July 5, 2017 James Burke

5 Digital Design Trends That Are Changing The User Experience

A look into 5 digital design trends that create an everlasting digital user experience.

We see design trends everywhere. Everything we see in magazines, restaurants, shops, and home interiors, to runways, advertising, media, browsers and more, continually educates our eye on the evolution and trends of design. Sometimes the evolution is recycling trends from the past, and sometimes we see new trends. From Pharrell Williams’ hat and a comeback of culottes on the runways, to the return of the vintage edison light bulb and the new eco-friendly, sleek Tesla–all exciting trends that keep our eyes engaged and our minds thinking. Can I pull off a Pharrell hat or those culottes in my closet from ten years ago? Tesla or BMW? Should I update my kitchen pendants? All great questions, of course. Design trends keep decisions interesting!

Trends come and go, and some stay longer than others, some even stand the test of time. As quickly as some trends come to life and stick around, they can just as quickly disappear. As in the case of the ever so popular chevron pattern, Atlanta interior designer Kerry Howard says, “You know it’s time to kill the trend when you can buy a Crock-Pot with a chevron pattern on it.”

Digital design trends have come a long way. 10 years ago I was presenting comps with 8pt sized, Arial body copy, and unrealistic glossy bevels–shameful! 768 was a standard width, and Flash sites took over the web with overly animated and distracting content presentation. Design has come a long way and trends can have a lasting effect on design because they actually contribute to the user experience and serve a real purpose. There are lots of digital design trends and predictions for 2015/2016, but some are so powerful that you can already see their lasting effect in the digital space because they work–they are so effective that they are sculpting our digital experience. Here are five trends that are sticking around and for good reason:

1. Rethinking the “Page” Experience

We are seeing a major push of one-page websites, and it’s because we are adapting to the scroll and placing multiple containers of simple information on one page. Content simplification and the user being comfortable with scrolling is allowing designers to explore new ways to present the dynamic content, i.e. a persistent background and the content scrolling, or sticky navigation that slides in new information. There are so many more interesting options to explore now with content presentation and the thinking is stepping away from the “page” experience and stepping into a dynamic one.

2. Responsive is a Standard

Remember when we were building a desktop site experience and a mobile experience? Well, no longer. With so many devices out there, the adoption of responsive is essential and key to a fluid digital experience.

3. Personalization

Digital experience are becoming more personal. Between pinning a users location to what they surfed for yesterday, sites are customizing information that is relevant the user. This is obviously quite popular in the retail industry, but we’ll start to see this push in other areas such as health, finance, and really any site that a user frequents and/or has a log in. This personalization is making the digital space more comfortable and engaging–forming a relationship with the user.

4. Big, Beautiful Images

We’re seeing a lot of fantastic imagery on the web these days, and users are loving it. High retina displays are showcasing bold, beautiful full screen images that captivate the users, keep the experience interesting, and increase engagement. Images themselves have come a long way on the web, and are not posed, flat or boring. More and more they are incredibly interesting and focus on real, relatable people, situations and landscapes. Imagery is telling a story and it’s capturing users and encouraging them to interact and seek more.

5. Video

More than an image, a video can target several audiences and emphasize several different messages. Videos are becoming more and more common on the web and they are not overly staged or produced, but again are realistic snapshots of engaged moments, activities and landscapes. They are insightful and allow a user to instantly get a deeper look into the brand.

Trend awareness is a standard for the design team at Consensus. We’re continually seeking out the latest and greatest digital design trends, and not only finding them but truly understanding them and only applying trends to the user experience when it not only works, but makes the experience better.



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