As the holiday season winds down and 2018 draws to a close, Codal has been spending quite a bit of time reflecting upon the year we’ve had. It was certainly an eventful one–we saw a new Apple Event, attended one of the largest eCommerce conferences in the country, and got to know some of our new neighbors in Chicago.
But New Year’s is also a time to look forward, to prepare for the upcoming year and to ready ourselves for the challenges it may bring. The art and design world remains in constant flux, and as an UX design agencyit’s imperative we keep our finger on the pulse of the industry’s shifting trends.
So instead of New Year’s resolutions, we asked some of our expert designers to make predictions instead. Based on the designs they’ve seen (and some they’ve crafted themselves), here’s what Codal thinks the UX design world will be seeing more of in 2019.
While I’m sure most of us rolled our eyes at our older relatives lamenting how technology has made people “not talk like they used to”, there has been a push in the UI world for more humanity in our digital interactions.
This has given rise to the conversational interface, an umbrella term that describes essentially any UI that favors user interaction via dialogue over traditional, more passive interfaces. A fairly basic example is the chatbot, a simple automated digital assistant that can serve user needs directly, allowing them to bypass navigating the experience on their own.
Many of Codal’s clients this year expressed the desire for their website to have a robust chatbot integration, and we were happy to oblige—we even ended up using one on our own website as well.
A more extreme example of conversational UI was even more prevalent in 2018, and is likely to continue in the new year: personal digital assistants that are entirely voice-operated, like Alexa and Google Home. We’ve written quite a bit about designing for these technologies, and our CEO, Keval Baxi, is even giving a talk about them at this year’s Windy City DevFest (come say hi if you’re in Chicago!).
2018 saw the resurgence of the gradient, a design trend that had fallen out of style after its heyday in the nineties. Like many fads, the gradient’s shelf life is limited—but our designers don’t expect it to go out of vogue in the new year.
“I love gradients if they’re used right and not overdone,” said head designer and user experience manager Brent Rousseau. “Along with neon color palettes, they’re coming back a lot more, especially in marketing websites.”
Gradient examples from designer Anna Grenn (Source)
When executed properly, gradients can add depth and texture to any user experience. They serve unique, even contradictory roles: gradients can realistically mimic the palettes we see around us, but they can also be used to create color patterns you won’t find anywhere else.
Thanks to our official partnership with Shopify Plus, Codal worked on more online stores and eCommerce projects in 2018 than any other year in our history! As such, our designers were exposed to a slew of different digital retail experiences and saw what consumers are expecting from their online shopping in 2019.
“Within the eCommerce space, I think a big trend is product videos,” continued Rousseau, citing retail giants like Adidas & Nike using them extensively for their merchandise.
As more online content creators pivot away from text, users are becoming more accustomed to getting information solely through video, a trend that’s translating to the retail world. And it’s not just video for the sake of video though–it’s that it gives a more dynamic element to the design.
“You see that with animations in mobile/web design too,” said UX designer Nathan Wang. “Besides color and typography—which are obviously very important–adding in animations/micro-interactions adds that extra oomph and makes a design more dynamic.”
…the more they stay the same. In 2019, the user experience design industry will see new trends and fads like the ones described here, but its cornerstone principles will remain as steadfast ever. No matter what the new year throws at us, our designers know they can tackle it by remembering to keep things simple and always placing the user first.
For the rest of Codal, we want to maintain course too–and continue growing, designing, developing, and making the digital world a friendlier place. From all of us here at Codal, have a happy new year!