The Extract: 2021 UI/UX Design Trends

This is a highlight of an article written by the talented Kate Shokurova for our company blog and my take on some of the trends.

by Yuliya Volodina for Shakuro

#1 Remote and virtual

This year has presented an opportunity for the digital industry to tap into the realm of physical products because all of a sudden, live experiences became obsolete. Those who’ll be able to channel physicality into isolated online experiences will win a lot of clients. For example, exhibitions, gigs, shows, and deep in-person events are being missed by a lot of people these days.

More on this here.

#2 AI

Year after year AI’s keeping a trending spot but for some reason, there has not been a revolution. In fact, AI is already here without us even noticing it. Software without some part of it automated using algorithms and machine learning can’t expect to have a good reach and proper development. Next year is just about time for the creative industry to finally see some benefits from artificial intelligence.


#3 Deep personalization

Mechanisms and platforms collecting data have been severely compromised far too many times to be in the trends. However, serving personalized content with a genuine intention to help is an area we are still to see a breakthrough in. A user interface requires an effort from a user. What if the interface shaped itself based on the personal preferences of a user? It is possible to personalize the entire feed of content we consume, things we buy, and stuff we like. If that’s possible, the functionality can be customized too.

#4 No-touch

One thing 2020 made us realize is how tactile the world around us is. If you can’t touch it, you are not interacting. even though voice control’s been a thing for quite some time, it’s still far from being used widely. Due to personal insecurities and habits and technologically too. What could help is either air gesture recognition, or natural language processing, which includes slang, euphemisms, and God knows what else. Gestures don’t need to be Minority Report or Tony Stark type fiddling, but more subtle or even custom. This is an unexplored area on the front burner of today.

#5 Immersive experiences

Part of the transition from physical to digital is mimicking real-world impressions. That can be obtained by a widely-available high-quality 3D printing or by tricking our mind into believing there is a real experience when it’s just an image of it. Immersive 3D and freedom of choice within such experience is the future.

Further read.

#6 More motion

Biologically, we are wired to read a lot of information from movement. The way things move puts us into a variety of states from relaxation to alertness. Whichever reaction a digital product is looking for, it has to back it with non-verbal but explicit behavior. Animation in design is a part of the product strategy, not prettification.

#7 Realism

Flat design came as an alternative to Newtonian physics used in UI. This year made us appreciate simple things that we’ve been keenly distancing ourselves from for a long time. Let’s bring some of that back by emulating physicality.

#8 Mind-blowing design

Pushing boundaries, thinking outside the box, reinventing layouts, experimenting with typography. This is a staple of design and that’s why it’s a consistent trend. What’s happening now is these styles are reinvented depending on the brand. Deeper customization, better immersion, and more soul.

#10 Art

There are things that never lose value regardless of how saturated the market is or how intense social and political turbulence is. One of those things is art. The creative industry is immune to a lot of diseases that other industries suffer from. As a genuine form of self-expression, it is an asset that designers hold on to no matter what. Looks like the technology is finally there to support the displays of art to the benefit of both.

#11 Streamlined UX

As the attention span is shrinking, the amount of businesses online is growing, and as the noise around is getting stronger, designers are looking for ways to overcome the obstacles in UX from the previous generation. Those are forms, registrations, checkouts, etc. Those who can minimize the number of hurdles are winning.

#12 Super apps

Super apps came from China where it’s a common practice for companies to conquer all available niches rather than staying in a specific one. A product that can do everything from booking a flight to providing meditation guidance is a design challenge. The concept is fairly new but ecosystems have been around for a long time. It’s about time to explore the universal nature of consumer-facing giants.

#13 Advanced onboardings

An intuitive UI does not require onboarding. Good marketing sets the tone for the conversation and the product’s goal is to prove it was right. Doesn’t mean onboarding is obsolete. It’s a chance to provide a beautiful experience before the user is even engaged into a functionality. Interactive onboarding, tailored content, and nice visuals do the trick.

#14 Design thinking

Always trending and freshly minted — the way we approach design problems. Design thinking is a framework for all things in life.

Full article.

UX writer and researcher at Shakuro. Former tech writer at Edifecs & freelance translator. #bjj #ps4