A Reddit user posted this picture mocking the icon rehaul that Google did for their entire Google Workspace product suite. Many users complained that these icons — an important part of the user interface — are indistinguishable from one another. For reasons of usability, pleasure, and accessibility, they argued, this was a bad design. We might think they’re just icons, a small UI element, but the Reddit thread tells you about all kinds of user experience problems this change creates, even making some people leave the product altogether. Any good UI design course details will include debates and case studies like this and more.
In the digital world, the user interface is the point of contact between any two parties. Whether it’s the laptop / phone you’re reading this blog post on, the e-commerce site you shop at, the streaming platform you watch, the games you play, the app you share memes on — user interfaces have become our window to the world. And this field is constantly evolving. New trends and technologies are coming up each day, making the field of UI design not only dynamic but also exciting.
As 2020 draws to a close, experts and mentors at Springboard bring to you key trends to look forward to in the new year.
What the Future Holds: UI Trends, UI Design Tools, UI Jobs and UI Design Course Details
User interface design is more than just logos and icons. It includes the many elements on the screen, be it laptops, mobile phones, or even virtual reality and augmented reality devices. Some trends gaining ground in UI design are:
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Trend #1 Microinteractions
The Nielsen Norman Group define microinteractions as “trigger-feedback pairs” — basically the user does something and system responds like the Twitter feed refreshes when you pull from the top of the app; or the system triggers something and posts feedback like a WhatsApp message arrives and the app pushes a notification to you.
Based on the above paragraph, you might be thinking these microinteractions have been happening forever, what’s the new trend! Well, microinteractions are evolving to handle more complex triggers and actions.
- The project management tool Asana has a flying unicorn everytime you complete a task.
- Confetti pops on the PayTM app when you complete payments.
- Moving progress trackers are becoming popular.
- Several apps are including swipe gestures for various tasks.
- Animated buttons and icons are becoming common too.
In 2021, UI designers will work hard to make every microinteraction pleasurable for the user. We expect it’ll also be good fun for the designer.
Trend #2 Dark Mode
White / colourful text on black background wasn’t very popular. In fact, until recently, other than IDEs (integrated development environments), few used this design theme. However, it’s making a huge comeback.
Many apps across devices are offering a dark mode these days, for usability, energy saving and accessibility purposes. In fact, even Kindle has an excellent dark mode that’s better for reading at night.
Trend #3 3D Elements and Neomorphism
Designers are using asymmetric designs, shadows, and multiple layers to create 3D-like visuals for user interfaces. This is especially popular in websites or applications of car manufacturers, real estate developers, etc., allowing users to get a 360-degree view.
In parallel, we are also seeing the revival of skeuomorphism in the form of neomorphism. In this case study, designer Beatrice Tong explains why she chose neomorphism for her redesign of a banking app and how it helped it stand out from the crowd.
Trend #4 Ethical Design
As digital products pervade the world, it becomes increasingly important for designers to be responsible and ethical in their work. This can range from making their design accessible for users with visual impairments, enabling transparency while collecting personal data, offering options for cookie usage, etc.
This requires UI designers to be more than just “designers”. They need to be design thinkers, centering the focus on their work around the user and their wellbeing.
AI-powered UI Design Tools
Sketch, Figma, XD, etc., have become mainstream in UI/UX design. While these are some of the basic UI design tools that designers should master, there are several up-and-coming ones to try (find out here what UX designers do).
A key trend in this area is those powered by artificial intelligence (AI).
Some examples are Uizard, which uses machine learning to create prototypes out of sketches; remove.bg, which can smartly delete backgrounds from photographs; and Visual Eyes that can track user eye movement to collect data for user testing.
UI Jobs and Salaries that UI Jobs pay
From consulting firm JP Morgan Chase, technology major Accenture and Honeywell to startups Practo and Byju’s, many companies across India are hiring for professionals in UI/UX.
Gain Skills: Check UI Design Course Details
If you’re looking to build a career in UI design, you need specific skills that can set you apart from the crowd. Some key skills that employers expect are:
- Design thinking, user research, observational empathy
- Creating user personas, user journeys, etc.
- Graphic design tools like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Sketch
- Knowledge of UI frameworks, testing tools and prototyping
- Designing wireframes, mockups and high fidelity layered graphics
- Communication, collaboration, creative thinking, problem solving and presentation skills
While choosing a learning path for your UI design skills — be it self-learning or through an online course — make sure that you get three important things:
- Practical experience: You could have read every book or studied every technique in the world, but you’re not a designer until you’ve created your own designs. Your UI design course needs to have practical experience in the form of assignments, portfolio projects etc.
- Industry-ready curriculum: The industry is evolving fast. Something that was a huge trend last year might no longer be in practice this year. A good course should teach you the fundamentals, but also give you the opportunity to experiment with the latest developments.
- Mentorship: A mentor can help clear roadblocks in your path and open doors to opportunities. A good course should ensure you have the personal guidance you need.
Since you’re here…
Looking to launch your career in design? In our UI/UX Design Bootcamp, you’ll work 1-on-1 with industry experts to build job-ready skills – on your schedule. 99.5% of our graduates are fully employed in design within 12 months of graduation, and our student reviews back us up. Get dabbling today with our free UI/UX design curriculum. When you’re ready for a job, we’re here.