What are the top 2016-2017 UX/UI design white papers and trends for interactive or immersive websites?
1. 360º video
Although virtual reality (VR) technologies has been a major trend in the past few years, the major trend in 2017 related to VR was the use of VR in web design by creating 360º video and interactive design elements like the Peugeot 208’s promo campaign that showcases a new product. As a result of the campaign, more than 1680 prospects signed up for test drives, 80 percent of consumers said they were more likely to buy a Peugeot in future and the video got more than 8.5 million views on YouTube. The forerunners of this trend are Google’s Daydream VR headset, Playstation, HTC, and Microsoft.
2. Card design
In 2017, there was a noticeable push for a free, controlled-chaos layout with unique locations of elements and a marked dissonance of dependency. First popularized by Pinterest, the card design layouts is a popular trend because of its simplicity, organization, flexibility and responsiveness. The grid layouts are particularly suitable for pages with an abundance of data, as they make the information more accessible and enticing. The websites utilizing this trend are Vice, Tumblr, and Dribbble.
3. AI-powered chatbots
AI-powered bots getting more realistic and complex, empowering businesses to automate communication and sales. Using tools like Letsclap, online businesses are able to connect with their customers via messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger and provide customized customer support and commerce. This technology is allowing businesses to seem more human and approachable. Other popular applications of AI include voice command responses, and automated features such as AI-fueled website design platforms like WordPress plugins which now rely on AI.
4. authentic photography
Research has shown that stock photography reduces trust amongst the customers. Customers show a higher trust on websites that feature authentic photograph showing real-life photos of employees, high-definition images of products, and original artwork. Depositphotos’ research indicates a growing demand for original, candid images that are easily relatable and capture moments of real life rather than a polished, posed look. For example, use of authentic photography by Exact Target on their landing page resulted in an 40.18 percent increase in their conversions rates.
5. web app
Progressive web apps are combining the best of the web and mobile apps and taking advantage of the vast web ecosystem, plugins, and community. Web apps are also significantly easier to develop, deploy and maintain than native apps. Plugins like WooCommerce are being used by brands to quickly develop new functionalities customized for their needs. The growing number of plugins and APIs suggest a growing demand for websites adopting web application features and interactive UI elements.
Microinteractions can be used to create new habit loops like Tinder’s swiping actions, present intuitive experiences to the customers and streamline the web interactions. Tools like Proto.io are enabling designers to quickly test and iterate their web and mobile application microinteractions that already work well without actual coding.
7. Hidden Menus
This was a popular trend in 2017 amongst websites and apps. The most popular elements of the hidden menu included using contrasting colors for navigational options, oversized typography or all caps for menu options, and using the hamburger menu to open and “X” to close.
The global wearable devices market was $4.2 billion in 2017 and included smart watches, fitness trackers, and smart glasses. The growth of wearable tech is creating demand for new website design elements like the “container design” which prioritizes one piece of information at a time by putting it in a “container” on the main page and then stacking other containers within the layout in different ways. Container interfaces boast simple UI, and make cross-device browsing simple.
9. Voice-enabled technologies
Gartner reported that one of the upcoming trends for 2018 is voice-user interfacing and voice-command searches. This would include highly sophisticated speech recognition and processing capabilities which make UX simpler, more predictable, and more personalized.
Most of the white papers related to UX/UI are behind paywall. One of the publicly available research paper is "User Experience Research and Market Research".
* Case Studies
1. Rich Brown
This project was a collaboration between Rich, a UK based Art Director and Jordan Woolnough of UK based Grit Digital. The goal of the project was to create an impressive mobile focused experience showcasing Rich’s work. The main technologies used are SASS, Gulp and BrowserSync.
This project included the creation of an inclusive website for Bear Grylls that conveyed a sense of adventure and fun. Beside regular technologies like HTML and CSS, the campaign utilized a plug-in called StorySteam API for their user generated campaign.
This project was a collaboration between Fabio, a Creative Developer from Italy, and French Art Director Coraline. The primary goal of the project was to provide the users a real experience and make the navigation more playful.
* Strategy Decks
General Assembly states that IoT will bring together the physical product design and technology UI. Although some devices won't have a screen or digital interface, they would require UX/UI design. For example, although wind generators that are optimized with sensors and using algorithms to tune their positions to optimize the wind don’t have a user interface, the operator of the generators may have visualizations and interfaces to manage remotely.
2. John Maeda
John Maeda is a seasoned technologist who spent more than a decade at the MIT Media Lab before becoming president of the Rhode Island School of Design and a partner at Kleiner Perkins. He wrote a report titled "Design in Tech" outlining UX/UI design trends.