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Web design and UX trends summary of 2018

14 January 2019

Natalia Bienias

Head of Design
Natalia Bienias
Web design and UX trends summary of 2018

In the end of 2018, New Marketing (Nowy Marketing) asked me to sum up the most important events, novelties and trends from the web design area. Below, I am presenting the answers to 4 questions they asked me.

3 implementations which impressed me the most with their design

New Google services with Material Design

In 2018 Gmail gained new design. Not only was the visual side refreshed – we also obtained several functions. A simple example is a side panel where one can find shortcuts to such applications as a calendar or tasks. Even though it was not a revolutionary change, for me it was a good example of using redesign for creating something more than just pretty pictures.

Samsung One UI

Admittedly, one cannot talk about the implementation yet as new Samsung interface design is still in the beta stage. However, what they have showed so far promises to be quite interesting. The idea is great – the interface is about to help focus our attention on the most important things and the interactions are available at one’s fingertips. One UI is an idea of solving the problem of bigger and bigger screens of our smartphones and the fact that it is becoming more difficult to use them with one hand only.

Apple Pay in Poland

The users of devices with iOS had to wait a little for mobile payments. Since June, Apple Pay is working in Poland and we have an occasion of making mobile payments with our own iPhone and Apple Watch. Not much can be said about the visual side of this implementation but it is surely the one which impressed me.

3 most important challenges web/UX design is about to face

Entering business

Whether we want it or not, a designer creating without taking business into consideration produces only nice pictures. Our wish is to make things which are good, efficient and relevant. We will not create them while closed in design offices and working away from what our customers are up to. Let’s analyze their needs in the same way we do it when it comes to our users.

Golden mean

When talking about becoming acquainted with business, we cannot forget about those who will receive our work. It is easy to go to extremes and make decisions based only on the customer’s opinion or research with users. Moreover, we would like to make things which are esthetic, good and follow the trends. We get more people to cooperate with once we enlarge our team with UX writers and frontend and backend developers. Instead of selling empty slogans (ux, design thinking, research), let’s start cooperating for real and take common responsibility for the project success.

Becoming attracted to research

It is surprising how many times last year I heard from designers, developers and big business owners that they wanted to make a good UX (or were already making it) but they did not need research as they knew their users well enough. Next to ‘we have not time for this’ and ‘we cannot afford this’, these are most commonly repeated excuses. Strongly present is still the opinion that in order to conduct the research, one needs a large amount of resources, time and professional equipment. Luckily for our customers, the research is a standard and talking with users is naturally imbedded in the project process. Thanks to this, the project realization is…cheaper in the end. Hopefully, such an approach shall become common soon.

3 events that influenced web/UX design the most in 2018

GDPR comes into operation

GDPR meaning a lot of windows popping up and torturing the users. New rules have proved that when designing websites we tend not to think about the users but about ticking the tasks and fulfilling legal requirements, as apart from GDPR-windows we also got push notifications, more information about cookies, newsletters subscription offers or requests for liking a given Facebook account. The user of 2018 had to click ‘a bit’ in order to get to the content they were looking for.

Field development

Quite comforting is the fact that in our country (and in others as well) organized is more and more events connected with creating products and services. Created are new faculties, schools and courses available for designers, developers or product managers. The practice in our work is not to be overestimated. Yet, the theory cannot the forgotten too. There are plenty of solutions apart from education. Occurring on the market are new programs for prototyping, animation, interface or, simply, for supporting project processes, so we finally have something to choose from. Creating digital products does not require buying extremely expensive soft anymore. Thanks to bigger and bigger competition among software types we get new, interesting functions – just prototyping with the use of voice thanks to Adobe XD (still basic but I hope it will be developed later on).

PSD2 Directive

Adopting EU directive probably is not the most fascinating topic among web designers but it surely is an important one and influences what is and will be happening on the payment market in EU. Making the access to bank customers’ bills and payments easier for the third parties is primarily dynamic development of this sector and new challenges facing the Internet banking. This means new investments, new projects and intensive work on searching for innovative solutions. It is worth observing financial and fintech sectors right now.

Technological novelties and web design/UX in 2019

I do not want to write about visuals on purpose – these remain rather unchanged and temporary delight with particular effects (large typography, animations and non-obvious arrangements) are usually… just temporary. Following the trends blindly often affects the solution usability and as a consequence we get a beautifully decorated candy we cannot unwrap.

Availability

At least I hope so. In December 2018 the government adopted the project of bill concerning digital availability of websites and mobile applications of public entities. What does it mean? Till 2020 digital products of government and council administration have to be adjusted to people with special needs. I do not believe in super revolutions but it surely is a step towards a good direction. And time for changes as they are definitely necessary. Updating services is an occasion for working not only upon visual layer but mainly upon usability. I hope that public entities will not be the only ones to make a good move.

Mojave Dark Mode

The end of the year combined with Mojave update gave us a dark version of a system. Whether we like Dark Mode or not, it is expected that some applications will start preparing their versions in this mode. Both Chrome and Facebook have already announced that so not much time is to pass before we see the fruits of their followers’ work.

Updated Material Design

After 4 years, the design system from Google gained stronger refreshment. And one crucial change, taking interface into consideration. Characteristic for such a style text fields (in the form of a simple line) disappeared and they were replaced with more catchy framed fields. Does it mean that minimalistic components shall slowly disappear? Time will show but one can surely say that the interfaces Google shows will not go unnoticed.

Originally, the text was published in the nowymarketing.pl service.