Oh, this one is quite important for us and we’re already rubbing our hands. It seems like in 2020 designers all over the world would have to come together to find another way of enhancing the design by illustrations in a new, more unique way. Everything was already created? We hope not.
Isometric is passé, don’t even mention monstera or any other plants… Gradients have been a steadfast feature of the illustration scene for the last year or so, and they’re not disappearing any time soon (well, maybe let’s make them a little more low-key). Thanks to virtual reality (and data visualization) renders are a big thing, too. Users want them so real you can almost touch it.
So to sum up – do whatever you want to enhance your UI design, but please do not put an isometric vibrant plant on the top section of your page. Or do – since 2020 is all about doing what you want.
don’t be a copycat
I know it sounds cheesy, but hear me out. We all love getting inspired while looking at Dribbble or Behance projects but at the end of the day, you don’t want to create something that looks like a combination of two most liked posts you saw earlier. It is very easy to fall into the vacuum of trends bombing us from all sides.
Creating your own design style that is your business card or simply designing products by following your own opinion and intuition is the shortest way to success. Even if it means passing several defeats along the way.
Now you know what our experts on UX & UI think about design trends for 2020. If you are planning to expand your business next year, let us know. We will use all our knowledge and experience to make your product modern, functional and eye-catching.