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The UX and UI trends dominating this year

(ENTREPRENEUR) The field of user experience (UX) has taken the tech world by storm in recent years. How can it be implemented for your small business?

UX design being created by a designer on a laptop.

For entrepreneurs, new developments can spell either hope or disaster – it seems daunting to keep up, but also a chance to grow beyond current limitations.

Though the user experience (UX) industry may seem outlandish, we can be thankful that the big wigs have poured their investments into this space. With years of research and development under way, small business owners, freelancers, and entrepreneurs can benefit from their findings in order to improve their own (a win-win!)

First off, if user experience is brand-spankin’ new to you, we have a basics-focused, handy-dandy, easy-peasy visual reference guide for the differences between UX and UI. It also defines the difference between the two, but if restating in layman’s terms, UX is the way users feel about the product, including their perceptions of its ease-of-use or experience, whereas UI is how the users interact and manipulate the design of the product to get to their end goal.

Just as with any other field or industry, it continues to develop over time and follow trending patterns that work for both companies and users simultaneously. Here are the top 16 UX and UI trends that you can implement for this year and beyond.

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“Design in the coming year is about taking care of users, their uniqueness, and avoiding the ‘perfect picture.’ Therefore, real-life photos, live artistic illustrations, and asymmetry are gaining more popularity.”

UI Trends

  1. Vintage, 90s

Vintage and 90s inspiration are not only living on the screen, but it’s also transpiring in many areas right now – print materials, music genres, interior design, and even clothing. This style includes pastels and bright colors, graphic bold elements, and an overall unique and modern approach to web design versus the other trends.

Example of Vintage trend by Plus

  1. 3D and 3D Animations

3D is currently a popular design theme in e-commerce, fashion, architecture, business culture, education, and more. 3D modeling and design allows users to see the full scope, such as through a digital model in order to see specific details.

Example of Originals Museum Renault 3D trend

  1. Artistic Illustrations

In order to ‘hook’ and keep users on the site, designers are making use of less-than-perfect illustrations that mirror more natural images with playful textures, varying lines, and an overall more hand-drawn look. This also includes the inclusivity of varying nationalities with different skin colors and body types, allowing the site to appear more approachable and friendly.

  1. Brutalism

If you are a fan of architecture, this one should come as no surprise. This web design trend mirrors the famous style of the 1950s which appears challenging, in-your-face, and a rule breaker, though it creates a chaotic composition that somehow works wonderfully.

Example of Brutalism Trend by the MSG Brand

  1. Asymmetry

An oldie, but a goodie. Symmetry has been around in all forms on arts for centuries, but asymmetry pushes the boundaries of standard grids or structures to invite from a scale of barely noticeable to striking differences in layouts that catches the users’ attention.

  1. Real Photos

Using photography of real people creates an inviting rawness. Stock images can still be used, but better yet, arrange a photoshoot with your team and use the photos on the site so that your users feel more connected with your mission, instead of feelings like outsiders.

  1. Scrollytelling

Scrolling has become a habit of everyday life, as much as brushing teeth or combing hair, and let’s be honest – some of us don’t do the latter as much as the former. With such an ingrained pattern, it’s no surprise that telling a story by scrolling down the page has become a trend. This is great for step-by-step ideas that need to be explained, but don’t take too long to get to the point!

Example of Scrollytelling Trend by Blue Marine Foundation

  1. Minimalism

Marie Kondo has taken off, and thanks to a society where the younger generations are being pulled toward environmental causes, classical elements, thrifting, and tidy spaces, minimalism in UI is going nowhere anytime soon. This style does not have to be plain, black and white, or boring, but instead can become bright and bountiful, with boundaries.

Example of Minimalism Trend by Neuro

UX Trends

  1. Inclusiveness

The designer must think of ALL users’ needs. This means the product should be tested by all different types of people. Keep in mind users’ abilities or disabilities, limitations surrounding the product, community/culture background, and providing an equal experience to all. This is most commonly seen through customizable websites that offer plentiful options when it comes to accessibility.

  1. VR, AR

Virtual and augmented reality are still the craze, but it doesn’t mean you have to wear huge goggles to step into the experience. IKEA uses this method to give users’ the opportunity to virtually style their furniture selections. Sephora lets you try different lipstick colors. Warby Parker lets you try glasses and frames on before making an online purchase. Last but not least, Metaverse is planning to bring this 3D experience to everyday life.

Example of VR UX Trend by Metaverse

  1. Super App

Super apps are just that – super. They are everything you need in one place. You can order goods with delivery, have messages, create a social network, pay electronically, and more all in one app. These are most popular in Asia with WeChat and AliPay, and their main purpose is to save time and effort by providing clean, convenient UX design.

  1. Audio Only App

Self-explanatory – audio only apps only feature audio, no other visuals. These are typically used as audio rooms where people can audibly connect, such as Spotify, Twitter Spaces, Telegram, and Clubhouse.

Example of Audio App UX Trend by Greenroom

  1. Design Systems and Libraries

Team members can reference and discuss design components with the team through the design library. Designers working on a joint product can better understand the structure and integrity of the brand, along with the purpose of the site or application.

  1. Customization

Users are able to customize their own experience, not only through changing the theme or colors, but the scale, wallpapers, and languages that are also often available. The more personally that a product functions, the better.

Example of UX Design Trend by Instagram, Telegram

  1. Page Speed Prioritization

In the age of instant gratification, design is not the only need. By prioritizing page speed, one can cut down on load time, bounce rate, cart abandonment, and more. Optimizing pages through text can also be a key to climbing the algorithm ranks. High position = more clicks.

Page speed UX trend

  1. Mobile-First Design

This type of design keeps a focus on mobile experience as opposed to desktop, laptop, or tablet. The underlying principle to keep in mind is that most visitors will be on a phone. By designing for the majority of visitors, one can improve SEO by catering to the consistent traffic. With this design, it’s best to keep it simple by only including the necessary elements. One can also utilize mobile push notifications and chatbots while ensuring that calls to action are clear cut.

Number of smartphones sold to end users worldwide from 2007 to 2021 representing mobile design UX trend

Now you are acquainted with many design trends 2022, but do not forget about the main thing – whoever the design is for, it should be clear and user-friendly.

Emily Drewry is the Web Producer at The American Genius. She holds two Business degrees in Digital Marketing & Advertising as well as Sales Management. She resides in the sunny Orlando, FL and embodies the heart of hospitality. When not working on web projects, she's probably at a theme park or thrifting her next trendy piece, iced coffee in hand.

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