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2020: The State of UX/UI Design

We’re less than a couple of months away from entering the third decade of the 21st Century, and 2020 brings with it a brand new wave of trends and great practices in UX and UI design. From transitioning to whole new “design realms” such as voice-enabled UI, or AR/VR design, to trends in UI Design such as animations, custom imagery and so many more.

Cristian Virciu
Nov 5, 2019 · 6 min read

2019 has been a great year for UX/UI Design. We’ve seen how drawers, rounded corners and changes in navigation tabs/bars have started to take on a less traditional approach, and that’s great. It means the world is changing and the design adapts, or, in many cases, dictates these changes.

Below is a list of upcoming trends and practices in UX/UI design for both mobile and web apps, researched from all across the wonder called the internet.

Voice User Interface a.k.a. VUI

In 2019 and the recent past, we’ve seen quite a rise in the use of voice-enabled actions performed by users. AI assistants such as Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant have become quite popular. A few statistics published by 99firms mentioned the fact that 20% of all searches are voice-enabled, according to Google and on top of that, 31% of smartphone users worldwide use voice tech at least once a week. That’s big, people! In the same article on 99firms, it’s predicted that “50% of all online searches will be voice-based by 2020”. Awesome, right?

As designers, we have to adapt to market needs. And as we’ve seen a gradual rise of UX for VUI in 2019, expect to see even more techniques, practices and great designs in 2020 as we slowly get away from Graphic User Interfaces (GUIs) and transition to VUI, which eventually could open doors to technical advancements in the AI industry and more adopters of this great big new world.

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Illustration by Ouch.pics

AR/VR Design

Now, this is something that’s been on people’s lips & tweets for quite some time. With big names investing in AR and VR such as Apple with the launch of the popular ARKit or Memojis, Oculus, Google and many more. We see AR/VR used more and more, from maps to interactive experiences and so on.

2020 is set to be a great year for AR/VR design. According to an article published on Apple Insider, the company is planning on launching a pair of AR glasses soon. So, that right there is a big sign that AR/VR are to be even more used in the coming decade. So you better get your AR/VR design buckle on, kids, cuz there’s awesome and interesting stuff in 2020 and the following years, and you gotta rock it!

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Illustration by Ouch.pics

Emotion Perception in Design

This is one of those areas of UX Design that reminds me of how much I friggin’ love doing this for a living. We are humans, we are emotional beings, sometimes more than we would actually like to be, therefore we, as designers, have to take this into consideration (like, seriously!). So what does this mean? It’s been around us since forever, and great designs already have this incorporated. But what is it, you ask?

UX Designers face the challenge to design great digital products and experiences that take into account human emotions. And even though there’s no such thing as perfect, the closest thing to that we can achieve is making sure that we analyze the user behavior and certain emotions they have in particular moments while using your product and make sure those emotions are reflected in the design.

Take a look at Spotify. They do a great job when it comes to analyzing human emotions and tailor the design just for that. Apart from the fact that the home page is specifically tailored for you, they go even further by making recommendations based on specific days and times of the day. And that’s not all, you guys & gals! They make a playlist just for you EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. And because I have a special affair with music, that playlist is my best-bud. And trust me, so far it hasn’t disappointed.

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Illustration by Ouch.pics

A Good Design Tells a Story

If someone ever asks me what makes a good design, this is amongst my top answers. Why? Just because as I mentioned earlier, we humans are emotional beings. We crave meaning in everything we do. That’s why a great design will tell a story and doesn’t just look pretty.

A great example is Netflix. Their onboarding process is great. And as Rafayel Mkrtchyan wrote in a great article for UX Planet, “Netflix user onboarding goes as sexy as possible. The colors, fonts, images, everything speaks for itself”. They make sure their users know exactly what they’re about to sign up for, they tell you from the very beginning what’s included and keep guiding you throughout each step of creating an account. And if you go even further to their home page, there you have another great design-storytelling and emotional design with “Continue watching” or “New Releases for You”, they go as far as to make great recommendations at the end of a great movie or an episode. As Steve Krug once said, right on the cover of his awesome book “Don’t make me think” (which I recommend, btw), “me” being the end-user.

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Illustration by Ouch.pics

The new age of navigational elements

As I mentioned earlier, in 2019 we’ve seen a less traditional approach to navigation elements. And that’s mainly due to the fact that our devices’ displays are changing. Ever since the release of the iPhone X, designers had to find a way of adapting to these new environments. Why? Well, we don’t have the popular home screen button on these new devices anymore due to the urge to get to a bezel-less display.

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Bakery and Beverages Mobile App Exploration by yannywd

This is a very tricky situation for every designer. Since the users are already familiar with a certain navigation style, it can be scary to try something new and even disruptive to the point where you confuse your users. There is a rise in vertical navigation bars and new ways of delivering a seamless navigation experience for your users. So thread your web carefully, peeps!

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Illustration by Ouch.pics

And that, my friends, is my take on what 2020 may bring in terms of design. It’s definitely exciting, to say the least, and I look forward to solving everyday problems through great design. If you want to read more about great design, what’s new in mobile & web app development, the exciting stuff in marketing, or what the wolves are doing head off to our blog or WolfTech, our publication here on Medium. Stay awesome and don’t stop being curious, because as the famous A. Einstein once said:

“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing”.

Wolfpack Digital

Stories, insights and ideas to help you build powerful web…

Cristian Virciu

Written by

UI/UX Designer @ Wolfpack Digital. “Design is thinking made visual” by Saul Bass

Wolfpack Digital

Stories, insights and ideas to help you build powerful web and mobile apps.

Cristian Virciu

Written by

UI/UX Designer @ Wolfpack Digital. “Design is thinking made visual” by Saul Bass

Wolfpack Digital

Stories, insights and ideas to help you build powerful web and mobile apps.

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