User experience (UX) design for smartphones and tablets has been a popular topic of conversation in recent years as mobile penetration has increased globally. An estimated 1.75 billion people now use smartphones, so creating a better small screen experience has been a top priority for many business owners. Web design in 2014 focused on improving the user experience with pared down designs that included larger fonts and minimized clutter. As we head towards 2015, there are a number of emerging trends in user experience design that will influence how you think of site design in the year ahead. Here are four tips for companies interested in revamping their websites.
Focus on Scrolling
This year we saw a major shift in site navigation trends. Site designers began moving away from clicking buttons in favor of scrolling through pages. There are a couple of reasons for the shift. Scrolling is a simpler, more natural movement for mobile users browsing websites. As a result, site designers have begun embracing the concept of a continuous flow of text. From a technical perspective, scrolling also cuts down on page load times, which is a critically important point for brands that are interested in broadening their reach with a mobile audience. Reduced page load times help minimize frustration for site users, increasing the likelihood that they’ll spend some time exploring your business website.
Responsive Site Design
User experience designers have also been buzzing about responsive design in recent years, but the concept is becoming increasingly popular. In 2015, responsive site design will no longer be optional; it will become essential. As more consumers turn to their smartphones and tablets to access critical information and interact with brands online, businesses need to develop sites that function optimally across multiple devices in order to keep pace with their competitors. If your company hasn’t embraced the concept of responsive design, there’s still time to make some changes before the New Year.
Personalization is Key
Personal assistant applications like Google Now are gaining steam with mobile users. According to a recent report, 41% of US adults are now using voice search platforms. In part, these platforms focus on creating a customized experience for mobile searchers based on data they share. We’re seeing an extension of this with businesses as well. In recent years, brands have begun using cookies, location data, and web browser histories to create a customized experience for their own site visitors. But as we move towards 2015 and voice search and personal assistant applications become increasingly popular with mobile users, we expect that customization will become a key component of user experience design. More sites will be following YouTube’s example by suggesting content that may be interesting based on past online behaviors.
Shift Towards the Minimal
Another emerging trend in 2014 was the shift towards minimal design. Many site owners began simplifying their sites, turning to larger fonts and eye-catching photos over cluttered and cumbersome text. Quality content is still as important as ever but it should never overwhelm the visitor. Part of the shift towards the minimal is evident in Pinterest-inspired card designs. This transparent approach to design is both simple and attractive, and it started popping up all over the web this year. It also renders well on the smaller screen for mobile users. Minimalistic design is a user experience design trend that isn’t going anywhere in 2015.
Improving the user experience is a top priority for many brands as we move towards 2015. Emerging trends for the coming year include a focus on scrolling instead of clicking, responsive site design, increased personalization, and a shift towards simple, minimalist designs that render well on the small screen. If you are interested in incorporating new design trends to enhance the online experience for your customers, contact us at Be Locally to arrange for a personalized consultation and review of your UX goals.