The modern web and User Interface world is rapidly moving forward and it is not easy to keep up to date in this phase of ever-changing trends. We don’t see a dull moment in the design community as each year brings a new wave of ideas. In this article, I will share some of our choices for the latest and greatest user interface design trends that will continue to dominate in the year 2018.
There is an old saying that “a picture paints a thousand words” still remain valid and true today, and in the world of UI design is still a great way to get the user’s attention quickly. Vision is the strongest human senses and a large single image can summarize message in an more efficient way. Imagery has now given way to video. Now we are seeing video used more and more in digital design. Traditional photography is static while video is dynamic. Video can easily catch the eye of users and is a good means of visual storytelling. Although imagery is not going to disappear soon but the year 2018 will see more rich, interactive and full-screen video as a means for story-telling. Video is a powerful medium to engage users and quickly set the tone.
Longform Content and Scrolling
Scrolling is not a new thing and not a trend as it is a fundamental function for browsing both the web and applications. However, we are increasingly seeing more of the implementation of long-scroll and longform content and scrollable interfaces on bigger screens. This helps the users to very quickly scan large volume of content in a single, fluid motion without being removed from the experience by interruption or navigation. Long-scroll content works well across all kinds of devices and mediums of content i.e. from longform articles and news stories to landing pages and interactive experiences. The long-scroll is a great thing to implement when you want to tell a narrative in a linear way to guide the user.
Gradients and Vivid Colors
In 2013 there was a trend of flat design which spread very fast through the design community, muting colors and removing all superfluous elements. Although it had some flaws but flat design was practical and it still holds value today. Flat design simplifies User Interface so much that the functional elements have to achieve a more refined and efficient user-experience. But flat design quickly caused the web to become a very similar landscape. It led to the content that was all too similar and without personality. In 2016, the flat design started to loose its popularity as more brands and designers began to once more focus on personality, experimenting with vivid color palettes and gradients in place of the simple tones used previously. Vivid colors and gradients are great for injecting energy, warmth and dynamism into a project and to make it stand out from the crowd. You can experiment with your color palettes but make sure that they always work with the tone of your content.
Illustrations offer a sense of personality that is hard to achieve with traditional photography. Illustrations which work in line with a brand’s identity actually allow them to create a visual language which captures its personality and is also very useful for establishing a sense of trust in customers and users. Illustrations are versatile medium too. Some brands choose sleek and line based illustrations to achieve sharp look whereas others can opt for more rough-and-ready hand-rendered styles to position them as fun and playful. Actually Illustrations open up avenues for creative direction. Illustrations can be customized to create authenticity and personality. It also creates components which go a long way in creating a meaningful connection with the users.
Breaking the Grid
The grid has been quite popular among designers as it provides a foundation for design and ensures consistency, order and balance. It is an important tool in the user experience design as it provides a level of familiarity for users and allows them to navigate through a site or app in a way which feels natural to them. However it can also be rigid and restrictive, limiting creative options for designers. Designers are moving away from the grid and rigid baseline structures and creating sites and applications that are altogether more experimental. It opens up new kind of creative possibilities which also allows designers to create real work through use of layering, depth, motion and focal points. Breaking the grid provides more creative options and its flexibility can create a sense of fluidity and freedom.
Cards are here to stay
Cards is not a new trend but in 2018 we can see cards gaining more importance in the design scene. Cards presents large amount of visually appealing and organized information in a small space and enables users to access information in a glance and take their decision whether they want to view it or not, quickly. Many popular social networking platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc are utilizing cards for this reason. Now more people access internet and websites through mobile devices then through desktops. Hence the difference between mobile and desktop user interface is getting disappearing fast. Therefore cards are becoming more and more popular as they work well on all kind and sizes of devices i.e. from smaller-screen hand held devices to desktops. Hence cards as a UI options are going to dominate the design community in 2018.
Sound design is also an important entry in the list of design trends. Sound design is a soft and small sound that we hear on the click or a comment or while selecting a smiley. Whether it is a grumpy smile on a bad day or a grin smile to express your laughter and cheerfulness, sound design makes this entire experience more delightful and better. This trend is new but in the coming year we expect the more usage of this feature to give users an amazing experience.
Parallax is the effect where the background moves at a slower rate than the foreground. It gives a sense of depth and dynamism as users scroll. Although it is not a new mechanic but something which is being implemented more and more and now more companies are experimenting with its functionality. Parallax should be used carefully as it can quickly become overbearing for the users. But when Parallax is implemented carefully, it provides a great sense of dynamism to help make the content of the page amazing and keep users more busy. You can use it along with imagery, text and a less rigid layout to create layered and fluid content.
Many trends come, some trends may go and some stay and become fundamentals. I have discussed some of the major trends of UI design, now it is up to your own judgment to decide what is right for you and what is not. It is actually something which will vary with the client and the project. As change happens at very high speed in this industry hence it is important to keep up to speed with what’s happening to stay updated. User Interface choices are also related with User Experience and with new technologies, UX will always keep on evolving and hence UI will evolve too. This field requires a constant learning and innovation. I hope with this article you must have come to know the latest tends in digital design.