Every day users visit myriads of websites, so companies need extra creativity to get their attention. Visual attractiveness and usability of a website/application play an important role in this task. Meanwhile, in search for the perfect UI, businesses sometimes blindly follow trends, though they should be approached with caution.
Long ago, we also believed that the trend itself was good for business. However, after 10 years of experience, we came to the understanding that each trend could be called useful only in case of solving a specific problem for users.
Here's the list of trends we've used in 2021, and we can confidently say that they solve both users’ and business’ concerns.
Minimalism has been among the UI design trends for several years in a row, and it isn't going to give up. What's the reason behind its success? Probably, it's hidden in daily users' bombardment with dozens of ads and overall information overload: advertising, interfaces, continuous notifications.
Therefore, customers more often choose interfaces that provide some rest to their eyes and brains. In turn, designers tend to choose simpler graphic elements, limit the number of colors, and use metaphors with caution.
Of course, functionality comes first, as each UI design element must communicate the idea to the user, while decorative components are no longer relevant.
While this concept also belongs to the minimalism umbrella, we'd like to emphasize it separately. Complex interfaces require additional actions from users. And why is this bad? Because people evolutionarily seek to save resources, and additional actions force them to spend extra energy.
Try to minimize the number of elements or fields that a user must fill in. Simplified registration and authorization are the solution here. A user values a product more when they can log into their account only with a phone number, and memorizing the password is no longer necessary. Authorization through social networks also makes people's lives easier.
Almost half of search queries in 2021 were made from mobile devices. People use smartphones to find a place to eat, order movie tickets, look for goods, or book apartments. That is to live in general.
In this regard, the website should be convenient not only in the desktop version, but in the mobile version as well. This is a must-have to improve user interaction. Besides, it especially makes sense in the fintech domain: mobile payments are becoming increasingly popular, and their convenience is difficult to overestimate.
That's why we develop a mobile interface for each project separately, so that a website can become a convenient cross-platform program for the user to download directly to the smartphone home screen.
We call this onboarding — short and comprehensive instructions for using the product to make it easier for users to understand key features of applications.
It's believed that onboarding is a sign of bad design. Like, if you have to explain how the product works, then something is wrong with the design. It seems that the user is forced to go through a few extra screens and perform unnecessary actions.
Still, modern onboarding should appear unobtrusive and contain the most critical screens only. Thanks to it, users understand their own capabilities and software features.
Not to prolong users' acquaintance with the product, our advice is to simplify it. Write the text briefly so that it's easy to read. Use specifically designed illustrations and hi-res photos. You need to explain the value of the product and tell users what problems it can solve and how.
Icons are an effective tool for visual communication with a user. They can convey large chunks of information more concisely than words. Thus, big businesses put special emphasis on icons. For example, in 2020, Apple and Sketch completely redesigned their system icons to better meet the needs of their users.
We recommend choosing icons from the same family or creating them in a way that they look similar. Icons must be the same size and dimension (i.e., don't combine 2D and 3D). The consistency will emphasize the integrity of the application.
2D illustration is the nucleus around which all trends in illustration are built. These are the roots that designers return to almost every year. Therefore, this choice is always justified.
If 2D seems boring, explore! Try unusual angles, proportions, and composition. Besides, you can choose either bright or pastel colors as your stylistic priority. We also recommend using the SVG format for UI illustrations as the quality of PNG, GIF, and JPEG images depends on the screen resolution. But it isn't a problem with SVG: the vector format can be easily scaled without loss of quality.
In this part, we'll review trends that may not suit every project but are appealing. We've successfully used them several times this year.
Pastel colors emphasize lightness and unobtrusiveness of a design. Though this idea is part of the minimalism approach, which we've already discussed before, it must be used wisely.
In 2021, web designers also became interested in glassmorphism, using the blur effect to create the impression that the user is looking at the background through the glass.
Voice user interface has become another UX/UI trend. This means that design doesn't have to be strictly visual.
The voice interface is internal and related not so much to the design itself, rather than to the context and data synthesis. It also can be used as an auxiliary interface for people with special needs. The simplest example is the voice-over on the buttons’ names or explanations to fields in the application.
In our opinion, the combination of minimalism, simplicity, 2D visuals, onboarding, and mobile-first approach constitute the app's user-friendliness to a great extent. It also raises the probability of customers' returns and their interest in problem-solving with this particular app. Logically, it's also the way to generate business income for the exact company.
We believe that the main purpose of UI design is to help users achieve their goals. That's why we follow the latest design trends but always check whether they benefit users and businesses.
We're always looking for talented developers. So if you want to join our team and create first-class fintech applications, send us your CV!