These are some curated UX trends that should be dominating in 2019 which is just around the corner. Achieving good user experience will continue to dominate the industry and let’s show gratitude to all the experience designers around the world for proving experience matters in a product. Let’s dive into the topic.
1. Designing for Foldable display smartphones
2019 is just around the corner and we are going to witness smartphones with foldable display, as we have seen leaked prototypes from major OEMs which no longer seems like a fantasy and prototypes proved they are close to reality. According to Display Supply Chain Consultant (DSCC), a major display market research company carried out a research and estimated nearly 3.1 million units of foldable display smartphones to be shipped in 2019 and OEMs like Samsung, LG, Huawei, Oppo are already gearing up to introduce first in market trying to become pioneer in foldable display smartphone industry. Here is a prototype.
We should gear up to get adapted to hybrid design by designing for both the views in a foldable smartphone and this experience is not going to be like responsive design. Though the first models are not gonna leverage buyers to buy as there gonna be plenty of compromises just to bring the devices to the market but it is essential to learn it and move on.
2. Multiple Design experience for Geographic, Demographic and Psychographic segmentations
This might sound unreasonable for you but going through this might make sense. Let’s agree to the fact that the preferred app experience differs with different people, a design might not be widely appreciated by all age groups, people from different countries, people with different behaviours and this is where Geographic, Demographic and Psychographic segmentations play indispensable part.
Geographic segment is an segment of audience where they are situated, it can be of region or country. For instance Chinese audience, Indian audience and western countries audience and these audiences don’t always have similar likings or way of life as they have their own tradition & culture. For a more hint Arabic app interfaces are implemented right to left instead of left to right which is universally accepted. Similarly Chinese people preferred to have their app to be presented more colourful playing around emotions compared to American apps more functional and straight to the context. Here is a example how app markets are being designed for respective people.
Demographic segment is aimed at few characteristics of the audience like gender, age, marital status, education, income and so on and here age and education is fundamental characteristics to be looked upon for deeper insights. For instance, different aged people has their own desire using a product, for instance people who falls between 18–30 years can get used to modern experience as they could easily get adapted like gestures. On the other side aged between 40–55 years are gonna expect a simple experience with no so sumptuous colours hanging around and animation on touches. And at last who aged 60+ years are gonna like old school experience expecting large images, huge font sizes, basically pays attention to the size of user interfaces. In one word you are going to mess if you offer them complex features and experience. Here is my favourite product testing clip with three senior gentlemen.
The last segmentation here is the Psychographic which deals with mental models of people, opinions, interests, lifestyle and so on and apparently most arduous and onerous segmentation among all. In order to achieve this a deep analysis, research needs to be carried out by meeting different people and comprehending their problems and virtue. This is near impossible segment to achieve as each people’s mental model works dissimilar and offering custom experience is impossible but close to the solution is to offer them configurable options on certain parts of the app as they can customize as per their needs.
3. Tunnelling User Experience
Tunnelling is a stratagem in UX which is a planned user journey and the end goal is to make users to interact with the things we designed. Basically you are guiding users to interact with the elements on each screen that are being navigated to end goal of a product. For instance how a wizard works in software industry, the wizard here explicitly tells user to do certain things in step by step in order to achieve.
Let’s take Uber as example how they cracked in tunnelling.
4. Thumb Friendly Experience
The ongoing 2018 saw the rise of 18:9 ratio panels over 16:9 ratio in display of smartphones which gave OEMs to achieve screen to body ratio upto 87% which is batty. This means more display and less bezel which is in track to attain futuristic 100% screen to body ratio which is no more going to be a fantasy. The average display size of Android mid-range smartphones launched in 2018 ranges from 5.8" to 6.2" which is prolong but thanks to the less bezels. Twist in the tale is bezels are being trimmed and display sizes are being increased so the compact factor don’t exist in modern smartphone world giving little gymnastics to your palm and fingers where you are forced to use both the hands sometimes to reach certain parts of the app.
Here is a example how reachability works on two different phones with two different aspect ratio.
The ideal solution to offer is to surface fundamental controls of the app at the bottom that is already being adapted by major apps realizing how handy it is and thanks to Apple for kickstarting this approach in their apps several years back and now it is criterion.
I have seen few apps that offer search field just under finger reachability rather than placing on top of the app which again causes inconvenience. Even Google’s pixel launcher comes with Google search just under reachability, simultaneously I kind of think this is to promote their Google now as well. Let’s take instance on newest launcher this time from Poco launcher again has bottom search bar for swifter app search.
Let’s go away from launchers and talk about apps that use bottom search bars. First hits my mind is Lyft ride share app, most user actions in the app are performed at bottom half of the app which was well thought by comprehending user models. Second I would pick floating action button which was introduced alongside Material design for Android and Google products. The floater button was utilised for multi purpose not just to compose but to search, filter, sort, account and so on and it mostly presented as shortcut.
5. Evolving to contemporary Interface design (Just White)
You might be bit confounded by the title as what does this mean? We got acquainted by Window’s Metro design and Apple’s iOS 7 with Flat design moving away from realistic interface Skeuomorphism. Flat design swiftly became admired mostly after Apple’s iOS 7 as Apple known for perfecting the things and designers had to get adapted to flat design language as it was clean, minimal and causes less distractions as it was purely two dimensional. Looking at past standing on a mountain’s peak tells you how flat design evolved and became much more intelligent in bestowing on user experience as well. A variation of flat design called Material design which was inaugurated back in 2014 which again brought bit of Skeuomorphism by adding emotions to design by offering depth, shadows and physics too! But as time progressed it became more flatter dumping material design aspects in their design language resembling flat design found on iOS specifically.
Flat design turning Just White!
Just white is beautiful interface with user experience compromises! Flat design had minimal factor in design with contrasting colour to highlight crucial atoms of the screen like call to actions, filled iconography and so on to stand out against static elements. You would have observed how flat design evolved to more white minimal design meaning representing visuals of the screen mostly white offering pleasant experience along with clean visuals. Just white resembles newspaper approach which is proved to be good for reading. What I want to say is more apps in 2019 will go with just white approach by dumping choosing of solid colours and making way for this.
It’s no wonder gestures gonna gradually replace with current on-screen buttons to navigate found on Android phones making more room for apps. The on-screen navigation buttons mostly remains static in most of the time except in few departments like video, gallery view, gaming. So this is why Apple indeed introduced iPhone X with gestures instead of static multi-purpose home button on bezel which helped to navigate. Initially people had hard time getting used to gesture based controls as they are not visible as they are controlled programatically but people got used to it as they progressed to use the phone. Gestures can be operated in several ways by swiping up, down, sides, long swipe giving different options to each gesture which are being operated on top of display which detects touch.
Even Google’s recent phones Pixel 3 & Pixel 3 XL have gesture-based navigation inspired by Apple’s but it is not certain whether the intention was to copy Apple.
We also have hidden menus which can be operated by gestures and you would noticed especially in lists where you can see multiple actions for a item like delete but this feature was rarely used by users as they are hidden.