9 UX Trends to Look Out for in 2018

Conversational bots expansion

What used to be a largely exploited Sci-Fi idea, became a mundane reality, as it always does. Since Facebook launched its chatbots feature in Messenger app, the number of bots hiked from 30,000 active bots in 2016 to 100,000 active bots this year.
Widely spread from primitive website’s assistance to advanced messenger conversations bots create an alluring new business opportunity both for entrepreneurs and big companies. Starbucks, Harper Collins, Duolingo and National Geographic have successfully implemented bots into their marketing toolkits. To follow these companies’ success, find out some tips how to create chatbot your users will love.

Storytelling design significance

Design no longer relies solely on visual concepts. Eventually, palettes and patterns appear to matter as much as a coherent storytelling and textual elements. Brands explore new approaches to involve potential customers and clients into products and services. That’s where brand identity and new advertising tools meet unconventional thinking. Storytelling allows capturing target audience into an information whirlpool. An interesting, lively and well-crafted storyline can find response among customers without excessive marketing efforts.
That said, storytelling shouldn’t be framed into one separate concept of plain copywriting: every interface design can become a story to tell. Every designer is a writer on his own. Take look at the storyline we designed for WeHealth website.

Native advertising potential

Starting from January this year, Google will be penalizing websites that use “intrusive interstitials”, company describes this as anything that obscures the main content. Basically, any sites that complicate user’s access to the content because of call-to-action elements or pop-up ads, will be lowered in search rankings.
To be fair, this decision is a logical reaction from Google. Ads overwhelmed web to the extent it decreased the value of UX and content in general, burying it under pop-ups. However dramatic the consequences are for advertising industry, it will lead to new and progressive approaches. Such as native ads. One of their advantages for both users and companies is the mechanism of interaction.

AR breakthrough

While Virtual Reality (VR) is yet to be implemented on a desired scale due to technological issues, Augmented Reality (AR) took media like a storm in 2017. From music promo app by Gorillaz to groundbreaking Pokémon GO app that created an unforeseen craze over continents. Apart from entertainment, AR becomes a long-awaited solution for visually impaired.

AI and machine learning shape UX design

One of the most fascinating technological trends that occupied media in recent years was Artificial Intellect and Machine learning. Google’s Artificial neural networks and Facebook’s AI (remember that time chatbots created their own language?) were hot topics throughout the year. However what’s more peculiar than the whole technological advance and trending discoveries, is where and how it will be implemented in the near future. One of the most vivid discussions that stormed the internet was the issue of robotization and replacement of human workforce in most of the industries. Neither new or truly exciting, this “threat”/”opportunity” is a long-lasting prophecy.

Voice User Interfaces

2017 saw the rise in screenless interactions between user and software, as top companies developed their brands of Voice User Interfaces (VUI): Apple’s Siri, Google’s Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Amazon’s Alexa. By mid-2017 Amazon’s Alexa platform obtained over 15,000 skills (compared to 10,000 in February) — number of voice-powered apps that run on devices customized for Alexa. By driving users further away from graphic interfaces, VUI changed the whole concept of our day-to-day technological environment. Hands-free control over everything from your laptop to car. With this swap of perspective, UX designers face new challenges and new opportunities in audio segment.
However expensive and technologically complicated VUI are at this stage, it’s something UX design gurus will look up to in 2018.

Microinteractions become more essential

Microinteractions are moments or effects of users’ communication that allow them to flow through design by completing a single design task. According to UXPin, microinteractions are used for:

  • Manipulating a setting
  • Preventing user error

Disinformation Architecture

In his Medium article UX Unicorn and Design Evangelist Chase Buckley offers a glance at prospects for information architecture. In terms of both digital and physical application, information architecture is about organizing data so that people can better understand their environment. Whether it’s app menu design or mall direction plates, information structure is a crucial UX design element.

Split-screen website design

For quite a long period of time, splitting screen was considered a faux pas in website design. This idea came from psychological assumption that dividing the screen vertically forces users’ eyes to go from top to bottom of the page, therefore confusing users with uncertainty of sight focus.
2017 brought split screen design into a mainstream spotlight: more and more sites use vertical division for separating and accenting different information blocks. For instance, one half of the screen grabs user’s sight with a photo, while other half is presented with a text. Thus designers can add more visual weight to both screens without pressuring users, create a much stronger communication with two dynamic content flows.

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