User experience (UX) is the hallmark of your brand. In order to engage and retain consumers in an ever-competitive landscape, you need to ensure that they are able to identify with your organization and believe in your products and mission. And that means telling a compelling story through words, interactivity, and visual appeal.
The experience users are seeking changes constantly, as do the trends that are in vogue at a given point. Wondering what your consumers will be looking for in 2021? Start with these UX ideas.
What Is UX?
UX design focuses on stimulating interactions between users and companies. It begins with thorough research into what customers are looking for and includes development, creating content, prototyping, wireframing, and user testing, all toward the goal of building a relationship between the consumer and the brand.
It goes hand-in-hand with the user interface (UI), which focuses on the visual appeal of your product. Sometimes, UX and UI roles are separate, while other times they fall under the purview of the same team or position. Often, the duties and responsibilities will overlap.
UX Trends to Embrace in 2021
1. Dynamic Research on Consumer Personas and Personas
Research is always a pivotal part of UX design, and it’s never been more relevant than now. 2020 was an exceptionally chaotic year, with everyone’s lives upended, perhaps permanently. This also means that people’s habits, needs, and wants have changed. In order to craft an improved experience for your audience, you’ll need to evaluate prospective and current users.
This requires understanding their pain points and how you can help resolve them with your product. Naturally, given the ever-changing demands of people in general, research has to be highly dynamic, which means that you’ll have to constantly be on the lookout for new demands and trends.
Less is more. Gone are the days of popups, extensive advertising, and clutter in general. After so much chaos in our lives in the past year, we want our screens to be fairly sparse, with only the essentials displayed.
In other words, keep it simple. Instead of color everywhere, think of a minimal palette that will pop, particularly one that presents a contrast. You might even go with a clean black and white! Keep your navigation simple, too. You don’t want to overwhelm users with information and make their journey through your app or website confusing.
3. Dark Mode
Instagram, Whatsapp, and Twitter users will be familiar with this one. Dark mode is making waves, offering a bold experience that allows visual elements to pop on the screen. But it’s not only appealing from a design perspective — it also helps preserve a device’s battery, using less energy than the alternative.
Consider allowing users to choose different options, like Apple’s Sunset to Sunrise, which changes the appearance and dark vs. light mode depending on the time of day.
4. AI Invasion
AI is allowing us to have experience beyond our wildest imagination. And it’s playing an enormous role in the user experience, adding significant value to a wide range of products. AI can allow you to personalize suggestions — a la Netflix and Amazon — learn about user’s likes and dislikes, and ultimately improve your service based on what the particular individual demands.
It also powers voice assistance and commands, allowing you to locate information on search engines, dictate messages, make purchases, and much more. Chatbots, too, have become an integral part of the customer experience, helping resolve customer queries, answering questions, and providing information.
5. 3D Graphics
Although the trend has been around for decades, 3D graphics are readily making a comeback. Users crave realism in their visual interactions, and 3D elements make the experience all the more engaging. Bear in mind, of course, that you’ll need high-quality, fast-loading, high-resolution images in order to maximize the attractiveness and appeal of the layout and design.
6. VR and AR
Retailers are enabling shoppers to virtually “try on” their clothes, all from their laptops and mobile devices. Users can explore different worlds thanks to immersive technology. Need a quick translation? Hold up your phone over text, and apps like Google Translate will translate the phrase for you.
Virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) are redefining the user experience, and they’re technologies you’ll definitely want to incorporate into your UX design in 2021. Not only does this add a “futuristic” element to your product, but you can help users go about in the outside world by providing everything they need in your product.
7. An Emphasis on UX Copy
It’s not all about revolutionary technologies and amazing graphics. The written word continues to hold power — and it’s a meaningful way to capture your audience and share your story. In the future, it will play an increasingly important role in the user experience.
Here, too, minimalism is key. Keep your copy short and sweet — an engaging tagline here, a quick witticism there. Avoid long paragraphs that will clutter your interface. Your users will stop reading and may even leave the page if they’re bogged down in the copy. Pithy, elegant language is the way to go.
Think about your language in micro-interactions, too. Error messages, automatic replies, notifications, and even button text should be aligned with your overall branding and keep users engaged. Humor and simplicity are often the best courses of action here.
UX design is a critical component of your branding and overall business strategy. It can dictate your ability to attain and retain customers in an increasingly digitally reliant world and play an important role in your ROI.
So, as the world goes more and more remote in 2021, make sure your UX design and architecture carry maximum appeal for your current and target audience. Now you have a primer on how to get started.