The past two years generated a wide range of rapid digital changes, from an increase in remote working culture to the way and rate at which consumers shop online.

In 2021, retail online sales equaled 4.9 trillion USD worldwide, with estimates putting that figure at 7.4 trillion USD by 2025. The drastic rise of the “digital population” has caused major changes in UX and UI trends and practices.

We predict that in 2022, the stakes for brilliant UX and UI will be higher than ever. If you want to gain a competitive edge while deeply connecting with your customers, it’s essential to understand what resonates with your customers, and what’s just around the corner of excellent UX and UI design. Let’s take a look at our top 13 UX and UI trends for 2022, the influence behind the trends, and why they can help you engage with your customers.

1. Micro-Interactions

A focus on micro-interactions perfectly illustrates the current theme in UX and UI trends in 2022. Designers use UX and UI to offer customers the same quality of service they receive in a physical store. Subtle design choices such as autofill options and timely reminders greatly simplify and enhance the user experience. As a result, the interface comes to life and makes the experience feel more intimate and more human, with small differences making a significant impact.

UX design is moving in a detail-oriented direction, and that means paying more attention to the micro-interactions. Minuscule moments in a customer’s journey may be negligible on their own, but they add up to greatly impact the customer’s mood and opinion of your brand.

2. Inclusive Design

If you think you know who your “user” is, think again! Historically, digital products were designed to fit the general user population, without regarding specialized needs. Intentionally considering the different types of users and how they might engage in your experience is a welcome UX and UI trend in 2022. Not only does it give access to people with special needs, but it also often results in an overall design that is better for all users.

Inclusive design refers to a process in which a mainstream product, service, or environment is designed to be usable by as many people as reasonably possible, without the need for specialized adaptations. It’s not only about visual accessibility like larger fonts and adequate contrast, but the whole product, including emotional connotations.

Start by identifying areas in your design that are exclusive, meaning areas not optimized for an explicit group of users. For example, when creating a website to refer people to the nearest Covid-19 testing facility, implement a method to allow visitors to see when they are able to get vaccinated, and how to locate their closest vaccination centers.

3. Unique Illustrations

Digital, hand-drawn, 2D or 3D, and custom illustrations all help your design stand out from the sea of generic competitor sites. Free forms, unaligned elements, and vast asymmetry culminate in a friendly and inviting environment that creates a better experience for users, and that’s why it’s a UX trend in 2022.

To enhance the experience, even more, breathe life into your illustrations by implementing complex motion design. The dynamism that custom illustrations offer makes it easy to capture the user’s imagination and illustrate what your company or brand has to offer at a glance. In combination with animations, they keep the user engaged.

Unexpected animations make users curious and entice them to keep scrolling to see what happens next. Still, be mindful of bold solutions and consider the industry that the website represents. If implemented appropriately, a service website can look professional and modern simultaneously, with a minimalist interface and a touch of 3D illustration.

 

4. Larger Typography

Larger typography will continue to reign supreme as organizations simplify their messaging. While brands still must provide details for many reasons, including credibility, SEO, and depth of engagement, these should be layered into sites and pivoted with tagging for a better consumer experience.

Lately, a bold oversized version of these fonts called “ink trap fonts” started appearing on websites, adding more character and charm to the typography.

Ink traps were originally designed for printing on newsprint for small point sizes, with the corners or details generally removed from the letterforms.

When printing the type, the ink generally flows into the eliminated area. Without the help of ink traps, the extra ink would expand outwards and spoil the neat edge. Figma brings this trend to life with its bold slogan on the front page. Brands use inky trap fonts now to inject a playful and adventurous vibe into their digital design.

 

5. Rounded User Experience

A rounded user experience means rounding off corners in UI objects that are sharp by default, such as cards and CTA (call-to-action) buttons. Because the human brain naturally associates sharp objects with harm or pain, rounded corners exude safety and accessibility, and they’re visually appealing as well, which is why we are seeing it more and more in 2022.

Rounded corners are also perfect for grids, they save space, and they draw attention to the content, rather than the digital component. Overall, rounded corners help create friendly interactions with users, like cribs brand Nestig.

 

Nikki_Kay

6. Abstract Spherical Shapes

Circular and spherical shapes evoke feelings of omnipresence, continuity, and infinity. In 2022, we see digital designs taking further leaps by using round shapes. From eggs, planets, and domes, the appeal of these soft shapes is their fluidity. When used in digital design, circles provide an inviting, soft experience. Many brands are incorporating circles into their imagery and backgrounds.

Current trends around spherical shapes lean into abstract, quirky, and nostalgic themes of the 1980s’ style “Memphis Design” by contrasting circles with zigzags and bright colorways. Oval, round and uncommon shapes break visual hierarchy, giving the design an inviting and soft experience. Photographer Nikki-Kay and Art Director and Illustrator Chung-Yun Yoo are great examples of modern website design using soft shapes and inviting visuals.

 

Lush

7. Limitless Imagery

In digital commerce, product images don’t need to be contained within squares or rectangles anymore. Instead, they appear boundless and merge with the background or other elements as if they’re floating in space.

This is especially effective for products such as soap, where showing excessive details is unnecessary. In such cases, the opportunity to be playful with the design helps the product stand out. Lush soaps, Helly Hansen’s jackets, and washing machines by Schulthess are prime examples of limitless imagery.

Related Reading: Discover Vaimo’s solution for Helly Hansen

8. Multi-Directional Navigation

Multi-directional navigation is an intuitive way to simplify complex flows and interactions, encouraging users to interact with interfaces more consciously. A common example is including horizontal sliders amidst vertical scrolling displays, which have been standardized by Instagram stories.

This approach is exceedingly user-friendly, because the action feels intuitive and it’s a natural way to make the most of mobile real estate screens, and this is why multi-directional navigation is a top UX and UI trend in 2022. Those featuring podcasts, music, or social media should springboard off this method to enrich content and allow the user to truly lose themselves in the designs.

9. Animated Logos

Catchy animation looks more interesting than a static logo, and they can act as cheerleaders and storytellers for your brand. Animated logos can convey the mission of your brand, and even its values! Still, they should not steal the spotlight entirely. Examples of brands using animated logos include Magnetism, Twitch, and Schulthess.

10. Custom Cursor Interactions

Custom cursor interactions occur when the movement of the user’s cursor adds smart interactive animations that react to the cursor. Consequently, the cursor draws the user’s eyes to exact spots and encourages the user to explore the website with lively and fun results.

Such effects first gained popularity in the 2000s, and like most trends, this one came back around. Custom cursor interactions are one of the hottest micro-interactions at the moment, precisely because of the power to engage the user with exact spots on the webpage.

For example, in the “iPad cursor effect,” the cursor essentially replicates the behavior of a touch screen, therefore making the user feel closer to the interface by emulating the way a screen’s touch sensors read the tip of your finger. It creates a different experience, by blending the physical nature of touch with the one-step-removed trackpad experience.

Many creative agencies and studio websites have incorporated custom cursor interactions into their style guides. Check out Thinkingbox, Covalent, and Yourra! for some inspiration.

 

11. Scrolly-Telling

Scrolling is already a thing of the past; if you want to grab attention, implement scrolly-telling. Imagine a website where each scroll illustration, font, snippet of text, and other elements come to life. Visually, you remain in one place, but by scrolling, the story unfolds in front of you on the screen. Of course, you’ll want to stay until the story ends!

Forget about the typical structure of a website; regular scrolling through sections is boring, and users skim over static text boxes and images. Scrolly-telling, on the other hand, persuades users to actually read, while dynamic elements bring the story to life. Brands Seed and Aluminum use scrolly-telling beautifully to relay their brand stories.

Scrolly-telling is activated when a user scrolls down, hence the moniker. Scrolly-telling frees the users from clicking, the stress of making choices, and the annoyance of pop-ups.

This approach requires more than designers to create cool visuals; you must tell a compelling story, with a proper plot, and consideration for your audience type. Remember — Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are memorable websites.

12. Virtual Reality

Virtual reality offers great opportunities for enhancing interaction within education, as we saw during the pandemic lockdowns. While the challenge lies in using the full immersive potential of VR without a headset, you can start small, like adding sound to an action, which creates another dimension in the interface.

We predict that augmented reality will increasingly be part of UI, while UX will pair well with artificial intelligence and machine learning. The ability to be immersive without special hardware, but with information and functionality that align to users’ needs at specific points in time will be the industry standard in the future.

 

13. 3D Elements

With the power of easy-to-use photo scanning technologies, it’s becoming easier than ever to create quality scans of products. As a result, digital retailers are implementing 3D as an enhanced way to present a digital product for a more tangible shopping experience. Retailers use 3D product renders to showcase customizations in an effortless manner, from vehicles to textiles.

While certainly not a new trend, companies that specialize in 3D rendering have vastly improved the quality of the renders during the last few years. Many retailers utilize 3D imagery effectively to present almost-tangible products to users, such as DJI and Fjällräven.

Recap: Humanisation and User-Centered Design

Moving into the future, UX and UI will continue to grow toward a more human-centered design.

Designers will use animations and interactions to add personality to the site, and micro-interactions to make the interface memorable and personal. Multi-directional navigation, animated logos, custom cursor interactions, and scrolly-telling are all great tools to make your site stand out from the sea of competitors.

Focus on accessibility by considering the needs of different groups of people. Create resources that are fully adapted to everyday life by incorporating inclusive design, unique illustrations, larger typography, and a rounded user experience.

Interactive systems are personal and offer real-time responses via artificial intelligence. Virtual reality can provide emotional and ethnographic design, while augmented reality helps promote products and helps users make decisions. Limitless imagery and 3D elements introduce more ways for users to interact with products and services.

It’s tempting to incorporate the whole bucket of beautiful new trends, yet it can also be challenging to know where to start. At Vaimo, we live and breathe beautiful and effective customer experiences that engage customers and convey the story of your brand or store. Discover how we implement ecommerce design, craft brilliant and optimized customer experiences, and establish a strategy for your digital business. Contact your local Vaimo office today to learn more!

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