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14 UX Design Trends to Look for in 2020

14 UX Design Trends to Look for in 2020

Today, 94% of first impressions are design-related. Even an awesome content is rendered powerless if integrated into a poor design.

However, with digital touchpoints changing and evolving over time—mouse and touch, desktop and mobile, web and native, the list goes on—at times, it can be a struggle to keep up with the pace.

One factor of User Experience Design that remains consistent, however, is ‘The User.

So, the key to real success lies in being adaptable to change—the change in how you get the User Experience designed in accordance with varying user expectations.

When User Experience Design Fail

User Experience is fundamental in enhancing what your product represents while providing greater user-satisfaction.

Thus, your focus should be on how you want your brand to be perceived by your target audience. It makes tracking the ongoing UX Design Trends more essential than ever.

To get you ahead, here are the best of User Experience Design Trends that represent the right blend of human-centered design and the latest technology available.

UX Design Trends for 2020

A few decades ago, User Experience and Marketing were considered two separate fields of study. Fast-forward to 2019, and User Experience is a vital part of marketing, not just because of the direct impact it has on conversions and revenue, but also because of the ways it influences users’ overall feelings towards a brand or a product.

Keeping this in mind, the following are trends that are slowly but surely dominating the market.

1. Password-Less Login

It is a common scenario that users forget their passwords every other day. According to a Cyclonic Password Security Survey, 27.95% of respondents said that users forget their passwords 10 or more times per year.

If you think ‘forgetting the password’ is an issue at the end of users, then surely you are on the losing side.

The real problem lies somewhere with password-setting protocols that oblige a user to include special characters, numerals, and/or upper and lower case characters in it. These requirements only add to the complexity and lead to users having to reset their passwords frequently.

A simple solution that would work here is the transition to “passwordless” logins.

Yes, you heard it right!

It is one of the emerging UX Design Trends that is already being implemented by various big brands.

Although it was not as popular as other forms of login before 2016, however, this concept is growing gradually and it is forecasted to overtake passwords as the primary form of login within the next six years.

Forecast (UP vs Passwordless)

Microsoft has been working on removing passwords from Windows 10 for quite a long time. In July 2019, they announced that the next major update to Windows 10 will enable a passwordless sign-in for Microsoft accounts on a Windows 10 device. This implies that PCs will use Windows Hello face authentication, fingerprints, or a PIN code.

Microsoft going passwordless with its new update

2. UX Writing

Creative and intentionally decorated words do not work anymore. People want to hear to-the-point information that will bring them value, which, in turn, will lead to more customer engagement and conversions.

UX writing or aptly a “Microcopy” is all about enticing a user with the offerings while making it an interactable journey throughout.

Joshua Porter explaining the importance of Microcopy

For instance, Google analyzed that their potential users are more inclined to casually browse hotel room options and are not in the headspace to make a reservation right away. Thus, they changed their copy “Book a room”—which was not empathetic— to “Check availability”—an appropriate microcopy for the intent at the time—which increased the engagement rate by 17%.

Google changed a sentence to boost engagement

Here are some tips to make your Microcopy stand out:

  • Stick to the point and do not beat around the bush
  • Provide an objective to the user before they proceed further to explore more
  • Try and directly address the user by not generalizing things
  • Incorporate “present tense + active voice” in your microcopy
  • Using numerals when required is certainly a good practice

eBook - How to Make Good UX Decisions to Build Great CX

3. Dark Theme

Bright backgrounds have been around for a long time, but who would mind a bit of change? We are talking about a new and refreshing change introduced in the form of the dark theme. There is a scientific reason behind it: Exposure to bright lights in the darkness is not good for the eyes.

With iOS and Android announcing their dark theme modes, many apps are shifting their focus towards embracing this trend.

This new UI Design trend influences UX in a positive way and is gaining momentum day by day.

UX designers today have been taking full advantage of the available design opportunities by introducing themes that adjust to one’s environment. Brighter in the day and darker in the night gives the power of choice to users, thus making for a design that works in favor of people.

However, before adding this UX Design Trend change to your bucket list, you should understand whether your app supports the dark theme or light theme.

  • Spotify, Amazon, Netflix, and YouTube are already dark-theme ready. The reason is that people typically use these entertainment channels later in the day.
  • On the other hand, light themes work well for news websites, social media, etc. who get most of their traffic in the day time.

Dark theme vs Light theme, a UX Design Trend

Thus, as a key decision-maker, it should be your responsibility to put on the thinking cloak and understand your primary user before you make the decision.

Whether or not a dark theme would work for your business, here’s a table that explains the criteria for making a well-thought decision.

When to use Dark Theme and Light Theme

4. Air Gesture

Gesture control is one of the trends in mobile UX design aiming to improve User Experience.

Since the advent of touch screens, a lot has changed, which is evident from the increasing touch screen aspect ratios of the mobile interfaces. Increased aspect ratios mean fewer bezels in the front, which, in turn, mean better gesture experience.

Although it was Apple that initially introduced gesture control technology in iOS, the new trend (air gesture) is taking this technology to the next level: you will be able to wave your hand or pinch your fingers in the air to make stuff happen on the phone, never making contact with the touchscreens.

A real-life example of this:

Google has unveiled Pixel 4 that uses a radar sensor that makes it usable through air gestures. It is their latest invention that is attracting eyeballs as it is primarily radar-powered, making Pixel 4 one of its kind.

Have a look at the demo below:

Now, that we know the possibilities of air gesture, we can go on to say that gesture possibilities showcased in Fifteen Million Merits–one of the most popular episodes of Black Mirror series–will soon come to reality and its practical implementation will be possible in the near future. What do you think?

The greatest advantage of using gesture lies in its intuitiveness and sensitivity to touch. Thus, touch gestures will always play their part no matter how far the ‘Gesture Trend’ goes.

Here’s an example of different types of touch gestures that should be a part of any UX developer’s to-do list.

20 Types of Commonly Used Touch Gestures

5. Inclusive Design

Designing for one and all is where the true essence of inclusive design lies. This User Experience Design Trend is a much-needed design practice that poses to be the promising change of the millennium.

Inclusive design is a design methodology that enables and draws on the full range of human diversity. ~ Microsoft

To be precise, inclusive design is a cooperation of ideas and expectations of people from all walks of society having varied perspectives.

If a designer is solving a problem from his perception, it might work for some, but not everybody. So, what do we do to change that?

The answer is simple: Work on a design that is physically, cognitively, and emotionally suitable for everyone.

There are three principles around which an inclusive design revolves.

  • Recognizing Exclusion: It is about understanding whose perspective is included in your UX design and whose gets excluded. Once your team understands the design requirements, they will have a clear picture of their key responsibilities.
  • Solve for One, Extend to Many: Designing for accessibility, i.e., for people who deal with one disability or the other, should get priority. Because, when a UX trend such as this addresses the needs of people with permanent disabilities, it benefits people on a global scale.
  • Learn from Diversity: Design thinking plays a significant role when it comes to including diversity. This principle is all about putting people in the center from the very beginning so that the design strikes the right chord in the first instance.

If you take on this UX Design Trend, businesses are expected to reach 4 times the number of intended consumers. That is exactly the benefit a business will reap from designing for everyone.

6. Micro-Interactions

Small moments where a user and the design interact to make for an engaging experience are defined as micro-interactions. It is similar to paying attention to small and intrinsic details that matter.

To be clear, micro-interactions are about adding animation effects to the objects on the screen to make them feel alive.

This adds on to the simple fact; one can only notice these micro-interactions if they are present!

It can be related to a human-centered design because it is the user who is the prime focus here.

Here’s an example of how Pinterest managed to smoothly embed micro-interactions to enhance their UX design. Have a look at this tweet.

Other examples could be Facebook’s like button, a visible indicator of the volume button that is visible on sound change, or even hover animations.

Where everybody is putting their efforts to make their design stand out, you could set the standards too. In short, it is your best chance to draw the audience towards your brand.

As a result, adding micro-interactions would surely be a great UX trend of 2020 that will bring you positive light, leads, and much-needed conversions.

7. Getting Rid of Hamburger Menus

“Like a cheap fast-food chain, it got designers addicted to its convenience, and now serves millions each day” ~Nielsen Norman Group

The three parallel lines that open up the menu is a common design practice in the market. Yes, it makes the design look clean and neat, but, sadly, it is losing its significance gradually.

Commonality and familiarity are the two major reasons for the popularity of hamburger icons. That exactly makes it a skeuomorphic design!

So, What Led to the Hamburger Icon Downfall

Call it a side menu, navigation drawer, or a hamburger, hiding your features off-screen behind a nondescript icon in the corner is usually a poor mobile design choice.

Hamburger Icon is a UX Design Trend

a) The Features do not Get Much Attention

A hamburger icon acts as a hiding place for all the essential products, services, and other information offered by the business. It is like a designer decorating the web pages while sidelining what actually matters.

b) Click Rates are Significantly Low on the Top Left Corner

After analyzing the easily accessible touch zones on a mobile device, one thing is certain; reaching the top left corner with the thumb is not a convenient task.

This, in turn, implies that having a hamburger icon in the left corner is likely going to reduce the click rates, which can be the reason behind people leaving your app.

Here’s the proof:

Thumb zone depicting the ease and difficulty of thumb touch on mobile screen

So, for the design to stand out and grab some brownie points for creativity, one needs to think beyond these hamburger icons. This would surely be one of the significant UX Design Trends to adopt for 2020.

Spotify is already doing that. They got rid of hamburger icons in a smart and creative way. They showcase the best example of addressing a “decrease in discoverability” by converting it into an “increase in click rates.”

Removing hamburger icons on Spotify increased their click rates by 30%.

This makes us believe that some changes are good!

Spotify without hamburger menu

UX Design Trends for 2019

There are trends that never fade away. In fact, they are so powerful that they flourish to give the same results they did ages ago. It should be a responsibility to never discard these practices just to embrace the newer ones. Here are some of them.

1. Hey Siri! What is Voice-Activated User Interface

Voice-activated user interfaces have been around for some time now. But, the advancements revolving around this technology keep making the news.

The explosion that the voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, Bixby, and even Google Assistant have caused in UI is phenomenal. They will continue causing ripples in UI and UX design in 2019 as well.

Grand View Research on virtual assistants

The basic idea behind a voice-activated interface is to eliminate the need to type through the interfaces. The good news is that people are embracing this trend with open arms as it also happens to be viable options for people with accessibility issues.

Now, even as search engine optimization explores voice-command-based queries, voice-activated UI is just the thing businesses will look to. With regular updates and newer advancements, the competition among UX designers is increasing more than ever.

The only reason why voice interfaces still aren’t used primarily narrows down to “word recognition” accuracy. But, now even that is changing, which makes it one of the noteworthy UX Design Trends in the market.

Not to forget the possibilities that are introduced by these voice-powered UXs.

For instance, here’s a demo of how Amazon Alexa’s smart ring is setting high standards in the market.

2. Coming Forward with Material Design

Flat design is something that is likely to fall flat on its face this time around. Since the advent of material design in 2014 by Google, User Experience trends have a new facet in the form of responsive animations, 3D icons, light and shading features, transitions, and padding.

Material design is a “Design Language System,” which is all about bringing the material to life!

Unlike real paper, our digital material can expand and reform intelligently. Material has physical surfaces and edges. Seams and shadows provide meaning about what you can touch. ~ Matias Duarte, VP of Material Design at Google

With an aim to honor the brands that implement material design in their UX strategy, Google came up with their own ‘2019 Material Design Awards.’

Reflectly bagged this award in the category of innovation, thereby changing the face of UX trends for good.

Refelectly mobile app

Material designs will keep evolving to give better-detailed textures and patterns, personalized User Experience and increased intuitiveness for substantially more engaging User Experiences.

If your products aren’t using a design system, look no more. You can simply adapt the material for your products.

3. A Personal Experience for Everyone

Any customer would consider a brand that gives importance to their preferences and tastes. The best part is that personalization actually extends to appealing to the universal human nature and needs.

On the other hand, if personalization is missing at any level, loss of business is the result.

Accenture study on importance of personalization

Personalization is one of the UX Design Trends that tend to be dynamic by nature. Its USP is that it learns and adapts by leveraging the art of machine learning.

By personalizing users’ experience, you are offering something useful based on the users’ characteristics, behaviors, attributes and/or data analysis.

If you need an example to look up to, Netflix fits the bill. They definitely do the best job at personalizing UX design experience for their ever-growing audience.

Personalized experience served by Netflix

4. The Rise of the Video

Content comes in various forms and formats. One such forms that is dominating the World Wide Web are videos that are already in the limelight for grabbing the attention of users like never before.

It is one of the most amazing ways to deliver an experience that has been created around content that matters. So much so that it is expected to be the sole reason for boosted internet traffic.

Video is one of the vital UX design trend as per CISCO

Videos are just a way to express more in little time. It’s the kind of content that makes every second count if made and placed intelligently.

But, not all videos make the same impact!

That is why it comes as a responsibility to infuse storytelling into videos. They should look realistic, evoke emotions, and should make a connection that lasts.

The following infographic showcases the real power of video storytelling.

Importance of video storytelling is an evergreen UX Design trend

5. Augmented Reality is Here

It is no more a surprise about how augmented reality is changing things for good. From just being a future possibility to real-life implementation, augmented reality has come a long way.

This technological advancement has indeed been one of the latest UX Design Trends of 2019 and will continue to be in the coming years.

ZION Market Research on AR

We have seen that with the changing times, AR is not just restricted to gaming, but has spread its wings to other sectors as well. Some of them include AR in retail, travel, automobile industry, education, healthcare, and social media platforms as well.

Here is how AR is sweeping the healthcare industry:

It is magical in every sense! Anybody would believe it to be untrue, but there is no trick here!

6. Foldable Displays

Foldable displays are here!

Organizations are trying to progress toward becoming pioneers in presenting foldable showcases.

The basic idea behind foldable displays being one of the trending UX Design Trends is its ability to adjust optimally to the extended and folded screen space. Though that seems to be a challenge, it certainly has great potential.

Because, it is expected that by 2025, around 50 million foldable AMOLED (active-matrix organic light-emitting diode) panels will be sold.

Shipment forecast of foldable AMOLED panels

The enormous amount of interest these devices have generated would make anybody feel amused. Be it the big players like Microsoft, Intel, Samsung, or Apple; they are already gearing towards creating an experience that works perfectly for foldable devices.

To show you the practicality of the concept, see how Samsung has done a good job at designing this Galaxy Fold display.

It’s pure bliss for the customers seeking great User Experience!

7. Biometric Authentication for a Secure UX

Biometric authentication is here to make devices secure and thereby stands out to be an extremely important UI and UX trends of 2019 and 2020.

This is one technology that can embrace a security-first approach for both the businesses as well as the end-users, thus improving User Experience substantially.

The promising biometric authentication market is an innovative technology that has been giving identity to people without being at risk of being impersonated.

US biometric revenue as per Stastia

The various innovative biometric technologies that are blooming in the market include iris scans, facial recognition, voice, and even vein pattern recognition.

This is an opportunity worth looking into!

If your business needs a password for authentication, move on to iris scans next. If you have an iris scan authentication in place, move onto facial recognition next. The idea is to never stop advancing and keep innovating.

To set an example, the best foot forward in this regard has been that of Google. They added biometric sign-ins to some of their web services. This means that now, one can sign-in using fingerprints, PINs, or even usual unlock patterns.

For more information, you could also go through this video by Google Developers.

Conclusion

This is it!

Aah, that was one big list to explore, but we hope these UX Design Trends gave wings to your enthusiasm so that your brand can unleash their creativity to come up with something new and interesting.

Whether it is trends that are already in the market or new emerging ones, you have to find what suits your business and the respective user expectations, because knowing is always better than supposing.

What next? Get started with designing an experience worth a million dollars. And, as for assistance, expert help is always just a step away. You only need to reach out to a reputed UX Consultant who can assist you through.

free ux assessment

Abhay Vohra

About the Author

Abhay Vohra has more than 15 years of experience in the IT industry. Abhay started out with us as a Quality Analyst and moved onto the Business Analysis team, where he discovered his passion for Information Architecture, Wireframes, and User Experience. Now, he possesses an impressive experience in UX and has delved into User Research and Service Design. Abhay also happens to be a culture enthusiast and takes a keen interest in world cinema and literature.

Leave a Comment

Prakash Francis

9:17 AM, Sep 14, 2019

Superb article