With the growing demand of apps and websites, the focus is shifting towards boosting user experience, and it can only be done through thoughtful, accurate and inspired UI/UX design. The competition is getting pretty rough, so let’s not waste time and get straight down to business.

In this article we’ll examine the difference between UI and UX design, as well as shed the light on 5 top trending ideas in the field you need to employ in 2021.

UI and UX: What’s the Difference?

To begin with let’s decipher these notions — UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience). Although being buzzwords for a long time, these two words still remain one of the most confused terms that are often used interchangeably, though being two separate notions. So let’s get it clear once and for all.

UX is a broader term and it includes UI. To quote Don Norman, first to coin a term “user experience”: “UX design incorporates all the aspects of the end-user’s experience regarding the company, its products, and/or its services”.

“Generally speaking, we can apply UX to anything the user can experience: whether it’s a mobile app, or a pen, or a visit to the shop. The goal of UX design is to reach the end-user’s desires and requirements when interacting with a product, a website or an app,” said Luke Brown, UI & UX designer at Speedy Paper.

UI is a specifically digital term regarding user’s interaction with a digital product/service. UI design is about making the experience interactive and intuitive. Perfecting icons, buttons, color schemes, spacing, imagery — this all UI design.

Minimalism, Dark Mode and Voice Command

The more we’re plunging into technology, the more intuitive it’s becoming. This is the reason why we’ll see simpler designs more. Especially, with the wearables starting to pave their ways into our daily routines.

With the rising amount of time being spent online, users are more and more aware of their eye health. Needless to say that dark mode is on point. Not to mention the fact that it’s stylish, saves battery power and is awesome for highlighting the important elements.

When it comes to voice command there’s no need to beat around the bush explaining why it’s trending, as the statistics speaks for itself:

According to Google’s Mobile Voice Study, over half of US teenagers use voice search regularly.

It’s predicted that by 2021 half of searches will be done not using a screen or a keyboard.

Optimization Towards One-Step Action

Undoubtedly, the user’s attention is becoming more and more difficult to hook. If your website or app loses potential users at “the filling out the form” stage, then something is definitely too cluttered or difficult.

For this reason, another leading trend in 2021 is paving the way toward one-step action instead of several steps and forms. A consumer wants to get what they want quickly within several clicks, otherwise the heated desire to obtain something will fade away and a company will lose a potential buyer.

Bring End-User Involvement to Its Maximum

While it’s already become a common practice to include UI teams in planning sessions, and benefiting from priceless hands-on feedback, not all companies understand the significance of end-user involvement.

If a company wants to create a powerful, catchy, interactive and intuitive product, it’s essential to engage the end-user as much as possible. The top trend is to interest your target audience in the design process. The easiest way is to employ A/B testing and get the valuable feedback before the product is released. Knowing your audience is the key to driving much revenue, so it’s vital to engage them in the process of UX/UI design.

Combining UX Design with Behavioral Design To Boost Retention

Another leading trend is adding behavioral design to common UX principles to increase user retention. To put it short, behavioral design uses the principles of behavioral psychology. That is to say, it takes user’s habits and turns them into so-called habit loops. It works like this: certain behavior — reward — certain behavior. 

For example, a well-designed habit loop will encourage a user to open an app, perform some regular action there and then receive a kind of reward. Rewards are presented variably, so that the user doesn’t know exactly when they’ll receive it, but they know that they will. Rewards may include anything, whether it’s an ego-boost with “likes”, or pleasant anticipation after hearing a particular sound alert informing about a message, or new info coming.

So the combination of UX secrets and behavioral design is becoming a new trend, as a well-thought-out habit loop boosts regular interaction with an application. In turn it results in better retention.

Embracing The Post-COVID-19 Desires and Requirements

Let’s face it: COVID-19 has brought tons of changes, and UI/UX design isn’t an exception. The way people interact with technology is already transforming, and this interaction is shaping UI/UX trends.

Needless to say, users are interested in touchless interactions as never before. Whether it’s going to be voice command, air gesture control, or more geeky eye moving command, one thing is definite — it should be less touching.

Another trend booming due to COVID-19 is going to be augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). It’s no longer only about gaming or entertainment, as AR and VR have already paved their way into healthcare and education. For instance, online doctor consultation or live stream of operation being performed by professional surgeons for medical students.

Final Thoughts

It’s obvious that we’re living in an ever-changing era with the latest trends appearing daily. For this reason, it’s essential to make the hay while the sun rises, leave all the doubts behind, experiment with several UI/UX trending principles to make the best of it. We hope you’ve found a few tendencies that will work for your product and your business.