When it comes to UX, you need to be aware of the newest trends every year. Why? Because competitors are catching up all the time and as a result, each trend gets oversaturated. This is why it is important to be one step ahead and always utilize the latest UX trends.
It is not about being fancy, but rather about showing something new and unusual for the user. As a result, your viewers will be more likely to convert. Coming up with a new approach to design is not easy and there can be a lot of trial and error in the process.
Instead, keep up with the latest trends and you are going to end up with ideas that will make your brand stand out. Below, we are going to show you how to design an online website or software that not only looks awesome but is also straightforward to use.
We are going to present to you all the key UX design trends that are viable in 2021 for everyone who is looking to increase their conversion rate.
Table of Contents
The Age of Personalization
Personalization is an absolute game-changer right now in the world of design. If done right, your website or platform will be able to predict what your user wants based on the data it collected. The content your viewers see along with the recommendations will be tailored specifically to them.
For this, you will use the information that your users provide such as gender, age, interests and hobbies, previous purchases, and so on. They will look at your site differently once they realize that the content they see is generated based on their interests.
As users become more satisfied, your conversion rate is going to raise as well. This UX trend is utilized a lot by both Apple and Google. They have gone so far that they ended up developing personalized assistants that adapt to the user.
These assistants have a deeper understanding of who is talking to them by analyzing their face, voice, and fingerprint as well. The reason why people love Spotify so much is that the platform recommends the latest soundtracks based on the user’s taste.
The same applies to YouTube or Netflix, where you can find the type of videos and movies you love just by looking at the recommendations. The search history of each of their users goes through an AI, which then generates the UX they are so satisfied with.
Voice Communication Instead of Touching
It was expected that VUI (voice user interfaces) are only going to rise in popularity. In 2021, this UX trend is among the most promising ones to follow and implement. After all, talking takes even less effort than typing on a touchpad.
A voice interface will allow you to engage a wider audience than before. All you need is a voice chatbot that is capable of recognizing and responding to a wide range of voice commands. You can consider this as an upgraded version of chatbots or any other type of virtual assistant.
Pretty much everyone has heard of the most popular voice user interfaces, as they can be found around most of us. There is Siri, Alexa by Amazon, Google Assistant, and Cortana on Windows, just to mention a few.
You are going to see a lot of companies implementing their own voice user interfaces in the near future. Another similar UX trend that eliminates the need of using a touchpad is Air gesture control. As the device follows the user’s movement, it can identify patterns that activate different functionalities.
We can already see this in luxury cars such as the ones manufactured by DS Automobiles. You can sit in the car and control it without touching anything, simply with gestures. Controlling a car this way is even more accurate than gesture-based gaming on consoles like X-box.
3D UX Design Never Fails to Impress
If done right, modern 3D UX can still bring you an abundance of users who will be eager to use your digital product. Although this trend is not new by any means, there is still a lot of room for improvement and interesting ideas to discover.
Designing 3D icons, buttons, boxes and whole interfaces still pays off if it adds to the overall user experience. For example, take a look at the new macOS dock by Apple called BigSur. The whole range of icons looks slightly different now and each of them has a 3D feel to it.
In the past, what held back the use of 3D icons is that they were not practical. A website with lots of 3D elements took a lot of time to load up and it wasn’t worth it to make the viewer wait. Today, in the time of front-end libraries and frameworks that can reduce this load, you can be more creative.
With them, 3D elements don’t affect the loading time that much, no matter how detailed they are. The reason why it is viable in 2021 is that the only limit is the creativity of the designer. As the demand for VR and AR is rising, so is the demand for awesome 3D abstractions.
The Power of Using Animations
This is another trend that never gets old and needs to be used more in the world of digital products. With animations, you can add a little twist to your digital product and make it more entertaining to use. In general, interacting with a well-designed web page can be much more engaging than doing so with a static one.
Of course, it should not be cluttered, only adding a few animated elements to an otherwise minimalistic layout. Hitting the balance between engaging animations and minimalism in a digital product is a goal that many businesses want to achieve in 2021.
As mentioned before, loading times can now be minimized even if you want to use a wide range of animations on your website. The point is to find a better way to tell the story of your brand or product. By using motion effects, you can instantly attract the attention of your viewers.
The same effect is very hard, if not impossible to achieve with plain text or static imagery. Moreover, it can help users straightforwardly understand more complex ideas. It can be as simple as adding a mouseover, scrolling, or cursor effect.
There are some great examples out there such as Mainworks, Cédric Pereira, or Bullmonk. Their mouseover effects make the whole browsing experience engaging and more enjoyable.
What we recommend is to focus on something that we call Micro-interactions. It doesn’t have to be something big, as you can add effects to small elements that contribute to a smoother UX. Most users find tiny animated elements more engaging, especially if they have useful functionality.
The list of the most useful Micro-interactions that you should use in 2021:
- Color-coding different sections and states of your digital product with a smooth transition
- Adding an animation while your application is loading up
- Animated slider with 3D hover-over objects (mostly used for homepages)
- A cursor that transforms when hovered over certain elements
- Reactive animated buttons
The list goes on and on, as you can play around with the typography, elements, transitions, and background as much as you want.
Sacrificing Perfection for Uniqueness
The idea of creating the perfect design has spread in the past few years and it became a trend that most websites follow. It was all about precise positioning and a well-thought-out structure where every element had its place.
Visitors got used to seeing the same design patterns and over and over again and they got used to it. It turns out that perfection comes with a great cost, which is uniqueness. In 2021, the attention of designers is going to be redirected towards creating unique, unorthodox designs.
Now your website can look incomplete, given that you find a way to show that incompleteness in a professional way. Using exciting layouts, effects, typography and other design elements with the combination of minimalism is the new UX trend.
Creative Layouts Know No Boundaries
For the sake of simplicity, businesses usually kickstart their websites with conventional design. They use the same grids that have worked countless times before, choosing the safe route. Using such design patterns indeed gives a straightforward UX to the website.
However, they all look similar and it is always refreshing and exciting to see an unorthodox design. Creating a unique website might be challenging, yet it can potentially make your business stand out in the competition. If you want to gain an edge in the search engines, then don’t hold back.
With a unique design, you can welcome your viewers with a site that has personality and character. Following this UX trend is what going to help many businesses grow in 2021. For example, take a look at Waka or Il-Ho, websites that are a delight to look at because of their unconventional layout.
A New Approach to Scrolling
Another way to impress website visitors is to show them that scrolling doesn’t always have to work the same way. It can work in interesting and creative ways that enhance their browsing experience. In 2021, one of the key trends in UX design is the implementation of new ideas when it comes to navigating a website.
Scrolling doesn’t have to be vertical, as it can be horizontal or both at the same time. Introducing color fades, drag-to-explore animations and exciting visuals that get triggered by scrolling can spice up the whole experience. Take a look at how sites like BeerCamp and The Goonies take scrolling to the next level.
Make it Look High-Tech
This trend has already been prominent a while ago in TV advertisements. Eye-catching and fast animations that showcase the newest laptop, phone, or any other high-tech gadget from all angles. High-quality imagery, fast and smooth transitions, stunning effects with upbeat music.
In 2021, the same approach will become increasingly relevant in UX design – except the music, of course. Abstractly showcasing products and setting up a dynamic layout for it is not easy but certainly worth the effort.
We can already see this pay off for businesses that are based on tech and production. It is definitely worth a try for body care and a wide range of other products. Getting a hold of the attention of your visitors and make sure they don’t get bored.
This UX trend relies on using hyper-realistic animations and volumetric illustrations with the potential to amaze the audience. It gives them the impression that you have a one-of-a-kind product to offer. A great example is the MacBook Pro 16 landing page that is stylish and has plenty of high-definition animations.
Exploiting the Potential of Scalable Vector Graphics
Just like 3D animations and icons, 2D is also increasing in popularity but with an important twist. UX designers that follow this trend are doing their best to offer something unusual to their audience. There are tons of different drawing styles, color schemes, and angles that one can discover.
Depending on your target audience, you can enrich your website with grotesque, surreal, pixel art, or cartoonish imagery. Mixing real-life photos with unreal SVG (scalable vector graphics) elements are also a great idea. The reason why SVG is so good is that you can create illustrations that look awesome no matter how much you change their resolution.
Unfortunately, this is not the case with JPEGs, GIFs, and PNGs. Since resolution does not matter for an SVG illustration, you don’t even need to create separate files for different screen sizes. Once the illustration is finished, it is going to look awesome on smartphones and PC monitors as well.
Make sure to take a look at websites such as Seize Your Power and Waaark to see how SVGs can provide an amazing UX to a website. With a mix of powerful effects, a minimalist layout, and elegant typography, the result can be breathtaking.
Of course, this UX trend requires you to pick a style and stick to it. What precedes this is careful planning because you don’t want your audience to be put off with your illustrations. Choose a style that suits your brand and make sure to test it with real users before it finally becomes public.
Super Buttons and Single Step Checkouts
The less step it takes to get to the result, the more satisfying it is for people to use the application. This is why optimizing towards fewer steps are going to be a huge UX trend in 2021. The point is to get rid of fields that need to be filled out and get the information in another way if possible.
We can already see this on many websites where you can sign up by hitting a single button. They offer users the possibility to sign up through their Facebook, Gmail, Twitter, Instagram, or other accounts. This single step simply transfers the information provided on those accounts so that they can proceed immediately.
Single-step checkouts also work the same way. In the future, there won’t be a point in time when people will actually need to remember their passwords. It will be all tied to their up and running social media and other applications on their smartphones or other devices.
When people want to shop online, they will only need to provide their phone number or biometric data as their personal identifier. In fact, asking for a user’s password is going to be an increasingly bad first impression in the future.
In the UX design of digital products, every user interaction should be simplified as much as possible. Apple even introduced a so-called super button that allows people to sign up without even using one of their social media accounts. Once users push the button, their form gets filled out with random data and their registration is complete.
The thing with UX design is that it always requires critical thinking and awareness of the current, most relevant trends. Discovering ideas that have just emerged or re-emerged should be among the first steps in the whole design process.
This sometimes means that you need to reach back to old, almost forgotten styles and ideas that became trending again. There is a wide range of different design approaches that re-emerge every few years or so in a cyclical manner.
In the end, it is always about coming up with a design that is out of the ordinary compared to what most businesses do. It is about cleverly using visual language to impress and engage your audience.