Mobile design have received a great deal of attention over the past few years, but I believe we are shifting beyond mobile. Modern design and the future trends will lean more towards context as everything now revolves around context and deeper connections with users.
It feels like we’re getting somewhere with all the tools, advancements in technology, and growth in our understanding of how user-facing products really have to work.
Soon design will encompass everything we produce, and not just sell. We need better design, the world is developing extremely fast and design has to lead at the front. Until recently design always came after the fact, playing catchup with technology. We are far from where we need to be in the future, but let’s get into what we will see in interface and experience design in 2019.
Browsers are not only the carrier that delivers internet to the world, but is also a means to deliver impact. Browsers are getting faster, more powerful, and attractive and allows the creative world to build more powerful experiences to a vast audience.
Web and mobile browser capabilities are bridging the gap between conceptual design and reality.
My issue with browsers is that despite all the advancement of late, browsers still promote their own unique value without impacting the entire industry on a higher level, hereby slowing development down.
There is so much going on in the world of web, it’s increasingly harder for browser developers to come up with universal solutions to clean up the internet and standardise for the sake of innovation.
Browsers might be awesome but if they access poor websites, they become contaminated with bad UX. We have to force better design choices to unfold the current potential of web browsers.
Most websites make browsers look like shitty software.
Animation with purpose
Among the mess and the madness, new browser capabilities opened the door for animation. Not just as the motion of elements, but a legit design opportunity. The discipline known as motion design involves a lot of design aspects but intersects with psychology and biology.
I imagine that this motion design will be explored in much deeper levels in 2019 and create digital experience that we have never experienced before. Motion and transitions convey much more information that is otherwise lost without it.
We see this field of knowledge being explored even deeper in 2019. Motion and transitions convey a lot of information that otherwise would be lost.
User engagement at its deepest level means staying with them every second in their interaction and making every single second count. Motion design reaches beyond mere presentation and filling gaps, it is becoming an embedded part of branding. Logos are still the sacred symbol of brands, but with such stronger focus on the entire personality of a brand, motion steers the brand in the right direction.
If you haven’t thought what your logo consists of, how it feels, tastes, smells, and sounds, it’s about time to do that.
Motion speaks better than lighting, positioning, and materials. Motion tells your story. Make your logo part of your story by throwing the full weight of imagination behind it.
3D in interfaces and deep flat
3D rendering and computer graphical augmentation of real footage and imagery have been around for some time. For the sake of speed and performance, lack of budget and also accessibility, designers have a history of avoiding complex 3D models in UIs. Better browsers turned this luxury into an affordable feature. Highly Complex VFX or Visual Effects take movie-like scenes into the realm of websites, taking users into unexpected new worlds.
3D graphics in interfaces blend the edge of reality and digital animation.
The growth of this trend will prove itself very useful for product companies with complex processes that lack visual. By utilising 3D visualisation you can tap into any technological process and create that deeper level of understanding.
3D works well in movies and video games because of the short time they are displayed on screen. 3D and animation combined becomes a very powerful tool in design.
The new powerful chips in mobile devices makes it possible to not only render 3D objects, but use them very creatively in interfaces and smaller screens are fantastic for this purpose.
Flat UI has dominated design for many years now and hasn’t changed much. There has been a shift towards adding more depth and dimension to flat design without changing the concept. Depth is necessary for the same reason that flat design exists – we need symbolism to make sense of everything.
Deep flat is the new flat.
The combination of real 3D and CGI creates life-like interactive experience. Flat design is also capable of doing that in a unique and yet-to-be-explored way. The stacking up of flat layers creates that three dimensional feel. The primary assets that adds dimension to flat design will be shadow, light positioning and reflection. We have made full use of these assets when we designed the brand assets of YDOX.
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The complexity of creating 3D experiences with flat design can easily influence designers to over design and kill the effect all together. Getting this right is an art which many designers are yet to master.
We can do impressive imagery. It’s time to fill it with sense for humanity and address deeper issues. How can we make this happen?
All the 3D and motion design opportunities brought by better technologies don’t mean a thing if they fail to make an emotional impact. Ironically, you don’t need complexity to make the most impact.
The rebirth of the gradient – Gradient 2.0
New screen technologies have a fantastic rendition of colours. Especially retina displays. Designers are exploring the boundaries of accessibility and impressive gradients in UIs and we are seeing some fantastic results.
Gradients are no longer for attention, they now bring depth and dimension to the interface.
Since the beginning of my career as a creative director I have despised gradients in design, my design team will confess and confirm the same. Now that gradient design was reborn with an entire new purpose, I find it extremely intriguing, and find the the realm of its possibilities to be endless.
What makes gradient 2.0 work so well? It is subtle, simple and very much sophisticated. It makes use of colours that blend really well, with no conflicting of colours. It has a clear light source and aligns with the shapes to bring depth.
Colour choice plays a vital role in gradient 2.0 to deliver the brand message to perfection.
What ads to the excitement is the fact that vibrant colours and meaningful gradients stand out better in the dark background. Dark themes are here to stay and they will only get better. Those who can find the balance between the accessibility of dark UI and emotive response of glaring colours, will be on the podium next year.
A problem that you should be aware of is that the use of such bright colours throughout the design makes it harder to emphasise important elements which traditional use of bright colours was meant to do. This responsibility has now shifted towards typeface.
Traditionally, typefaces are perceived as static entities with a limited set of adjustable parameters. Designers and writers have to consider legibility in the context of x-height, stroke and letter width.
Whenever the design requires multiple typefaces, designers have to provide all the files for the font styles used. You can’t fully commit to rich typography in a product unless you cover all the bases. With variable fonts you just need one file because variable or generative fonts provide infinite number of letter weight and width adjustments.
Variable fonts can cover any portion of the design space left for the text.
Variable fonts thrive in responsive design and localisation. Where designers had to rack their brains about fitting text into smaller screens without losing the zest or stretching it for a different language which utilises less characters.
When web fonts were introduced, responsiveness was an aspect they were lacking. Not enough flexibility resulted in legibility issues and misalignment of the design itself. Variable fonts are fairly recent and they help deliver fonts for the web faster and help streamline the design process in general.
And that’s just the beginning. The artistic options of variable fonts are yet to be explored in 2019.
how long till a smart and adjustable font becomes a means of promoting a sell? If you can have your text replying to the subtleties of every digital context available, how does it protect a reader from manipulation?
Parametric text has roots in book printing which is a context limited by objective physics. This prevented people from saving on paper and ink and also made reading one of the most important reasons for our progress.
UX Writing & UX Editing
Last year, designers started paying attention to the meaning of the words that bear typefaces. Fiction and tech writers, and journalists got an adjacent industry for their skills. One thing led to the other and we defined the role of writing in design:
You have to be in control of the way your business talks to your customers.
Before, even though businesses were great, they suffered from the lack of definitive, simple, and persuasive wording to use with their audience. Not enough strategy and thought have gone into how the business sounds and what it says.
UX writing is based on two simple principles: be respectful and be useful.
Everything else stems from them. Being concise means respecting people enough to value their time more than yours. It’s you who has to die over the text, not the user. Being clear means avoiding being twofold, protecting from bad experiences, thus, being useful. Being expressive means being truthful and hiding no flaws. Always focus on helping a user first, don’t show off your eloquence, don’t SEO your wording, and never use marketing cliches — enough is enough.
UX writing is easy once you embrace being respectful and useful.
People don’t want to see you flex and promote yourself. They want to know if you can help them. Make your service do the talking.
Before we wrap our forecast for 2019, have you noticed the colour use in the designs illustrated throughout this article? The blends of soft and bright blues and purples, they are the palettes that will thrive in 2019.
Finally, the greatest trend we are starting to notice is a gradual shift towards sincerity. There’s only so much trickery you can resort to. Nothing beats good intent and design has good intent in its core.