Four designers make a wishlist for 2017

It’s that time of year again — the time when agencies around the world are either thumbing through dusty tomes of yesteryear, or digging up their crystal balls from the back of office closets. Our feeds fill with all manner of compilations fuelled by the strange mix of nostalgia and hope that marks this most revered shift in our calendar. This year, we take a different approach. Instead of reminiscing or predicting, we created a wishlist — with things that we hope will happen in the industry the coming year. And maybe you can help us make it happen?

Our wishlist for 2017:

  1. Passwords become history
  2. A new shadow trend
  3. The screenless revolution takes off
  4. Less lock-in and more sharing from tech giants
  5. More casual design meetups
  6. AI becomes more accessible for designers
  7. Metadata becomes the new black
  8. Companies focus on digital solutions for their employees
  9. We have more fun

1. I wish passwords become history

This year most of us were faced with the uncomfortable truth that our online security habits are terrible. Several high-level data breaches came to the light, and a quick search of haveibeenpwned reveals that someone probably knows your password to something. Which is fine, unless you (like basically everyone) use pretty much the same password for everything. You know, the one you haven’t changed for years. Why are we so terrible at passwords? Because holding dozens of unique, secure passwords in your head all the time is a pain in the a**. Unless you’re Rainman, passwords are awful for the user experience.

Sure there’s been attempts at improvement, with the rise of social logins, SMS-based authentication, and password helpers. But we‘ve yet to see the password-killer to rule them all. So here’s to hoping that 2017 brings us new, better alternatives that finally frees us from the shackles of passwords.

2. I wish for a new shadow trend

Image credit to this tutorial by Marius Balaj, Konstantine Trundayev and Taras Shypka

Nothing will get a UI designer’s heart racing quite like a shadow trend. We’ve seen so much these last few years, from the death of the long shadow to the rise of the diffused shadow. As with all fickle fashions, the clock is poised to ring twelve in diffused shadow’s cinderella story.

But what comes next? Will inner shadows come back with a vengeance, against all odds? Will we be drooling over bevel and emboss? We’re excited to see what designers will be cooking up in 2017.

3. I wish the screenless revolution takes off

The future is here, we’ve been promised. Alexa and Google Home have weaseled their way into our lives, and are changing the classic desktop/screen metaphor. And we want more of it! Viva la revolución!

However, If you’ve ever had to troubleshoot why Alexa “can’t do that right now”, you know there’s quite a way to go between today and a screen-less future. When the revolution comes, we also hope Golden Krishna walks around with a giant “I told you so” grin every 👏 damn 👏 day.

4. I wish for less lock-in and more sharing from tech giants

It has been said that part of Apple’s success was its ability to build an ecosystem around its products. The user could get more value out of a product if they owned another Apple product.

Ecosystems have their advantages, but theres a downside to everyone developing their own proprietary, locked-in solutions. There’s no space to innovate and riff off of each other — no space for working together to improve things. The introduction USB-C on the Macbook Pro seems to be a step in the right direction, and we’re hoping to see more “opening up” happening in 2017.

This wish draws its inspiration from Scott Jenson’s “we need more communism”, which we heartily recommend.

5. I wish for more casual design meetups

Spending time with other designers can be really rewarding, but good company-independent design events feel far and few between. (Especially in our dear hometown Stockholm.) We haven’t found any regular meetups where you can just hang out and listen to someone talk about what they’ve done in a non-competitive, non-salesy, no-recruiters, no-pressure, no-fancy-speaker-imported-fresh-from-San-Fransisco kind of way.

Sometimes you just want a space to grab a drink and share war-stories with like-minded people, you know? We’ve seen spaces like this for developers, and we want it too! Hopefully 2017 will bring us those opportunities.

P.S. do you hold this kind of meetup in Stockholm? Let us know!

6. I wish AI becomes more accessible for designers

This year, it felt like AI becoming a part of our design toolbelt was closer than ever. But how many of us actually know what’s possible to do with AI right now? What should we spend energy on exploring? At the moment, the vast majority of designers don’t have a tool or process that helps make the limitations and openings clear. Our dalliances with AI are limited to stargazing or using pre-packaged solutions.

For the real revolution to begin, we need AI to become tangible, something we can work, play and sketch with. So we’re hoping that some kind soul at the forefront (Google, Amazon and Facebook, we’re looking at you) takes the time to create that opening into the world of AI . Can we get a natural point for designers and system architects to meet and understand each other?

7. I wish Metadata becomes the new black

The web has always been a series of interconnected pages, but whereas before each page could be explored like an island — the web is now a desert, where we jet between grains of sand using search engines and links from social media, messages and emails.

When was the last time you used a site’s navigation? Have you ever googled something that you’ll open in Wikipedia…while you were on Wikipedia? Have you ever googled a Medium article…while on Medium? Metadata is the awesome thing that helps you find what you need even when you’re blatantly ignoring the on-site possibilities to get there. In 2017, we hope more people explore the potential and possibilities of metadata, and it’s impact on the user experience in this increasingly fragmented world of web.

8. I wish companies will focus on digital products for employees

We see a lot of companies focus all their digital effort on their clients, bending over backwards to come up with a new idea for an app or website service — even when the clients are actually quite happy with what’s already there. Meanwhile, employees are left at the mercy of tyrannical IT departments, often more concerned with maintenance and security than user experience.

Solving everyday office or workplace problems through technology has the potential to be like a new industrial revolution, increasing productivity for employers and work satisfaction for employees. Companies: please start caring about this.

P.S. We’re actually doing some exciting work related to this that we can’t wait to share with you in 2017.

9. I wish we have more fun

2016 has been a heavy year where a lot has happened in the , making it even more important to not take yourself too seriously and have some fun.


However, it feels like there’s just less ridiculous stuff coming out of our industry than before. Maybe it’s just a sign of maturity, or because when ustwo is developing award winning games on the side, it can feel difficult to justify why you’d rather build a fist pumping encourager or eel slapping simulator. But that explosive joy of creation for the sake of creation, not for profit or purpose, was what made us excited about the web in the first place, and we want it back. Bring us more fun, 2017!


What was your favourite part of this list? Let us know!

The four designers who compiled this list are 
Nils Sköld, Ola Laurin, Marcus Johansson & Linnéa Strid

This article is adapted from episode 30 of our podcast RE:DESIGN. If you’d rather have it in it’s original (Swedish) podcast format, you can listen to it on Itunes or in your browser


I work as a UX Designer at Apegroup where I help companies create beautiful digital things. We are a design and technology studio in Stockholm. Want to know more about how we work with design? Read more at our website.

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