"In 2017 we will continue to use minimal layouts, and complexion reduction is going to be a big hit. Minimalist design aims to address problems for the users through clear visual communication — by focusing more on bringing forth the user content rather than the UI."
My thoughts: probably true, especially for most consumer apps and web apps. Minimalism sets the user focus on getting something done, and eliminates the clutter and distraction. Where I do not see minimal UI and UX is in corporate created and corporate facing web sites and apps, especially those that deal with big data. Minimalist UI doesn't scale well. Not to say you can't make a simpler design for any corporate web app, but for many power users they WANT to see more data, and more information lets them get their work done. Where corporations are in desperate need of minimal UI however, is in their internal sites, which tend to be a large barf of everything the HR departments thinks of to show employees how much they care. As an employee of such a company, I want to know very little of what I see in our corporate intranet pages, even in my own group.
2. More Microinteractions
"The internet has talked a lot about microinteractions in 2016, and they will continue to trend in 2017. Microinteractions, typically in the form of subtle animations, are playing a vital role in UX design especially on mobile devices where we engage in thousands of microinteractions every time we use our apps."
My thoughts: I agree for the most part, and they will appear everywhere whether or not it's appropriate. My hope is that UX Designers realize microinteractions should be used to help the user with tasks, and not use them as decoration or "because it looks cool." A good example is what I call the "happy bounce" - when panels appear from the right or left and bounce off some invisible far wall before they settle down to let you work. Please - what purpose does that serve? It's like walking into a party and announcing that you've walked into the party.
3. Video Becomes King
"Vision is said to be the strongest of all human senses. Imagery has long been a staple of user interface design, and its success has slowly paved the way for its natural successor – video. They say a picture paints a thousand words, but a video does that tenfold and there’s a good reason for that — while traditional imagery is static, video is dynamic."
My thoughts: God I hope not. It may be because I'm older and don't have ADD, but I find autoplay full page video backgrounds really annoying and overwhelming, unless they are done for sites that promote videos. Trying to navigate a snowboard site that has full screen alley-oops going on in the background just makes me ill. I feel like they just started putting videos in as soon as the marketers realized everyone had the bandwidth to see them. I really don't see the videos influencing the smart consumers buying decision, so they are dubious decoration at best, unless they are truly demonstrating a product.
4. Rich Colours and Dramatic Typography
"Rich colour tones are already brightening up user interfaces, but vibrant hues will make the interfaces brighter in 2017. Users are going to see a lot more vivid colors palettes, duotones, and bold gradients in UIs come next year."
My thoughts: totally agree and hope this comes to pass. I am so bloody sick of pastel colors (intentionally dropped the "u" favoring brevity over European spelling). If you think of all the colors and combinations in a Pantone palette we can certainly come up with far more interesting and visually appealing color schemes. Not that this site uses any :)
5. Tailored Illustrations
"For more personality than traditional photography, illustrations are quickly becoming a popular alternative. They create visual language that really captures the tone of voice and personality of a brand or product. Visual language also clarifies messaging by boiling down concepts into easily-understood visuals."
My thoughts: I applaud this trend whenever I see it in a website; to me it does exactly what Adobe claims. It feels more personal, creative, and interesting. Beats the crap out of video backgrounds in my opinion.
6. Long Scrolling and Parallax Technique For Websites
"Long or infinite scrolling will become standard for websites. It’s important to mention that scrolling isn’t rebelling against the page by page format, it’s reinventing the navigation: this technique translates well to mobile devices (smaller screens mean more scrolling, and the format works well with touch controls), and it has more potential to engage users (it helps the user quickly scan large amounts of content in a single motion without interruption)."
My thoughts: I don't mind long scrolling in mobile apps for reasons of real estate and interaction, but I find the technique overused in web sites, especially sites where I'm just trying to buy a single product. A lot of single product sites use this technique and it can be really painful to be forced through a long bouncy series of redundant page scrolls and overlaps just to get to "Buy Me". I also find parallax WAY overdone now, and rarely done for the benefit of the consumer - it seems like a way for designers to flex their muscles. If you must use long scrolling and "confusillax" views, I hope you put a "Buy Me" button at the top of the page.
7. Cards Will Still Be a Big Thing
"Cards are based on the idea that all of the most relevant information about a single topic is organized into a single container."
My thoughts: Great for mobile, great for dashboards (if organized effectively) and great for the way we think - in chunks of information. One of the best display concepts to come up in the web world. But they should be used for what they are intended - displaying separate pieces of information in an organized fashion that are easy to navigate. As we move into a much more touch and gesture world, cards are here to stay.
8. The Rise of Conversational Interfaces
"'Chatbot' is one of the hottest terms in our industry right now. We’ve seen chatbot technology integrated into consumer apps for quite some time now — they assist in taking the load off the user when performing general tasks, such as ordering a pizza."
My thoughts: Given that we have six Alexa devices scattered around my house I'm a bit biased on this one. I was a very early adopter of the Echo, and I've gotten very used to my "single-minded" personal voice assistant. As chat bots and home assist devices become more intelligent, I see this being the exponential growth design area of the near future, from cars to homes and everything in-between. Where it is desperately needed is in the office conference environment. We should be able to walk into our conference rooms and just tell the room to connect to a conference room and "tell X,Y, and Z" we are ready. And as directional microphones get even better (I'm amazed at how well the Echo can pick me out of a room of chattering people), this will spread to a whole office phenomenon. As for web and mobile applications, it seems like a natural fit, again as long as the chat is designed properly. This is one of the next big growth area for UX Designers.
9. Augmented/Virtual Reality
"Conversational interfaces won’t be the only exciting technology in 2017. Designers are also going to obsess over augmented and virtual reality, since these technologies can provide brands with a new level of immersive engagement. At the same time it’s a whole new challenge to design UI for a virtual world. As Jonathan Ravaz mentioned in his article: “Designing for VR should not mean transferring 2D practices to 3D, but finding a new paradigm.” The emergence of augmented reality and virtual reality platforms will have a great impact on modern interaction and visual design. Gestures will be in focus — natural gestures with similar meanings from the real world will help translating actions in the virtual space."
My thoughts: This is one area where I disagree with the pundits. The hardware devices used to immerse oneself in the virtual world and even an augmented one are still WAY too clunky and intrusive unless you are a gamer willing to put up with it. I find the whole concept completely overhyped even at this point with the many consumer devices available. (As I am writing this I still can't picture myself using my whole arm to do some mundane activity when a mouse or voice is so much easier.) The mainstream is not going to embrace this hardware until a) it becomes cheaper, and b) it becomes comfortable. Not to say designers can't get ahead of the curve by investigating the UX aspects now - we should. But "exciting technology" in 2017? Only for a small market and gamers with lots of coin.
10. Boom of Prototyping
"In upcoming year the lines between UX and UI designer will continue to blur into a more integrated design process. It will be easier than ever to bring ideas to life, and prototyping will become part of every design flow. New prototyping tools will significantly improve the workflow for designers, enabling them to spend more time thinking about end users rather than starting from scratch every time.
Designers will focus on interaction instead of layout. Using new prototype tools it’ll be able to produce more than just screen flicking prototypes, but a prototype that runs and shows the stakeholder the vision of the app as it will be used in practice."
My thoughts: (Classic Adobe - write an article that ends with a promotion for one of their products.) If UXD's haven't been focusing on interaction for the last decade they are not doing their jobs well. I've been in interaction design since the early 2000's and it always seemed far more important than the visual aspect of an app, at least if you are trying to get any work done. And layout and interaction come hand in hand - you need both to be done well to create a great product.
If you read a few of my other posts you'll note my fetish with prototyping tools, so this is one area where I feel comfortable on the soapbox. What is ironic given their point #2 is you can't do microinteractions in Adobe XD in any real way - it is an artboard to artboard page turner not unlike Invision or Marvel at this point (in beta). In their defense it is a excellent app, built from the ground up with designers needs in mind, so I can't wait to see what they do when they get to on artboard interactions.