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Review of Popular Interface Design Trends in 2017

The new year 2018 is closer and closer, so stepping into a phase of fresh challenges and new horizons, we would like to look back and remember what the ending year has been marked out with. Here we’ve gathered the collection of trends which won the big place in web and mobile interfaces of 2017 supporting most of them by designs from Tubik team.

 

Functional minimalism

 

Quite a big number of mobile applications and websites continued and evolved design solutions based on the principles of minimalism. Minimalist interfaces are characterized with thorough attention to visual elements, not numerous but always transferring a particular message.

 

Major features often mentioned in terms of minimalism approach include:

  • Simplicity
  • Clarity
  • Expressive visual hierarchy
  • High attention to proportions and composition
  • Functionality of every element
  • Big amount of spare space
  • High attention ratio to core details
  • Typography as a significant design element
  • Eliminating non-functional decorative elements

 

Surely, the list can be continued but even the given positions show that minimalism in UI appears to be a user-friendly trend. Applied wisely, it helps to see the core elements of the interface and makes user journey intuitive and purposeful. Moreover, minimalist interfaces usually look sophisticated and uncluttered bringing aesthetic satisfaction as one of the factors of desirability in UX.

 

UI animation wine app

 

Brutalism

 

The trend of brutalism in digital design started rocketing last year and got even brighter expressions in 2017. It is often described as a style that aims at breaking standards and predictable design techniques. The websites created in this manner are a sort of rebellion to sophisticated designs with thought-out symmetry and harmony, complex layouts and accents of aesthetic visual performance. In contrast, brutalism is based on simple and raw appearance, in most cases not loaded with many visual details and sometimes even close to a plain HTML page. Being used thoughtfully for the appropriate goals and audience, it features the high level of originality and gives the unique look to a digital product. It may be liked or disliked, but it is never left unnoticed.

 

Typography integrated into images

 

Bold and catchy typography also kept its high presence both in web and mobile layouts. This year it got a new breath with a widely spread technique of cutting or inscribing the title keyword or a headline into the visual elements on the page. The approach strengthens the harmonic integrity of the layout elements and makes typography felt tightly united with everything in the interface.

 

web ui design city guide

 

Animated hero banners

 

In web design, hero banners are big images catching user’s attention in the first seconds of interaction with a website. They usually contribute much to the attractive visual presentation of the main content. Hero banners proved themselves as highly effective in setting the mood or transferring the message. Moreover, as well as any other striking graphics on web pages, this is a kind of content which is both informative and emotionally appealing. Prominent hero banners can satisfy multiple goals such as:

  • catch users’ attention
  • transfer the message visually
  • support the general stylistic concept
  • set the needed theme, mood or atmosphere
  • demonstrate the core benefits or items effectively.

 

This year they were often strengthened with original animation breathing life into images and making them even more engaging.

 

dance academy landing page animation

 

Custom theme illustrations

 

Accomplished in different styles and complexity level, custom illustrations are actively covering more and more space on web and mobile UI, adding the quick perception of the information and setting the solid ground for originality. Web and mobile interfaces apply custom mascotsicons and  illustrations to enhance the looks of a page or screen as well as boost usability and intuitive navigation. In addition, images improve the accessibility of UX design pushing the limits of perception for users who have natural problems with text recognition such as, for instance, the dyslexic or non-reading preschoolers.

 

The highest diversity here, perhaps, was featured in theme illustrations supporting websites and apps. They appeared to move to the next level, becoming more complex, sophisticated, stylish, and metaphorical.

 

financial_service_website_tubik

 

Unframed layout

 

Big background images or patterns without any frames have been observed quite frequently in the web interfaces this year. It allowed users to feel the layouts more airy and spacious while the background image deeper and stronger not breaking the interaction with the feeling of boundaries or limits.

 

Big City Guide tubik

 

Variety of interface animation

 

As well as in the previous year, 2017 didn’t experience any loss in the issue of interface animation. Not only does it add life and motion to the interaction process but also significantly improves usability. User experience becomes more informative and engaging while manipulations with the elements of interaction get more clear and respond to the user in an understandable way. So, this year designers worked well on a variety of buttons, tabs, charts, preloaders and scroll animations.

 

watering_tracker_app_ui_tubik

 

UI-friendly branding

 

2017 could be definitely mentioned as the year of rebranding: a big number of global and local companies, products and brands changed their logos mostly towards simplification of forms and details. One of the reasons for the trend was striving for better usability and navigability of brand elements as more and more businesses competed for the higher online presence. So, both new and redesigned logos were created to be more UI-friendly and effectively perceived on a variety of digital devices and layouts. Furthermore, animated logos became a trend making symbols more interactive and strengthening brand awareness.

 

logo_animation_tubik_design

 

 

 

 

Monochrome UI

 

Growing interest in minimalistic design for maximum functionality resulted in a considerable presence of monochrome UI solutions. These layouts usually look stylish, harmonic and non-distractive. However, designers have to invest much time and effort to make them not boring while the core elements of interaction instantly visible.

 

jewellery ecommerce app UI

 

Progress of dark backgrounds

 

Mobile and web interfaces applying color palette with dark background have not only saved but also grown their presence. In particular, they are often applied in the digital products based on visuals rather than copy. Dark backgrounds are traditionally associated with grace and prestige, they deepen the perception of images and can make the interface less contrast and more natural to see in different environments. Moreover, this approach now corresponds to preferences and expectations for quite a broad target audience who like this style.

 

cinema app interaction UI

 

Light space for copy

 

Another trend got especially popular for interfaces based on the dark background scheme. It featured one more approach to proper readability in them which is often the issue of debates: applying boxes or spaces with light background for core data blocks, designers solve this problem and add elegant contrast to the screen or page.

 

watering tracker app design tubik

 

Sophistication and contrast in fonts choice

 

With numerous new fonts created around, user interface designers have a broad field for creative experiments. Today typography is seen as not just the means of communication and sending a message to the user but also the integral part of all the design concept. So, professionals pay much attention to the choice and combination of fonts. This year we experienced new approaches to setting contrast with serif and sans-serif fonts making them work for strong visual hierarchy and appealing beauty of the interface.

 

web design UI tubik studio

 

Experiments with grids

 

With over a billion of websites coming into play, designers have to be more and more creative to make them both attractive and original. So, experiments with grid also won their place in the list of general design trends of the leaving year. The custom grid is the way to save the feeling of harmonic layout and placement of the elements with a higher level of flexibility and originality. However, this sort of creativity requires thorough research while the effective result often comes via several iterations tested and analyzed in terms of usability and visual perception.

 

Variety of landing pages

 

No doubt, this year landing pages have witnessed the new lap of their development and diversity. Businesses and social projects tend to use them regularly for effective presentation of special services, sales, offers or issues striving for focused user’s attention. Landing pages also have proved themselves as an effective method of promotion for native mobile apps. Based on user and market research as well as testing, they can be defined as a user-friendly trend, providing necessary information and interactions in clear and accessible way saving users’ time and effort. From the business perspective, they also work well, giving companies the flexible tool for original and effective communication with better targeting.

 

design agency landing page

 

Creative parallax

 

With more accessible and improved tools for motion design,  scroll animation saved its positions of broadly applied technique both for in web and mobile. Creative and original parallax enhances scrolling experience making it natural for human eye and adding grace for such a basic operation.

mood messenger landing page

 

Promo videos for web marketing

 

Different types of promotional videos were boosted to appear on screens and pages. No wonder as they serve efficiently for marketing goals and increase brand awareness. A creative and catchy video is a good way of attracting customers’ attention and the proven method of informing them quickly and brightly. A video activates several channels of perception — audio, visual, sound — simultaneously and enhances them with a power of storytelling. All the mentioned factors tend to make the presentation via video strong and memorable especially if based on high-quality graphic design and animation. People are daily overloaded with tons of information of all kinds, so most of them aren’t ready to devote much time learning about products or services, especially the new ones. In these conditions, videos have become the way of communication which is dynamic, informative and attractive. However, the issue of loading speed for a webpage moves forward and should be tested carefully for on different devices.

 

 

Gamification mechanics supporting UX

 

This year has witnessed growing interest to gamification applied in a variety of interfaces, not only for entertainment but also for utilities and business products. In the tech world, the word “gamification” stands for the technique of exerting game mechanics into the non-game environment, such as websites and mobile applications. Challenges, rewards, points, badges, leaderboards and other stuff of this kind help designers to think over the ways of effective user motivation and retaining.

 

upper app UI design case study

 

Boxes and cards as layout elements

 

One more trend in UX design of 2017 moved around the diversity of cards and boxes in web and mobile layouts. They played their essential role in setting visual hierarchy and making the pieces of information quickly scannable. Moreover, they successfully contributed to the general harmony and shapeliness of a page or screen. 

 

bikers website blog

 

Geometric elements as a part of style

 

Supporting the previous trend, geometry vibes got featured in many interfaces this year. Variety of simple and complex shapes, patterns, lines and curves has been found in numerous design solutions on both traditional and innovative combinations.

 

wedding_theme_website_ui_design_tubik

 

Experimental color palettes and combinations

 

The trend of color probes hasn’t lost its popularity, bringing out new original combinations. No wonder, color is one of the most powerful ways to add quickly perceived message and mood to an interface as well as make its looks original and attractive. Anyway, effective color experiments are not just pure creativity: even the most creative and surprising combinations are based on the knowledge of color theory, color psychology and virtuosity of user interface designers. 

 

book swap app interaction design

 

No Lorem Ipsum

 

This year has continued the increasing attention to content quality and performance. In user interfaces, content and design and interconnected: creators have to make them successfully support each other instead of fight for users’ attention. That’s why today more and more designers prefer real content instead of well-known Lorem Ipsum, even in cases of initial ideation for design concepts. It gets designers, clients and content makers closer to real experience and natural feel of interactions.

 

dating_app_landing_page_tubik

 

No doubt, 2017 was the year of diversity in interface design — and this can be called one of the most user-friendly trends. Every day millions of users, having different tastes and preferences, various favorite styles and characters, particular feelings of what is comfortable and looks nice for them, use simple and complex apps and websites as a part of their routine. The more variants of looks and features will be designed, the wider range of diverse options that endless global community of technology users will get to find the one which fits their specific needs and wishes. Anyway, soon we’ll see what the next year will bring out and what new creative challenges it will set for UX designers.


Welcome to see the designs by Tubik Studio on Dribbble and Behance

UI design trends

Review of Popular Design Trends for Interfaces in 2016

The year is going away so fast: seems each day just melts away like a snowflake. Traditionally, before the holidays start, it is the high time to turn away and revise what deserves to be remembered.

 

We have already reviewed the most popular trends and tools for developers in 2016, today the theme will be continued with significant design trends that couldn’t be left without attention. No doubt, this design year was globally dynamic, creative, full of news and events. Having worked over diverse design projects and tasks as well as in-house studio products here in Tubik Studio, we prepared our list of trends in design for web and app interfaces, which got popular this year, illustrating some of the mentioned points with works by studio designers. Let’s get started.

 

Flat design

 

Flat design has significantly grown its presence and diversity this year, both in interface design and branding. The design approach is known for its minimalist and concise use of visual expressive means and has established itself as a style favorable for enhancing usability and visual harmony of user interfaces. The most prominent feature which actually has inspired the name of this direction is applying flat 2-dimensional visual details as the opposite to highly realistic and detailed skeuomorphic images.

The features of flat design supporting its steady popularity in interface design include:

  • simplicity of shapes and elements
  • minimalism
  • functionality
  • bold and highly readable typography
  • clear and strict visual hierarchy
  • close attention to details
  • thoughtful appliance of bright colors and contrast supporting quick visual perception
  • avoiding textures, gradients and complex forms
  • applying the principles of grids, geometric approach and visual balance.

 

ui animation cafe app tubikstudio

 

Here in Tubik we have checked the high potential of flat design for interfaces on practice, with not only numerous outsource projects, but also the iOS app Toonie Alarm, designed and developed by studio team. Thoughtful integration of flat design via diverse interface elements, including icons, illustrations, buttons, tabs and the like, proved itself efficient for making UI bright, attractive, clear, intuitive and easy-to-use.

 

Toonie Alarm UI design

 

Moreover, this year flat design has set the strong link between branding and UI design, mutually supporting each other in digital products.  One of the fields broadly strengthening this trend was creating logos and app icons flat and simplified. This trend has featured itself not only in brand new projects, but also for well-established websites, apps, companies and products, which have presented new redesigned logos and corporate style visuals redesigned according to the principles of flat design.

 

Conversational UI

 

Another broadly discussed trend is conversational UI which has been the object of hot debates and theme for many speeches and case studies this year. Basically, the term «conversational UI» is connected with interfaces that enable users to communicate directly to the system in a way imitating conversation with people. In vast majority of cases, this sort of UI involves voice manipulation and recognition as the part of interaction.

 

More and more products are featuring this sort of functionality: some want it just because it’s trendy and fashionable while others find real ways to engage it for problem-solving objectives. Most often it is realized by chatbots providing a flair of talk to the users. In automated dialogues of this kind, depending on the nature of the product and style of talk which is seen appropriate for the target audience, conversational UI can effectively involve both verbal (language) and non-verbal (emoticons, pictograms etc.) means of communication.

 

Among the advantages of conversational UIs, one of the frequently mentioned is automation of some basic and repetitive operations saving people’s effort for more creative and complex task. It can enhance the usability of the product and even make it proactive, giving prompts to the user and improving interaction with the product. Still, there is the trap to overload the product with this sort of communication, based on standard situations and issues while missing non-typical cases or questions which need different solutions. Moreover, by far not all target users are ready to communicate in that way, so this design solution needs to be grounded on extensive user research and testing from the early stages of user experience design. Conversational UI can easily give zest to a user interface. Yet, if it’s not analyzed and tested well, conversational UI can do the opposite and spoil user experience by poor interaction.

 

Anyway, this year UI designers have thought over new perspectives of applying conversational UI, in particular in combination with AI technologies, and this trend will definitely grow showing new rays of creativity next year. Conversational UI isn’t just another fad: it is the trend providing total or partial changes to certain areas of interaction design and giving alternative approach to problem-solving and decision-making processes.

 

Minimalism

 

This year has given the great bunch of applications and websites designed on the principles of minimalism. They support positive user experience by providing clear and simple interfaces, full of space and air, focused on content and navigation. Minimalist interfaces are characterized with thorough attention to visual elements, not numerous but always transferring a particular message. Minimalist interfaces, both for web and app, also feature sophisticated work with typography and visual hierarchy supporting instant scanning and skimming the content of the page or screen. Moreover, interfaces of this sort usually provide high level of legibility and readability.

 

tubikstudio ui animation website design

 

Custom graphics

 

Desire of originality sprung out in UI design in the area of custom graphic design of all kinds. More and more interfaces apply custom mascots, icons and  illustrations that fulfill multiple goals: adding originality to the visual design concept, enhancing usability, strengthening navigation and marking out the content depending on its nature and functions. Graphic details play crucial role in usability and accessibility of the product and even the slightest changes can bring significant results, speeding up visual perception and understanding interface elements or transitions.

 

Visual perception is one of the most productive and quick ways through which people are able to obtain information and get it processed by the brain. It influences so many aspects of life that neglecting the issue while creating products for users would be extremely unwise. That is why the aspect of applying visual elements of high functionality in the interfaces such as icons and their impact on the general efficiency of the product has been an actual topic in the global design community for a long time. In addition, images push the limits of perception for users who have natural problems with text recognition such as, for instance, the dyslexic or non-reading preschoolers.

 

As for custom illustrations or icons, created for specific products, made according to the preferences and needs of the particular target audience and with a view at certain business goals, they are able to make the product work more efficiently solving users’ pains and satisfying wishes. Perhaps, that is one of the most popular reasons why this trend got so popular in 2016 presenting interesting interfaces with custom graphics of diverse styles and performance.

 

Tubik Studio Weather App

 

Another side of this trend is evolving field of wallpapers for desktops and mobile devices featuring original graphic artworks on a variety of topics. It also can be characterized as user-friendly trend giving users the choice of means for self-expression and satisfying personal aesthetic needs.

 

Animated microinteractions

 

Interface animation is one more hot and debatable topic of this year. Although there is a big army of those who find animation an unnecessary feature overloading user interface and making it more complicated, most users expect motion as an integral part of interaction experience. So, designers and developers work over more and more sophisticated methods to make animation pleasant-looking and problem-solving characteristic of modern apps and websites.

 

One of the frequent methods of adding motion to UI are animated details featuring microinteractions. Microinteractions supported by clear finalization via motion create fast feedback for the user and make the experience positive and efficient while navigation simple and intuitive. Animated buttons, switchers, toggles and other interactive elements inform user in split seconds activating all the potential of fast visual perception.

 

tubik studio button ui

 

As we mentioned in the earlier article, animation in the interface can create pleasant illusion close to natural interaction with physical objects which often doesn’t need too much cognitive process. For example, if you pull the object, press it, move out the tab, the movements should feel natural.  Most users won’t be able to see this sophisticated work accomplished by designers: they will take it for granted and the fact it makes them comfortable will be the biggest praise for design solutions.

toonie switch UI animation

Scroll animation

 

Scroll animation also got new vibes and perspectives of artistic realization. Thought-out movement of layout elements while the webpage is scrolled enhances user experience significantly and creates the harmonic feeling of one integral smooth interaction rather than perceiving several separate parts or blocks of the page. Moreover, this sort of interactions is aesthetically pleasant and engaging, and these emotions are a good factor of retaining users. This year, full of new updates in design tools and software, showed great practices of sophisticated work on scroll animation.

 

Landing Page Animation Tubik Studio

 

Animated tutorials

 

Tutorial is a vital part of onboarding users for most mobile applications. Certainly, a wide variety of means and techniques are applied to make it clear, engaging and informative as it is a strategically important element of involving users into further interaction with a digital product. This year designers combined traditional techniques with new popular findings: in particular, custom illustrations and animation brought new vibes to app tutorials, making them more dynamic and enhancing their informative potential.

 

tutorial interface animation tubik studio

 

Diversity of landing pages

 

Surely, landing pages were discovered much earlier than 2016, still this year has brought the new lap of their development and diversity. More and more businesses and social projects take advantage of using them for effective presentation of special services, sales, offers or issues that need focusing user’s attention. Landing pages have also grown their presence in the Net as the effective method of promotion for native mobile apps. Accomplished wisely and thoughtfully, grounded on user and market research and testing, broad usage of landing pages can be also seen as the other user-friendly trend, providing users with necessary information and interactions in clear and accessible way saving their time and effort. From the business perspective, they also work well, giving businesses the flexible tool for original and effective presentation.

 

web design UI tubik studio

 

Brutalism

 

The trend of brutalism in digital design has rocketed this year getting more and more expressions and diversity. It is often characterized as a webdesign style aiming at breaking standards and predictable design techniques. The websites created in this manner are a sort of rebellion to sophisticated designs with thought-out symmetry and harmony, complex layouts and accents of aesthetic visual performance. Vice versa, brutalism is based on simple and raw appearance, in most cases not loaded with many visual details and sometimes even close to a plain HTML page. Used wisely, for the appropriate goals and audience, this approach can bring high level of originality to the website and make it really stand out of the crowd.

 

Contact List Concept Scrolls Tubik

 

Custom grid

 

According to Internet Live Stats, there are over 1 billion websites in the World Wide Web today. This milestone was first reached in September of 2014, as confirmed by NetCraft in its October 2014 Web Server Survey, and first estimated and announced by Internet Live Stats. The number had subsequently declined, reverting back to a level below 1 billion due to the monthly fluctuations in the count of inactive websites before reaching again and stabilizing above the 1 billion mark starting in March of 2016. With more and more websites coming into play, designers have to be more and more creative to not only make them attractive and harmonic but also give them a feel of uniqueness and original appearance. That is one of the reasons, why experiments with grid also won their place in the list of general design trends of the leaving year. The custom grid is the way to save the feeling of harmonic layout and placement of the elements with a higher level of flexibility and originality. However, this sort of experiment requires thorough research and in many cases, the final result comes via several iterations tested and analyzed in terms of usability and visual perception.

 

 

web design UI concept tubik studio

 

Bold and catchy typography

 

2016 could also be mentioned as the year of further rigorous practice on typography in the global design community. It brought the world loads of new nice typefaces both universal and created with a view to particular objectives or products. Typography continued its progress as one of the crucial aspects of efficient web and app design, and one of the trends in this domain was practices of applying bold and outstanding typography for webpages, catching users’ attention and instantly informing them about the core message. In particular, this approach got its development in the sector of landing pages whose quick and dynamic presentation of core data to users has great influence on conversion rates.

 

tubik_studio_website_ui_bakery

 

Large thematic image

 

One more trend often found in various designs for interfaces is applying prominent images, which could be either photos or illustrations, as the central visual element of the general composition. Important thing is that the image is never just a placeholder of nice looks: it presents a powerful way to strengthen the informative potential of the page or screen, set the theme instantly and focus user’s attention on the significant details. Needless to say, it takes much designer’s effort to choose the one successfully transferring the necessary message and supporting general stylistic concept.

 

UI design trends

 

Handwriting lettering

 

Custom handwriting lettering also got popular as a design trend and is often used for marking out significant details and images in an original way. Special lettering made by professional designers looks fresh and unique, refreshing visual performance of the webpage or screen. On the other hand, being applied in UI design, it demands additional effort to be tested in the layout as it can happen that hand-crafted lettering looks great separately, but doesn’t work effectively in combination with other elements of the interface.

 

Real content instead of Lorem Ipsum

 

This year has featured growing attention to content, its quality and performance. In user interfaces, content and design and interconnected parts that should successfully support each other instead of fighting for users attention. That makes more and more designers prefer applying real content instead of well-known Lorem Ipsum, even in cases of creative stages or presentation of design concepts. It gets designers, clients and users closer to real experience and more natural feel of interactions.

 

landing page UI design tubik studio

 

Videos explaining or presenting products

 

Due to easy access to reviewing videos via YouTube, social networks and other platforms of product presentation, video explainers have quickly established themselves as a popular trend. Naturally, it wouldn’t be logical to neglect such a powerful source of connection with clients and users, so 2016 has brought a great variety of videos presenting the products, companies and services, explaining their benefits and special offers, showing the engaging flow of interaction and connection. They took over the responsibilities of the picture which is worth a thousand words: video explainers quickly show the most important features of the product and let the users know what deserves their attention first of all.

 

Example of video explainer designed by Tubik Studio for Toonie Alarm

 

Example of promotional year-in-review video designed by Tubik Studio for Opera

 

Bright and dark color palettes

 

No secret, color is one of the most powerful and influential factors in UI design. One more trend in UI design deserving a place in the list of this year is a great variety of color palettes designers choose for applications and websites. The diversity of new fonts and typefaces, as well as research of usability studies, allow going beyond standards and trying new combinations which will take advantage of diverse colors but with it won’t lack in usability. More and more creatives are discovering new horizons combining traditional techniques with innovative approaches in the domain of work with color.

 

tubik studio application recipes and cooking

 

To sum up, we can certainly say that in the sphere of UI design 2016 has been the year of creative search and experiments, still most of them were focused on usability and desirability of the final products. No doubt, 2017 will not lose its chance to polish these trends and open the new ones. 


Welcome to read the review of popular trends and tools for developers in 2016

Welcome to see the designs by Tubik Studio on Dribbble and Behance