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January 3, 2017 /UX/UI Design /

The Future is Now: 10 Design Predictions for 2017

Change happens at lightning pace in the design industry and it’s important to keep up to speed with what’s happening to stay relevant. Even if you’re not one to follow trends, as a designer, it’s good to be aware of the shifts going on in the industry.

As 2017 kicks off, I rounded-up 10 of what I believe will be the most important design trends of the year.

1. Evolution of Minimalist Design

In 2017 we will continue to use minimal layouts, and complexion reduction is going to be a big hit. Minimalist design aims to address problems for the users through clear visual communication — by focusing more on bringing forth the user content rather than the UI.

Sky app strips away distractions and keeps focus on content

Sky app strips away distractions and keeps focus on content

A minimalist user interface combined with great usability is really impressive in action: an easily navigated, simple app can be a very powerful form of communication.

Clean lines, generous whitespace, and minimal graphical elements brings simplicity to even the most confounding subject matter. Credits: Jakub Antalík

Clean lines, generous whitespace, and minimal graphical elements brings simplicity to even the most confounding subject matter. Credits: Jakub Antalík

2. More Microinteractions

The internet has talked a lot about microinteractions in 2016, and they will continue to trend in 2017. Microinteractions, typically in the form of subtle animations, are playing a vital role in UX design especially on mobile devices where we engage in thousands of microinteractions every time we use our apps.

This microinteraction lets the user to know what happened. Credits: Colin Garven

This microinteraction lets the user to know what happened. Credits: Colin Garven

Microinteractions help create memorable experiences by communicating status and changes, drawing attention to certain areas, and providing feedback for completed actions.

Microinteractions can be a very convenient form of visual feedback for the user’s actions. Credits: Hernán Sartorio

Microinteractions can be a very convenient form of visual feedback for the user’s actions. Credits: Hernán Sartorio

3. Video Becomes King

Vision is said to be the strongest of all human senses. Imagery has long been a staple of user interface design, and its success has slowly paved the way for its natural successor – video. They say a picture paints a thousand words, but a video does that tenfold and there’s a good reason for that — while traditional imagery is static, video is dynamic.

Video is great at catching the eye of users and serves as a means of visual storytelling. It draws users in from the start, especially when it’s used as a homepage background.

Videos will bring a more dynamic experience to the users and 2017 will be full of rich, interactive and full-screen video as a means of engagement and storytelling. Credits: lifeofpimovie

Videos will bring a more dynamic experience to the users and 2017 will be full of rich, interactive and full-screen video as a means of engagement and storytelling. Credits: lifeofpimovie

4. Rich Colours and Dramatic Typography

Rich color tones are already brightening up user interfaces, but vibrant hues will make the interfaces brighter in 2017. Users are going to see a lot more vivid colors palettes, duotones, and bold gradients in UIs come next year.

Rich, vibrant and deep colours brings are visually stimulating. Credits: Fjord Trend

Rich, vibrant and deep colours brings are visually stimulating. Credits: Fjord Trend

Like the originality in colors, typography will be a popular tool for evoking emotions and building a personality for products. Typography isn’t just for reading—it’s for making a statement. Using typography you can create engaging, eye-catching composition.

Typography has an opportunity to display brand identity and enhances the text content. Сredits: Hawk & Hen

Typography has an opportunity to display brand identity and enhances the text content. Сredits: Hawk & Hen

5. Tailored Illustrations

For more personality than traditional photography, illustrations are quickly becoming a popular alternative. They create visual language that really captures the tone of voice and personality of a brand or product. Visual language also clarifies messaging by boiling down concepts into easily-understood visuals.

Original illustrations provide sense of character and personality Image credit: Medium

Original illustrations provide sense of character and personality Image credit: Medium

Illustrations also give designers more freedom for creative effects such as animations.

Animations make illustrations more fun. Credits: Intercom

Animations make illustrations more fun. Credits: Intercom

6. Long Scrolling and Parallax Technique For Websites

Long or infinite scrolling will become standard for websites. It’s important to mention that scrolling isn’t rebelling against the page by page format, it’s reinventing the navigation: this technique translates well to mobile devices (smaller screens mean more scrolling, and the format works well with touch controls), and it has more potential to engage users (it helps the user quickly scan large amounts of content in a single motion without interruption).

Long scroll websites such as Pinterest allow users to be taken on a journey

Long scroll websites such as Pinterest allow users to be taken on a journey

Also, we’ll seen more sites appear that make use of parallax scrolling.The parallax technique allows the foreground and background content to scroll at different speeds, creating an illusion of depth. Parallax, if implemented well, turns out to be a visual treat — it lifts elements off the screen and creates a dynamic 3D effect. It allows designers to effectively tell a story using mostly graphical elements, and as you know storytelling is a part of human nature.

Parallax scrolling involves the background image moving slower than the content in the foreground, creating an illusion of depth and immersion. Image credits: squarespace

Parallax scrolling involves the background image moving slower than the content in the foreground, creating an illusion of depth and immersion. Image credits: squarespace

7. Cards Will Still Be a Big Thing

Cards are based on the idea that all of the most relevant information about a single topic is organized into a single container.

Cards allow you organize a large amount of content into digestible pieces. Credits: Hanna Jung

Cards allow you organize a large amount of content into digestible pieces. Credits: Hanna Jung

Cards allow you to create a versatile UI that can be used on small to large screens. And for users, cards are intuitive and easy to understand without explanation.

Card layouts can easily reorganize themselves to fit different breakpoints

Card layouts can easily reorganize themselves to fit different breakpoints

8. The Rise of Conversational Interfaces

“Chatbot” is one of the hottest terms in our industry right now. We’ve seen chatbot technology integrated into consumer apps for quite some time now — they assist in taking the load off the user when performing general tasks, such as ordering a pizza.

Pizza Hut chatbot allows conversational ordering via Facebook Messenger

Pizza Hut chatbot allows conversational ordering via Facebook Messenger

In 2017 we’ll see adoption of chatbot technology and conversational interfaces in more and more industries. There is tremendous opportunity and interest in creating holistic conversational solutions and products such as Google Home and Siri will be  a natural next step for chat bots.

Products like Google Home makes us believe that the interactions of the future won’t be made of buttons. Image credit: theverge

Products like Google Home makes us believe that the interactions of the future won’t be made of buttons. Image credit: theverge

9. Augmented/Virtual Reality

Conversational interfaces won’t be the only exciting technology in 2017. Designers are also going to obsess over augmented and virtual reality, since these technologies can provide brands with a new level of immersive engagement. At the same time it’s a whole new challenge to design UI for a virtual world. As Jonathan Ravaz mentioned in his article: “Designing for VR should not mean transferring 2D practices to 3D, but finding a new paradigm.”  The emergence of augmented reality and virtual reality platforms will have a great impact on modern interaction and visual design. Gestures will be in focus — natural gestures with similar meanings from the real world will help translating actions in the virtual space.

Microsoft HoloLens embraces virtual reality and augmented reality to create a new reality—mixed reality. Image credit: 3dprintingindustry

Microsoft HoloLens embraces virtual reality and augmented reality to create a new reality—mixed reality. Image credit: 3dprintingindustry

2017 won’t be the “year” of virtual reality— yet. But it will be the year where it will be decided what should and should not be designed for VR.

10. Boom of Prototyping

In upcoming year the lines between UX and UI designer will continue to blur into a more integrated design process. It will be easier than ever to bring ideas to life, and prototyping will become part of every design flow. New prototyping tools will significantly improve the workflow for designers, enabling them to spend more time thinking about end users rather than starting from scratch every time.

Designers will focus on interaction instead of layout. Using new prototype tools it’ll be able to produce more than just screen flicking prototypes, but a prototype that runs and shows the stakeholder the vision of the app as it will be used in practice.

Adobe Experience Design allows designers to focus on interaction and not just layout

Adobe Experience Design allows designers to focus on interaction and not just layout

Conclusion

As with trends of any nature, some come and go, whereas others stay the course and become fundamentals. But one thing for sure – 2017 will be an interesting which will be as much about the technology, as much as the interface design.

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Join the discussion

  • By jarod - 10:57 AM on January 3, 2017  

    Agree with all except VR/AR. This is exactly where mobile was when it was 3/4 years off. Every year it was going to be “next year.” The difference with VR there is that it’s not a phone; the tech isn’t bundled with what was already a necessity. It’s not solving a problem (if we’re talking about consumer applications) it’s just enhancing an experience. This is that vitamin v. pain killer example Don Dodge talked about years ago. It’s a nice to have for sure.

    Lastly, there is just way too much hype for where the tech actually is in its current stage of evolution. I don’t think that we’ve even reached peak hype yet since everybody is still parroting “this year will be the year of VR.” I agree with Kevin Rose and Ashton Kutcher; it’s “massively overhyped” and generally fucking retarded (currently).

    VR is the future–in the future when the tech improves significantly from where it is right now. We’ve seen this exact same thing before. Better use of time for designers to learn Javascript than putz around for VR/AR hype.

  • By Phil Smith - 12:37 PM on January 3, 2017  

    I’m a huge fan of minimalist design at the moment but had a few clients say ‘is that all you’ve done’ when presented with this style! To me it’s modern, clean and professional. Everything I would want from a design piece, I guess everyone is different though.

    • By alex - 5:41 PM on January 3, 2017  

      Explain to those clients that it is really hard to keep things out. It is an art by itself.

  • By Fred - 3:52 PM on January 3, 2017  

    Who cares! Lost interest in Adobe when they went cloud! You lemmings who mindlessly send them money every month never cease to amaze me!

    • By Brett - 12:36 AM on January 4, 2017  

      Yet you still troll their blogs…

  • By Tosa Silviu - 12:52 AM on January 4, 2017  

    Minimalistic design will stay here for a longer time and I love it. Right now I am trying Adobe XD on Windows and looks clean and cool even if its still in Beta.

  • By Christian Carruthers - 3:28 AM on January 4, 2017  

    I like some of these ideas, I am a tutor in a design school and I like to know how to future proof my students. One think I would like to see is fully functioning programs on professional sized tablets. especially in the area of illustration. The Idea of having a separate device to draw on from your computer seems old now.

  • By rob - 6:32 AM on January 4, 2017  

    Looks like last years list.

  • By Matt - 5:15 PM on January 4, 2017  

    Hello Nick. This is really great article. Thank you for sharing. Will definitely use those in my next designs!

  • By Jam - 3:36 AM on January 5, 2017  

    Hi Nick, thx for your great article! What’s the best way for prototyping microinteractions?

  • By Jam - 3:37 AM on January 5, 2017  

    Hi Nick, thx for your article! What’s the best way for prototyping microinteractions?

  • By PW - 2:56 PM on January 5, 2017  

    “In 2017 we will continue to use minimal layouts, and complexion reduction is going to be a big hit. Minimalist design aims to address problems for the users through clear visual communication — by focusing more on bringing forth the user content rather than the UI.”

    I’m not a designer but a user and from my perspective and many other users I’ve talked to, this statement is the biggest baloney I keep hearing from the designer community.

    Over the last 5 or so years I’ve never seen a more boring internet and related designs. It seems that designers have all fallen into the same trap of what “they” call minimalism and are just staring up their own design bottoms. Although I like minimalism as an art form, its pretended application in webdesign and related segments have caused nothing but confusion for the majority of users, one example being the “hamburger” icon, and that’s not even the worst of it.

    My plea to designers would be in 2017 to finally pay more attention to the user instead of to your minimalism. It doesn’t have to be a 180 degree turn to skeumorphism, but at least give users a more interesting perspective than the drawn-out and “getting old” flat drivel. It’s boring as hell!

    Just my quick rant that will probably fall on deaf ears.

    • By Paweł P. - 8:59 AM on January 11, 2017  

      Just because templates for 20$
      And copy of copy of copy 🙂 Best regards!

  • By - 7:47 AM on January 6, 2017  

    Thank you for such an interesting article. I mentioned your post in french on my blog : http://num-ora.ltth.fr/2017/01/06/les-tendances-du-uxui-design-en-2017/

  • By AMARDA - 9:43 AM on January 16, 2017  

    Can you lot stop doing this crappy flat UI stuff? It’s ugly and often times disorintating to use. Over the past few years UI has devolved into a pretentious unusable mess, that does not give enough density of information on one page, that looks like something that came from Windows 95 or earlier, that removes things that make UI user friendly, that adopts colours that just look ugly, that removes the users ability to customise their enviroment to their needs and wants.

  • By Christian Jude Cuyos - 10:21 PM on January 17, 2017  

    Awesome the augmented reality/Virtual reality web designs are very interesting. So how do you make a VR/AU ready website??

    Awesome content very informative gives me inspiration in making my own website.

  • By Peter - 2:40 PM on January 25, 2017  

    We are primarily a video production company so #3 has a positive impact on our business. After a couple of years of customers asking for courses made of static images/text and VO it’s great to be back into making video -intensive training apps. We just started a large contract to produce video clips as part of the remake of a multi-lesson page flipper that puts the customer’s employees to sleep.

  • By Jayson Beele - 5:17 AM on January 27, 2017  

    Some really creative insights into design here! Recently attended General Assembly in London for the User Experience (UX) Design class. Really insightful stuff. It was interesting to learn that service design and UX Design have a lot in common as both disciplines have sprung from the traditional design field.

  • By Stefan Smiljkovic - 2:46 PM on January 29, 2017  

    Intercom illustrations are beautiful