A DESIGNER’S PERSPECTIVE ON UI UX TRENDS IN 2022
What is a trend? It’s a change for something new or different. There are major trends that shape the industry for a year or longer. They have predominantly become the must-haves and no product in the related niche can do without them. Such trends are here to stay.
Also, there are hot trends — they come and go, yet have a strong transformational power. Let’s get back to the 90s for a moment. Raise your hand if you were a fan of Kevin McCallister and his adventures while home alone. Do you remember a gadget that let him record and playback anything, Talkboy? Everyone wanted it, so did I… And you too, I bet. That’s an example of a hot trend.
In the article, I’ll focus on both types of trends — but in terms of design. Let’s start with UI UX trends that are now shaking up digital product design.
LATEST UI UX TRENDS
Predictable design works, but it is boring. 2022 is about to change this pattern and place boldness at the heart of design.
Designers are moving beyond the ‘typical’ and jump into experimenting with color palettes, textures, and art. They are embracing eclectic UI UX trends and center their designs around two extremes.
Below, I’ll group the trends by category — layout, color, form, and style. The best thing about them is that you can combine them all and create a harmonious mix of seemingly incompatible elements.
Trivial grid layouts with blocks of static text have been put on the back burner. Now, non-standard immersive layouts coupled with ‘scrollytelling’ are setting the direction for interactive user experience.
Once a user lands on the website and starts scrolling, they activate the dynamic narrative, which takes them on an adventure. With each move, the user uncovers the new element of the interface that contributes to the story told. They become the immediate participants and get absorbed by the events on the screen. This is uncommon and therefore, keeps users focused as they want to get to the bottom of the story.
I believe any designer is familiar with the psychology of color. We apply it to trigger the intended user response — be it an emotion or behavior. With carefully selected color palettes, designers can manipulate human perceptions and shift them to the product’s advantage.
Pastels are associated with calmness and purity. The impact of pale colors is best felt when they are used collectively.
Minimalist interfaces in muted colors are clean, have a lot of negative space, and communicate a friendly atmosphere. However, if the idea is to create a monochromatic design, make sure to use different hues of a single color paired with the right typography. You can also add a complementary pastel color that is not too contrasting.
More so, pastels do a good job when used as a ‘canvas’ for the elements that you want to stand out. They fall back and help the user focus on the highlighted image.
Neons are attention-grabbing. They enhance interface elements where needed and scream the message out loud. They remind us of night parties, fun, and carelessness.
It is recommended to use neons for accents only to avoid a color clash. They are too bold and demanding by nature. So, if overused in the interface, the viewer may feel overwhelmed and as a result, find it annoying.
Neons are often used in Memphis design that brings the user back to the 1980s. It is popular for its vibrant colors and contrasting shapes.
The designer can go in one direction — either pastel or neon — or combine them. Even a single neon hue will add an electrifying touch to pastel elements.
Ranging from astonishingly realistic to highly symbolic, a multitude of design approaches are making the waves today. It’s very empowering because of the creative freedom that comes together with these new UI UX trends. Every designer can find something that resonates with them and craft genuine digital artwork.
Here, the designer can unlock their inner Pablo Picasso and add a distinct style to the product’s design. Abstraction is not tied to real-world imagery and therefore, is perceived by people in their own way. The designer can play with non-standard shapes, lines, and colors, combining them in the boldest ways.
Often, abstract illustrations convey little meaning, but we can’t stop looking at them. We examine every small detail, trying to grasp the concept.
Abstraction goes well with a flat design, whereas the color palette can be bold.
It’s all about details and realism. Hyperreal elements are more emotional than abstractions, which can be both good and bad. To create an impactful hyperreal illustration, a designer takes a fresh look at the object and pays close attention to its textures, imperfections, patterns. They then mimic the real object and can even exaggerate some details.
Combined with 3D effects, hyperreal images can enhance the immersive user experience and create the illusion of a new reality.
Once mixed, abstraction and hyperrealism can make for highly futuristic designs.
Over its history, design has gone through many transformations, trying on different styles — the post-modern 80s with pixelated elements, contrast-rich aesthetic of the 90s, skeuomorphism, flat design.
Trends are cyclical. And you can still use these styles in modern designs.
Flat designs use simple shapes, minimal textures, and two-dimensional objects. They are centered around functionality. All decorative elements are seen as clutter that makes information difficult to scan.
But if you are a fan of minimalistic flat designs, it won’t hurt to make them slightly more dynamic with shadows and gradients. Experimenting with rich tones or highlights will breathe a new life into logos, icons, illustrations, and even type.
Expect to see the rise of 3D in everything — from typography to icons to illustrations. This is a sure-fire way of getting user attention. Bold designers can try combining hyperreal elements with 3D effects and motion for a stronger impact. This is something that your visitors will clearly remember.
Or, you can dive into neumorphism. Its central focus is on making interface elements look like if they were real. There’s no exaggerated realism in such designs. They just resemble physical objects and materials they are made from. This adds a sharp modern touch to the product’s UI.
It’s now more common to intertwine the styles. All-flat designs look insipid, while all-3D ones are too bulky. The key to success here is a perfect balance between the two UI UX trends.
“Don’t try to follow trends. Create them.”
Earlier, designers were only groping for the right path and used UX UI design trends in a cautious manner. If they had an idea to use abstractionism, there was no room for other forms and shapes. Now, it’s finally time when designers don’t have to play by the rules. Feel free to mix anything you like.
In trying to wow users, all methods work. Treat the design process as a puzzle game. Take different trends from all the above categories and put them together as pieces of the puzzle. If they go well together, that’s it — you’ve found your formula of success. If not, try other combinations. As simple as that.
As you now know, there’s only one major trend in 2022, and it’s experimenting.
UI UX DESIGN ESSENTIALS
90% of users will leave the site or app if it has a bad design. It relates to both how the product looks and how it feels when used. The product’s visual design includes a color palette, typography, images, logo, and branded elements. Along with that, the structure and logic dictate how we perceive the product and whether we enjoy using it or not.
The golden rule of a UI UX design says: “If you do not notice the design of a product, then it’s good.” This happens because it looks native, familiar, and naturally blends with all components and functionality.
Doing a quick Google search for UX UI design trends, you may stumble upon articles covering the ones I’ll describe below. But as I see it, they’ve already become the design’s best practices.
Earlier, the design was created for desktops first and then, transferred to smaller screens. As a result, it looked compressed and didn’t feel natural for mobile users. Why so?
When compared to desktops, mobiles are more limited, and the design should account for this. To create a smooth user experience, the designer needs to start working on the smallest screens first. To fit in the interface elements, they choose only what is really important to the user. That way, the designer creates a sort of foundation to build upon. They then expand the design and add more elements to fill the bigger screens.
Implementing a dark mode is not about switching the background from light to dark. Dark UI design comes with its own rules, best practices, and challenges.
The focal point of dark UI design is keeping the contrast between visual elements and background balanced. Only a handful of colors are compatible with the dark background, meaning they are not detrimental to the interface readability. For a dark theme to look aesthetically pleasing, the designer should opt for desaturated primary colors with a couple of bright accents.
Also, dark themes look heavy. Therefore, the design should be truly minimalistic and have no visual distractions. Ideally, only a couple of content elements should be highlighted. That way, the dark surface will complement them and make the interface easily scannable.
Motion graphics is emotional. It’s the easiest way to attract the attention of users and guide them where you want them to go. This contributes to learnability and intuitiveness, the core characteristics of UX design.
In fact, animations serve several purposes in the digital product’s design:
- Creating natural human-like interactions
- Giving the visual cue of what’s happening on the screen — e.g. transitions, status changes, notifications, etc.
- Pointing to the important content elements
- Providing feedback or response to the user action
- Delighting users
Don’t use animations only because they are listed among UI design trends. The key here is to make sure that animations are meaningful. They should help users achieve their goals and not distract them instead.
Although microinteractions are just tiny animated elements of the interface, they do have a huge impact on user engagement. Their main goal is to communicate feedback like hints, progress statuses, or results of specific actions. That said, microinteractions provide users with context and tell them about the functions they’re dealing with. As a result, navigation becomes more intuitive, whereas the level of user satisfaction from interacting with your product grows.
Recently, I’ve stumbled upon an article by Toptal, where they outline a few tips on how to design microinteractions, and I can’t agree more. So make sure to:
- Create an enticing habit loop, using the cue-routine-reward model.
- Keep animation functional.
- Use one microinteraction per action.
It’s worth noting that microinteractions play a supplementary role in the UI/UX design, meaning they should feel natural and unobtrusive. Always keep that in mind.
Most products are not equally friendly to all users. Obviously, people with disabilities may find it difficult to interact with certain interface elements or content types, and thus, get excluded from using the product. Inclusive design aims to satisfy the needs of both majorities and minorities that make up the target audience.
It doesn’t mean that the product’s design should be based on the one-size-fits-all principle. Instead, a designer should consider different user scenarios and implement them in the interface. For instance, along with typical graphical interface interactions, the designer can make provisions for voice-controlled commands. This will accommodate the needs of visually impaired people or simply those who are on the go.
We are living in a diverse world. Understanding this and implementing the idea of diversity in design makes a digital product attractive to a wider audience.
TO SUM UP
Users are demanding. It’s no longer an easy feat to grab their attention and most importantly, keep it. That’s why using UI UX design services is a must today. If you want your digital product design to align with the expectations of the modern customer, drop us a line!