Sometimes, global events transform processes in society and lead to major changes in design, including UI design. An example of such an event is the global COVID-19 pandemic, which began in 2019 and continues to this day. Although it is receding due to vaccines and increasing herd immunity, many of the changes it has brought will remain with us and become the new norm.
As UI designers, we must take these changes into account and prepare for future trends. To understand what may await us after the pandemic, let’s first look back at the UI/UX trends from the beginning of 2021 and see which ones are still relevant.
Review of Recent Trends
Here are some of the design trends dating from the start of 2021.
Top UI Design Trends
- Bright and colorful hues on a white background
- Creative and relevant images of people
- Nature and stability
- Multiple fixed-size cards
- Massive typography
Top UX Design Trends
- Interface accessibility
- UX writing
- Remote UX research
- VUI and voice search
- Rise of VR and AR
Design Trends Gaining Momentum
Let’s look at the general design trends currently in demand and use them to try to predict the UI and UX trends that will be popular post-Covid.
#1 Social Distancing
Social distancing is one of the first restrictions that affected people all over the world. Keeping your distance is now mandatory and necessary, so applications that replace real-life communication or help minimize it will continue to develop rapidly.
#2 Devices That Require Direct Contact Will Be Replaced by Contactless Ones
Touching surfaces where the virus may be present is one problem designers are working on. Therefore, post-Covid, interfaces with touchscreens will be replaced by contactless ones.
#3 New Products and Services with a Pro-Social Mission
The development of interfaces for solutions that help people find work, housing, food, and ways to keep themselves busy is trending right now. Examples of such products include software applications for food delivery or take-aways, and applications for job searches or remote work.
#4 Out-of-Home (OOH) Brand Strategies Will Go Hyperlocal
Since there are many restrictions all over the world (limited transportation, office work, etc.), many companies are restructuring and switching to a remote mode. Their development is now highly dependent on promotion on the Internet and the presence of a quality website or application. Therefore, the trend of transferring business online will continue, and many new applications will replace our usual offline activities.
A List of Post-Covid UI Design Trends
Taking into account the current trends in UI design, we can come up with the following list of post-Covid trends:
#1 Friendly, Playful, Optimistic Design
After the recent abundance of bad news and long-term restrictions, people will want apps with colorful, vibrant interfaces that can improve their mood and create a positive experience.
A vibrant color palette with unique graphics will encourage your users to open your app more frequently.
#2 Focus On the Environment and Design Inspired by Nature
After the pandemic hit, people began to walk more and ride bicycles and scooters to experience social interaction again and offset their confinement of working from home. Some have reconsidered the meaning of nature, and many have begun to pay attention to what’s happening around them. As a result, applications with shapes and palettes inspired by nature and the use of hand-drawn illustrations that convey the values
#3 Nostalgia and Retro
Quarantine stress made people think about the good old pre-quarantine times. Such thoughts give them a sense of calm and comfort. As a result, designers will continuously use graphics that evoke a feeling of nostalgia, retro fonts, palettes, and patterns that, in general, will remind users of pre-Covid life.
#4 Voice User Interfaces (VUI)
Design is not only about visual effects, animations, fonts, etc. The popularity of VUI is rapidly increasing, as it’s a great way to impress the user and be remembered. Voice interfaces are widely used in applications for translating, taking notes, and other apps where users need to leave messages. It’s more convenient for the user to input a message by voice in situations like when they’re driving, or they’re otherwise unable to type.
#5 Authenticity and Honesty Towards the User
Because of the information overload during the pandemic, people are tired of disinformation and constant analysis of the news. They’re looking for a sense of truth and authenticity, a sense of caring. They want to engage with brands that care about their problems. Therefore, graphics about social topics, and photos of real people with real problems, will be in high demand.
During the pandemic, people realized the importance of communicating with friends and colleagues. So there will be an ongoing trend in services that simplify human interaction at a distance.
#7 Artistic Typography
People’s desire post-Covid for something brighter and funnier will also be reflected in typography styles. We’ll see an increase in the use of bright fonts in interfaces with unusual shapes that resemble different characters. Designers will also widely use volumetric fonts and different styles.
#8 3D Illustrations and Graphics
Over the past few years, 3D graphics have been gaining momentum, and their use in interfaces will increase even more after the pandemic. Using 3D helps blur the line between 2D interface elements and the real world. Consequently, 3D design elements create a feeling of comfort.
It’s been easy to find animation in interfaces for several years now, but it will be especially popular in the post-Covid period. Animation not only directs the user’s attention in the right sequence but also makes your product unique and stand out from the numerous other companies that took their business online because of the pandemic.
#10 The Use of Metallic Effects
During the pandemic, many people began to give preference to comfortable clothes. The lack of luxury and elegance will result in some companies adding luxury elements to the designs of their applications. A good way to add shine and shape is to use a metallic effect and textures that mimic a metallic surface.
#11 Video Communication
As we all know, communication via video calls has become commonplace. After the pandemic, video communication will remain and video calls and chats will increasingly be in demand in designs As a result, the interactions with brands will improve as users receive better service or advice through video consultations. The interfaces will contain functionality that replaces offline consultations, which will help companies cut costs.
There will also be a lot of growth in team collaboration apps. Since many companies have redesigned their processes and are discussing work via video calls, we will see the growth of applications for team interaction and communication via video.
A List of Post-Covid UX Design Trends
Of course, post-Covid UI trends are closely related to the post-Covid UX trends, and here’s the list.
#1 Interface accessibility
One of the popular trends observed at the beginning of 2021 is the accessibility of interfaces or, in other words, the development of a design that focuses on how a person with disabilities gains access to the site, interacts with it, performs the necessary tasks, or benefits. The elements and options that have become popular are larger fonts, special themes for interfaces with different color variations, disabling animations, etc. In general, the accessibility of interfaces should always be kept in the field of attention of designers and not just be a temporary trend. But in this context, accessibility is becoming popular, and paying attention to this problem is a post-Covid trend.
#2 UX writing
At the beginning of 2021, a particularly interesting trend was UX writing, i.e., writing human-centered texts that help users complete tasks in any digital product, regardless of platform. In addition, this is the part of the design that will undoubtedly add personality to your product and help convey the necessary emotions to the user. Does your product need to be serious or playful and fun, child-centered or educational? In each example, writing well-thought-out copies has a huge impact on the desired design impression.
#3 Remote UX research
The pandemic has brought many changes, and it’s hard not to say about remote UX research. Previously, designers had many choices for interviewing and testing their designs or collecting the necessary data: online forms, video calls, and offline formats. It was the offline format that was almost completely limited due to the coronavirus and social distancing. Against these changes, remote research has greatly increased, and now this format has become a trend.
#4 VUI and voice search
At the beginning of 2021, we saw an increase in the number of interfaces based on voice input. Voice assistants are becoming more literate, and the usability of software applications is getting better and more comfortable every day. This shapes one of the significant user experience trends that inevitably affect the design of interfaces (see examples above).
#5 Rise of VR and AR
Partly because people are limited in movement during quarantine and partly because of its benefits, augmented and virtual reality is definitely a trend in 2021. First of all, we’ve seen the rapid growth of games based on augmented reality, which adds an entirely new experience of interacting with the interface and surrounding objects. Also, more and more applications help the user perform various tasks much more conveniently. Examples are navigation, training, information displaying, and many other areas where augmented or virtual reality can greatly improve the perception of design for users.
What to Do Now to Prepare for Post-Covid Design
To develop products of higher quality and better design, you need to understand people and their fears and needs. The pandemic brought a lot of chaos and upheaval that affected people and their perception of the world. In the post-Covid period, people will want bright colors and impressions, positive emotions, and communication, so future designs will have to provide them.
To understand which design you need, you need to pay more attention to researching users and their behavior. In the post-Covid period, we’ll see an increase in the use of bright graphics, realistic photos, and 3D illustrations that add uniqueness to products. If your design gives users the feeling that the brand cares about them and their problems, they will definitely appreciate it – and your product will be trendy. Contact us if you need a helping hand in updating your design to the latest UI\UX trends.