15 years of consulting in niche markets
So, where do you fit into all of this? To architect the experiences of tomorrow, you must first design the interactions of today. It is not enough to look in front of you; 2017 is already here. You must look ahead, to the future—to 2017—where the real paradigm shifting trends of tomorrow lie in wait.
1. Mobile-first approach
The mobile-first approach to design isn’t new to 2016 and has been around for a few years now, but with mobile-phones now officially named as the primary devices used for browsing the web, especially here in the UK, more companies are realizing the importance of having a site that effectively delivers content on a smaller screen, and are rushing to get onboard.
Content is designed to fit on mobile and smaller screened devices first, then you work up towards the larger-screened devices.Design and visuals aside, the mobile-first model and the restrictions it brings is a useful way for brands to consider what their core content and message is that they want to communicate.
Smartphones (for the most part) come with significantly smaller screens than tablets and desktops, which limit the amount of content a user can easily view at once. This forces brands to do-away with any information or content which isn’t 100% necessary, allowing them to add it in, along with the additional visual bells and whistles for users as they switch up to larger screened devices.
2. Wider Implementation of responsive design
We know what you’re thinking – first mobile first, and now responsive design? Neither of these are new for 2016! Although responsive design is also something which has been around for a few years, what we predict to see over the coming year is an even bigger uptake in the number of brands, both big and small, who are building responsive-based sites. For those who may not know what responsive design is, it’s essentially an approach to building a site using CSS media queries and flexible grids/layouts to create a single, dynamic site which adjusts and re-jigs its content to best display itself on various sized devices. It works together with mobile first, as mobile first designs the experience and the look, and responsive implements it. One of the bonuses of responsive design is that it allows businesses to pay for just a single site build which effectively delivers content on mobile and tablet, all the way to laptops to big-screened desktops.
3. Utilization of rapid prototyping tools
Although not a design trend per se, rapid prototyping tools are one of the most useful breakthroughs to hit the web-design world over the last year or so and are a must-have tool for any web, UI and UX designer. Rapid prototyping tools from services such as, UXpin, Webflow, InVision and Marvel (amongst many others) all allow designers to quickly create working low and high fidelity prototypes of sites and services to gauge their usability and aesthetic, all without writing a single line of code. Many also allow you to design in the browser and then actually launch the site itself right from the tool.
4. UI and UX Patterns get exposure
More and more UI and UX patterns emerge across the web where many sites look and function in very similar ways as they learn from one another to hone their user’s experience. With so much online competition today for brands across all sectors, they can’t afford to take major risks in their user’s journey, and if these tried-and-tested patterns and principles work, it makes sense to use them (where appropriate!) to enhance their site. As these existing UI and UX patterns evolve and develop, we expecting to see more and more brand’s implementing them as we move one step closer to a more unified, and consistent online browsing experience. Keeping users happy with a streamlined UX is the top priority now as brand’s do away with design gimmicks in order to compete in an ever-increasingly more competitive market.
5. Originality vs Stock Imageries
As discussed above, the rise of UI patterns which now places UX as the most important aspect of design, means that many sites now look and work in similar ways, and brands now need to do away with stock imagery, videos and icons and be completely bespoke to stand out from the crowd. Customers and users today seek authenticity from the brands they use, and stock pictures of creatives sat around a screen, or business men smiling just won’t cut it anymore. For a brand to strike a connection with its audience, they’ll need carefully considered and completely bespoke visuals which are more representative of who they are.
6. Video becomes king
They say a picture paints a thousand words, but a video does that tenfold. Much like with animation, a moving image on a page instantly captures the users’ attention, drawing them in so brands can get across their carefully constructed narrative and message. Video, although by no means new, is long-established and versatile medium, useful for story-telling, marketing and vlogging alike, and has several advantages over traditional photography. Where static imagery is flat and motionless, video is altogether more dynamic, using sound and movement to appeal to the senses and hold attention for longer.
7. Innovative scrolling and parallax
Scrolling, once reserved for getting from top of a page to the bottom, is being used in more creative capacities to deliver content online. Where designers in the past were concerned about keeping the most important content ‘above the fold’, we’re seeing this old-fashioned notion disappear, as ‘the fold’ is now harder to define, as users are viewing content of screens of all different sizes and resolutions. Scrolling is a versatile mechanic which (when executed well) can work great with all varieties of content delivery. It works with video based content, where large full screen videos play and pause as the user scrolls, as well as static content, which can animate, move, or change depending on the users input.
8. Lazy Loading
Lazy loading aids in viewing content immediately without waiting for an entire page to load. This technique is utilized on sites that feed content such as Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. In a society where information is constantly being fed into our lives, lazy loading helps to simplify viewing said content one chunk at a time. Being that load speed is important for both SEO and website conversion rates, we expect more widespread utilization of lazy loading in 2016-2017.
Designers are giving users rich, unique experiences using visual storytelling. Storytelling through means of a website can be quite a complex endeavour, but it’s not impossible. The site does a beautiful job of entertaining users with a scroll-able interactive graphic novel while also allowing them to learn about Peugeot’s HYbrid4 technology. We highly recommend you visit this site if you haven’t already. It’s a blast to scroll through and it serves as great inspiration for interactive web storytelling that makes learning fun.
10. Semi-Flat Design
After Windows launched its Metro style, the design world became inundated with flat design. However, flat design did come with some pitfalls and has slowly been morphing into semi-flat design to correct usability issues. By integrating depth and dimension using subtle shadows, cards, and well-thought out transitions, semi-flat design has become a much better design alternative due to its ease of usability. Semi-flat design appears to alleviate all the problems caused by flat design and we expect to see much more of it in 2016-2017.
Source: Zazzle, 2016
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Thursday Nov 17, 2016