The Top 10 User Experience Design Trends for 2018

User Experience trends are generally difficult to predict. We typically look to the past to help determine future trends, but this is not always an effective or accurate way of foretelling what trends the next year holds. Here are some trends we anticipate for 2018.

1. User responsive design: Create personalized experiences.

There is a definite trend when it comes to user-responsive design which will continue into 2018. Personalized experiences that stem from chat bots or conversational interfaces are definitely seeing an increase as people are wanting a more customized interaction.

One such example is age-responsive design, a feature that tweaks the user’s experience slightly – a change in font size, color, etc. — based on age in order to accommodate younger or older users. This results in an interface that adapts to the user, ensuring ease of use for all.

You can also check out our recent blog talking about environmentally adaptive devices (apps)

It’s a fast paced world, we are always on the move with little time or patience to deal with figuring out new things,...

2. Voice interfaces

voice command

Voice User Interfaces have seen a definite rise in popularity with features such as Siri, OK Google, and Amazon’s Alexa. These are incredibly useful when typing is not possible. They can also be a valuable tool when the user is unable to keep their visual attention on the screen because they’re engaged in another activity.

Voice User Interfaces can help simplify user experience by eliminating the need to type. As such, user experience is simplified as well as expedited. The increase in the use of Voice User Interfaces will likely continue into 2018 as a result of its practicality in these situations.

3. Cloud based apps

We are seeing a steady increase in 2017 of cloud based apps and 2018 will be no different. Many newer apps require a lot of storage so the use of cloud based storage is unavoidable. Being connected to the cloud is also a factor to consider for apps that are linked to the IoT.

With many of us using a variety of devices, cloud based apps also allow for more seamless and secure transitions between devices

4. No more hamburger menu

They may seem insignificant, but eliminating hamburger menus from your apps will increase navigation clicks. While it’s easy to use and loved by many, Spotify found that eliminating the hamburger menu from their app increased their navigation clicks by 30%. This is a significant difference. YouTube did away with them and switched to a tab-based menu, greatly improving user friendliness.

These example shows that even features that seem to be popular can have a negative effect of app engagement. We anticipate that in 2018, more apps will do away with the hamburger menu.

5. No more passwords

password

You’re probably sensing a trend here in that most predictions for 2018 deal with making user experience simpler and more straightforward. Remembering a litany of passwords can certainly complicate user experience.

In 2018, we can expect that many services will migrate from the use of passwords to verification codes in order to make authentication a little easier. The year will also continue to bring an expectation by users of more effortless authentication methods.

6. More attention to color and typography

Mobile and desktop screens differ (most obviously in size) so what works well in terms of color and typography for a smaller mobile screen won’t work as well for a large desktop screen. We have a tendency to scroll through content more quickly when looking at a mobile screen simply because using a mouse is slower than thumb scrolling.

For this reason, text on a mobile device needs to be very clear, with color choices that make it easy to read text even when thumb scrolling through it quickly. Typography is important here and we can anticipate more importance placed on it in order to improve clarity across all devices.

7. Push notifications: focusing on getting back to our lives

We’ve seen it already with a few apps such as in the “Mic” news app. We think developers will actually be creating apps to get you off your device and back into the world. We are actually working with a client now doing an app to do just this for launch in 2018. Check back for more updates on this in the future.

8. Synesthetic feedback: Uniting the senses in user experience

coffee grounds

Whether users feel this oversteps some boundaries or not, you have to admit this is very exciting. Synesthesia (meaning “union of the senses”) refers to eliciting a sensation in one sense by stimulating another. People with synesthesia may hear a certain word and then involuntarily experience a certain unrelated taste. For example, in lexical-gustatory synesthesia, the word “table” may taste like apples.  

Scientists are trying to determine how the neural pathways in people with synesthesia differ from those without the condition. Using this information, UX designers can plan to integrate synesthetic feedback into their user experience.

For example the image above, did this elicit the perception of a certain scent? Perhaps the smell of fresh coffee? or the smell of fresh coffee beans you’ve just opened? These types of perceptions can add to the experience of future applications.

9. More movement

By this, we mean literally more movement. Many apps and websites have a multitude of things vying for our attention. Images that move will ultimately win out. Apps will focus on incorporating more movement when important information or other features not to be missed are concerned. Ads will certainly benefit from standing out by incorporating movement.

One thing to note is that excess movement can have the unintended effect of overwhelming the user. Movement needs to be obvious enough to notice, but subtle enough not to be off-putting.

10. Android first

Sorry Apple (I’m an iPhone guy myself), but presently, 79% of mobile developers choose Android over iOS when building apps. There’s no reason to believe this trend won’t continue well into 2018 and beyond. It’s anticipated that by 2020, Google Play’s downloads will exceed those of the App Store.

Several factors are at play here. Android’s sales are greatly supported by growing smartphone sales in emerging markets such as India. Furthermore, vendors are showing a preference for Android, particularly for its attention to security and improved OS.


While we can’t predict future UX design trends with 100 percent certainty, we can look at past trends to help determine future ones. With a focus on streamlining and simplifying user experience, we hope many – if not all – of these predictions come to fruition.

Let us know your thoughts on what you think will be trending next year.

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2 Comments

  • Wes says:

    Android first, unless you want to make money.

    • Matthew Talebi says:

      @wes Our observation wasn’t really about monetization, but more on the fact that as Google solidifies their operating system and design style guides…they could very well become a leader in development process. These are our musings and may or may not come to fruition, only time will tell 🙂

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