When people think of design trends, they typically start along the lines of minimalism, monochrome and mixed typography.
While visual design is important — it contributes to your brand and impacts people’s first impression of your company — how users respond to the design is more important.
User experience (UX) design is the intentional effort of a designer or design team to curate an experience for users both online and offline. It’s more than just a single component of brand and is instead the sum of a how users feel about engaging with your company.
Here are four user experience design trends that will help your company better communicate with your audience.
Designing to Build Trust
The rise of fake news and misinformation going viral has made people cynical about the content they see online. Because of that, the way companies communicate with their audiences needs to shift.
While we can’t completely control the way others perceive us, we can control how we present ourselves in order to be helpful and gain trust.
The inbound methodology does that naturally: instead of selling your product to anyone who will bite, companies taking the inbound approach instead focus on teaching users the benefits of their product and company in order to help users determine if their solution is the right fit.
Design is a Team Sport
Instead of having a single designer responsible for everything, companies are working to be more collaborative, and that means expanding who they work with beyond just other designers.
End-users are typically not designers, so when you only collaborate with other designers, you’re not getting an accurate representation of how your customers will respond to your website.
Working with other people will expose you to varying points of view and strengthen the final product. However, it’s important to have guardrails in place around your collaborative process because otherwise feedback loops can spiral and be unproductive rather than useful.
Growing Emphasis on Design Leadership
UX design has become widely accepted, and the novelty of the concept has worn off. Everyone is aware of the importance of UX. However, there’s still an opportunity for growth in regards to design leadership, particularly in the UX space.
Being a design leader isn’t about being a rockstar designer, but rather being able to question others and elevate the group instead of focusing on their individual output. Companies need design leaders who push past the current trends to align their organizations around how to best communicate to users.
The concept of narrative design originally comes from the videogame industry, where narrative designers are responsible for developing the story players experience and defining how it will be delivered to them.
But, the practice of using a story to guide users through the buyer’s journey is becoming more prevalent in marketing now. Narrative design isn’t just content or customized conversion paths. It’s a combination of every aspect of design, user experience and storytelling all tied together to deliver the most value to the user and create a consistent, deliberate brand narrative.
If you can truly immerse users in a narrative where they’re facing a problem and your company can provide them with the solution, then you’re well-positioned to rise above your competitors.
At the end of the day, design is communication. The way we’re presenting something, the format, the content, the art — all those aspects work together to communicate a message to our audience.
While the hot trends in design change year after year, communication is a thread that’s timeless and ever present. So, instead of focusing on how to be the most up to date with visual trends or how to incorporate the newest technological innovations, strong design prioritizes effectively communicating with users.
Kelly is the Manager of Web Strategy at New Breed.
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