Marley was dead: to begin with.
For so many, 2021 was a year of introspection squeezed inside a frenzy of work and trying to make it through the day. It was a test of whether the shifts in the ways we work and the work we do would be the new paradigm moving forward… or whether nostalgia for the past was enough to make us run back to it like a warm bed at the end of the day. The answer, like most, lies somewhere in the middle.
But what’s a little introspection without taking that same inquisitive look at design trends? After all, can you really have a design blog without doing any kind of end-of-the-year wrap-up?
For this year’s version, we asked our team to think about design trends of the past, the present, and the future. What do you want to keep around? What do you never want to see again? And where do you hope to be in the future?
The Ghosts of UX Past
No fond memories of years gone by here. The Fuzzy Math team was happy to be rid of these design trends.
Interactive animations: For a while, it felt like just about every website and product had some sort of animation that went along with you as you scrolled or clicked on something. While these animations are sometimes small and subtle, there have been a number of occasions when I’ve gone to a site and every single page had an animation with a delay and then text would fade in…it was a lot.
I hope to never see/hear auto-playing of videos on apps and websites as you scroll down a page. It is very alarming and disruptive (especially when you are night scrolling). Please let me know if this is something you can disable somehow and I just haven’t heard about it.
Very excited to be out of Sketch and into Figma. The amount of collaboration in products that has come out from all of us working remotely has been super helpful and makes it feel more like this whole working from home is not abnormal as it used to be.
The Ghosts of UX Present
Is clinging to the past keeping you from enjoying the good things happening now? Let’s see what current trends our team is loving.
Learning so much about the difference between equity vs equality has really opened my eyes on how to better design for everyone. Really feel like accessibility has become more of a focus this year and excited to see where it goes.
Thinking especially on social media (at least in my little echo chamber) I love seeing apps and content creators embracing, advocating and implementing inclusive design practices. The two that stand out to me the most are the number of people I see including ‘alt text’ or ‘image descriptions’ in their Instagram photos and images and secondly on Instagram and Tik Tok the use of captioning on videos (and hopefully the auto-captioning continues to get better 😄).
Dark Mode: I feel like more products have been embracing the option for dark mode over the past few years and I love it! I especially like having the option for the app to automatically switch over to dark mode at a certain time to save my eyes and give me a visual indicator that it’s time to wind down.
The Ghosts of UX Future
A reminder that the world keeps on moving forward… as we consider what the future of remote work and remote design work looks like, it made us wonder, what trends do we see coming for us in the future?
Better ways to connect digitally (not from just a transactional sense, but also from a human sense). Our industry — among others — is expanding towards a remote-only world and with that comes a loss of that IRL in-person collaboration and bonding that many of us were use to. I don’t think people are looking for a Metaverse, but ask me again in a few years.
More transparency on stats: The Spotify wrapped trend has seeped into other products and it’s been
horrifying interesting to see how much time I’ve been spending on apps and what my actual activity looks like. We all know that companies are collecting our data and watching our moves anyway, but at least seeing these sorts of trends gives me insight into my own activity so I can really assess how I want to be interacting with these products.
I, personally, am very excited to see where the UX of VR goes. Considering UX in virtual spaces has been popping up more and interested to see where it goes. But +1 to what Rachel said, hope that human connection is still consider. Maybe a VR office space will be in the new future (although can’t tell if that scares me or not) 🤔
• • •
Well, there you have it. We’ll have to wait and see what the future will bring for certain — after all, who could have predicted the last few years?! — but whether it’s increased empathy and equity in design, or better ways to connect with others near and far… or even a return to auto-playing music on your MySpace page, we’re happy to be here with you. Have a very happy holidays, from all of us at Fuzzy Math. We’ll see you in the new year!