As the online world continues to rapidly evolve to accommodate the user experience, each year sees a wide range of changes and improvements. User experience design, or UX design, has seen its fair share of changes in 2015, including an increased focus on responsive web design.
Although it’s impossible to predict the future, we can certainly make a well educated guess. Here is our list of UX trend predictions for 2016.
A Shift Forward in the “Internet of Things”
Even though in many cases, the technology exists to connect appliances and other furnishings to the web, there is often a disconnect between the potential for this happening and how it is actually implemented. As we move through 2016, expect to see manufacturers increasingly interested in using technology to create a unique in person experience.
Your phone can automatically turn on and off the lights in your home, your coffee maker will know when you’re waking up and start brewing, etc. According to Gartner, the Internet of Things market will be worth more than $300 billion by 2020.
An Increasing Reliance on Artificial Intelligence to Improve User Experience
Even though businesses often keep track of huge amounts of data regarding their consumers and their preferences, the reality is that frequently, that’s all this data does: get collected. In 2016, forward-thinking companies are going to shift into relying more on artificial intelligence to create a smoother experience for customers.
This can range from using artificial intelligence when it comes to email (see Google Smart Reply), to tracking user behavior on websites and using that information to make reasonable suggestions as to the next step they should take.
Basic Web Design Loses Its Edge
10 years ago, no one had heard of Wordpress. Today, it’s a platform used for millions of websites across the globe. In the age of templates, having someone build your website from scratch is going to be less important than having a well-maintained website that centers around creating a seamless, painless experience for the end user.
As UX Mag points out, now that good web design is more or less a given for most websites, it’s everything else - such as SEO, intuitive site mapping, and social media - that are going to give a business the push it needs.
Vertical Split Screen
While this won’t work for all websites and products, Design Hack makes a strong case for the split screen design trend that’s been popping up lately. It’s just what it sounds like: two symmetrical panels side by side.
It works well with responsive design frameworks, helps to create an engaging layout without being distracting, and helps to create a sense of organization on the screen when done right. Some web designers have attributed the rise of this style to the popularity of sites like Pinterest.
Increased Use of Animations to Keep Users Engaged
When you think animations, does your mind jump to stick figures or a minute long Youtube ad? Not so fast. When it comes to animation for 2016, this instead refers to interactions users will have with your site.
When users are not sure what action to take on a page, for example, their instinct is often to “hover” with the mouse over an area of the screen. Creating hover animation that further guides them to the right place can help decrease bounce rates. Hidden navigation menus that reveal themselves through animation, and loading animations are also popular (just don’t make users wait too long -- the results can be dire!).
What will be trending in 2016? An increased focus on creating a seamless, yet engaging experience for the user is key to creating great web designs.