We’ve written a number of times about the clear importance of UI design. However, as with all creative work, trends are inevitable.
With that in mind, today we’re going to take a look at what we believe will be some of the most common UI trends in 2018. Keep an eye out, we’re sure you’ll spot some in use over the next 12 months!
One of the biggest mistakes inexperienced designers make is making a design too complicated. You’ll see it in everything from websites to leaflets.
Inevitably, apps often suffer from the same problem. Especially in the early days.
However, the more designers learn about the value of creating an app that’s easy to understand and use, the more minimalism will become a common part of the design process.
You only have to look at some of the world’s most popular apps – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – to see just how important simplicity is.
Despite having a lot of features, anyone checking out these apps is confronted with nothing more or less than a simple, minimalist design.
Expect the “less is more” rule to appear a lot more in future.
Overlapping visuals and effects
This design feature has been growing in use over the past few years, and we think it’ll properly hit the mainstream this year.
Text, images and graphics will become more ‘integrated’ with each other, overlapping to create the feeling of a “whole” page rather than a number of elements gathered together on a background.
What is the benefit of this approach? Simply, it makes the overall interface of the app look cooler but without sacrificing the all-important usability.
Expect a lot of overlapping graphics and effects over the next year or so.
One of the ways different features will be able to overlap without ruining the aesthetic is an increased use of opacity, which we’re also expecting to become a more common feature in 2018.
The use of opacity can be seriously invaluable in cutting down clutter. By increasing opacity in certain buttons or graphics when they’re not being directly used, the design looks less busy. And, of course, the reader doesn’t have to sacrifice different features.
The other cool thing, of course, about opacity is that it can allow for some seriously stylish graphic effects as part of the design.
While this won’t be relevant for every kind of app, designers that want to create a more visual flourish should consider the merits of opacity in their design.
Increased use of color gradients
This is another trend that’s become more common in the past couple of years, with good reason.
It’s no secret that the right use of color is an essential part of achieving an effective design.
And, of course, this must be balanced with simplification – you don’t want to overdo things and use too many different palates, even if they do work well together.
Effectively using color gradients is the answer to this: by using different gradients of the same color, you can effectively demonstrate design hierarchy by using the strongest versions on the most important features, without losing the cohesion of the overall design.
Color gradients, in other words, will remain a valuable tool for designers in 2018 and beyond.
Darker, brooding colors
There’s no point denying that design (and creativity in general) has taken on a moodier theme recently.
Why? A lot of it has to do with the surge in TV shows like Stranger Things and movie remakes like IT. Essentially – whether you like it or not! – there’s been a recurrence of what we’d call 80s/90s design.
As such, you can expect to see darker colors become more common over the next year or so, along with an increased use of moodier photo filters.
We’re not actually surprised to see this trend appear: design is like any creative art, in that trends come and go. Apple and Google have spent the last ten years or so relying on white and bright color schemes…expect a big change to this over the next year or so!
This is one of the most interesting developments to occur in design over the past few years.
Put simply, responsive design – that is, the ability of websites to automatically adjust to screen size – has made it essential for companies to create different versions of their logos to suit smaller displays.
And if you’re thinking this will only apply to smaller companies, you’d be very wrong. Indeed, there’s a splendid designer called Joe Harrison who carried out an experimental design project to design ‘responsive’ logos for some serious big companies like Google and Skype.
The more displays vary in size – and if smart watches become common, they will – the more likely it’ll be that responsive logos become a key duty for app designers.
Don’t worry, that’s not as pretentious a term as it seems!
Put simply, these are simply small, simple graphics designed to help make the user experience easily.
So, for example, when a user presses one of the feature buttons, that feature will then load by expanding from the button to fill the whole screen.
What’s the idea behind this kind of animation? Simple: to make it obvious what the user’s done each time they act within the app.
Unfortunately, even the best designed app can suffer from confusion: if you’re a first-time user, you simply aren’t always going to be sure how everything works.
As such, being given some guidance can be valuable, and these kinds of tiny animations – which have been dubbed ‘micro interactions’ can be a very useful part of the AI process.
Expect to see them become more common over the past 12 months.
Bolder typography and more serifs
Serif fonts are an acquired taste to many designers and are always going in and out of fashion.
In 2018, though, we’re expecting them to become more vogue again as designers try to attract immediate attention in an ever-more competitive app market.
The combination of serif with the traditionally more popular san-serifs can help to add more variety to typography that has – in our opinion – become quite generic over the past few years.
Because so many digital designers are happy to take an ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it approach’, the space has ended up being very cluttered, with lots of identikit apps.
(The many re-skinning services available haven’t helped.)
With that in mind, we’re also expecting to see more bespoke fonts entering the app store. This is no bad thing, as while a bespoke font might take time to work out, it can be an outstanding way to immediately set your app apart from the competition.