We love Adobe, we love using their things on a wide array of applications. Plenty of modern videos are made with Adobe’s applications; unless you are one of those that actually uses Apple’s iMovie, ProRes, Final Cut, Logic Pro, or whatever proprietary Mac type applications. For Windows users though, there is no replacing Adobe’s current Creative Cloud platform of applications. We just saw them updating it too for the year 2017, it sounds like it is going to be more replaceable as the years go. From things like simple photo editing, to sound editing, to video editing; Adobe has a solution for every part of the audio visuals department.
But, if you have not already known, Adobe is more than just application. They are more than just developers of the ever so popular Creative Suite, now Creative Cloud services. They do not just make their apps for us to use blindly. They actually take a lot of time to do their research. They learn about their users, they do surveys all the time. They even track the usage of their apps now with Creative Cloud for their development programs. The data they obtain from usage will be used to publish their studies. All that, and more in their own blog.
Their studies help plenty too. Or at least they help us identify what we can expect from them in the future. Not only them, but the market as a whole. In that case, what about 2017? What can we expect to see from the market in terms of design? Not only in terms of marketing, in terms of app designs and more.
According to Adobe, there will be 10 major design that will be in use by the market in 2017. In no particular order, the 10 of the most important designs of 2017 – according to Adobe anyway is Minimalistic, more Microinteractions, more video contents, use of plenty of rich colours with dramatic typography, plenty of personalisation, long and infinite scrolling on websites, application of cards, more interactivity, Augmented and Virtual Reality, and more prototyping of apps or sites.
1. Minimalism is rampant, It Will Only Get More So
As the title suggest, we see minimalist designs being championed everywhere. It is functionality without sacrificing utility. In fact, it simplifies a complex function or app, or at least that is the purpose of it. Some examples of Minimalism being championed in designs is the evolution of Android.
Google’s open source mobile project started out life to be an operating system full of functions. it can be customised with so many widgets, shortcuts, and layouts. If you show that first Android 2.1 Eclair design today, you’d be thrown out of the art gallery. The Android of today, 7.0 Nougat especially is a far cry from their Eclair days. In its maturity progress, it has become more streamlined, less cluttered, less ‘messy’. You still get the customisation options, but everything else is dictated more by gesture controls; which minimises the need to create more buttons or place more icons on the home screen. The result is an OS design that is much cleaner, less cluttered, and simple to use. They call it material design, beginning with the Android 6.0 Marshmallow onward.
Then, there is the applications that came with either the Apple proprietary or Google open source programs. They become more gesture based, they have less and less visual effects, they look cleaner, they look simpler. Everything is developed to be decluttered. They remove all the unnecessary information or visuals from the interface to create the most basic of forms; and we all loved it.
you do not just see it in software designs too, hardware designs as well starts to become more simplified that incorporates complex design cues. The devices of late has become so simplified that half the time they look similar, but people still like them anyway. Because of that, the minimalist look will make a come back; stronger than ever.
2. Microinteraction Domination
Microinteraction played a vital role in 2016. No, we are not talking about in-app purchases; that is micro transactions. Microinteractions mostly are interaction through animations. For example, you press a virtual button and the colour changes, when you swipe right your screen shuffles like it is party rockin’.
Microinteractions add flavour to our lives with mobile devices. It adds some desired drama to the plain user interface (UI) we call Android or iOS. They help create a sort of interactivity with the users, like the UI is talking back to you. But it was not only that; it draws you to it, or at least to something that needs your attention in-app or within the UI.
It was pivotal in mobile app and UI designs in 2016. Because of its significance, there will be emphasis on it. To those who wants their UI animation free; sorry, it is not going away anytime soon. Even in interactive ads you will see it, or experience it to say the least.
3. Video is King
When we talk about UI the first thing that comes to mind is the Graphical User Interface (GUI). Actual, original UI is just a string of codes and commands that makes your device beep, or send a message, or search for things. In reality, what we are looking at daily on our mobile devices, and computers are complex simplification of the UI. Confusing? Well, this is important; try to keep up.
The UI we look at and love today, be it the Android, iOS, Mac, or Windows are basically layers and layers of codes that are hidden under a graphical layout. The graphical layout adds a certain layer of complexity to the codes and commands of the Operating System (OS) or the UI. The graphics make it easier to make sense of the UI. You need only to point and click, not type a string of commands to make things work. (I believe we have just went way off-topic)
So, graphics are important. They say a picture say a thousand words. If that is true, a video could say a million words. As with the description of the GUI, humans are very visual beings. We turn our attention to pretty looking things. So we are always attracted to bright coloured images. But that is static, videos are dynamic and can convey millions, if not billions of messages in at different times. On the plus side, there are fewer words to consume, meaning it takes less time and energy to consume videos.
Really, it makes sense. Having videos in your background never fails to capture your attention. Case and point; remember those live wallpapers that was ever so popular in Android, everyone wanted one so badly if it was not due to the way it sucks the battery life out of your device. (Admit it, you loved the live wallpapers)
4. Rich Colours and Unique Typography are a Thing
Videos and graphics brings us to this point. Based on the same principle that visuals are important, the things that you read will also catch you. No, not the hipster-ish phrase you see in a coffee bar, or that quote from Mahatma Gandhi. It is more like the sort of fonts used to quote some famous dead philosopher. Oh, not to forget the colour schemes on the app, or website, or ad.
As we understand colours and how they mix better, the more effective they are going to be in apps, or websites, or magazines, or ads. Our eyes can pick up an amazing number of unique colours so it only makes sense that anyone are going to take advantage of that and use vibrant colour combinations that could be unique to us in hopes that we pay attention.
But attract our attention to what? To listen to what they have to say of course. Did you know that Samsung now has their own typeface called the SamsungOne? It has its own unique designs that identifies itself to be uniquely Samsung. Even Google has their Roboto. That also shows how much information we are exposed to. While we may not be able to differentiate between different fonts that easily, we do find simpler, cleaner fonts more attractive to look at; easier to the eyes if you might. Not only that, different fonts can represent much more than just words; they describe emotions, message, theme, and much more now.
Pair that with contrasting backgrounds, you get a super eye-catchy treat; even when it only says “boom”. So for 2017, we are going to get more unique fonts (you can even create your own, I am going to name mine Darwin’s Horrible and Terrible) and vibrant colourings, nowhere to run now.
5. Our Lives in Crayon (Illustration Based Graphics)
Not literary Crayon type drawings, but unique illustrations rather than actual photos. Why? because illustrations can be made to suit whatever occasion without sacrificing a lot of time and cost. Face it; photography is a big hassle and takes plenty of time, you need to wait or get the right sort of lighting conditions, you have to set up physical backgrounds or make do, you have to find the right subjects and right angles to take photos. With all those combined, you get millions of possibilities while achieving almost nothing at all. Plus, you are limited to the possibilities of physics and real life.
Illustrations on the other hand, can express plenty of different things at one go. It costs less and takes less time to create. The right illustrations can also capture attention very instantly. The sort of language used for the illustration visualisation is easy to understand and very customisable to every situation. As quicker turnaround time is gaining significance and as visual interaction become more important, illustrations become the way to go. A good-looking illustration can go a long way and that is why you will see plenty more of it in 2017.
6. Scroll Forever, in Parallax Too
If you are fans of 9GAG, you might know what this is (infinite scrolling). In fact most product focus websites are doing it (parallax technique included). If you have to ask; infinite scrolling is, well scrolling through a page endlessly without having to click the ‘next page’ button. It is as simple as that. Plus, people like that sort of stuff. You see it implemented on apps as well like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Flipboard, and many others just to name a few.
Then there is Parallax scrolling. This is slightly more complicating to explain in words, so let me attempt to educate you as best as possible. It is where images at the background scrolls at a different speed from the contents on the foreground; very much like an escalator that is out of sync with its handle. What that does is create an interesting 3D effect that allows designers the flexibility of telling a different story or highlight certain things with their product or app.
Back to the human nature, we love good stories and pretty graphics. We love paradoxes too weirdly, we are programmed to be drawn to pieces that do not go together. That weird unsynced infinite scrolling on your client’s website is what makes you stay in their site even longer. Everyone is jumping on that bandwagon too for the year 2017. So now you cannot stop staring at random websites and apps just because their contents never seem to end and they look weirdly pretty.
7. Cards, Cards, Cards, and More Cards
Cards were huge in design processes of 2016. They play a very important part in keeping things organised in an app, or organisational chart. It is what made the Google Now interface so popular in 2016. Every important detail is made into cards and are all accessible through a single app. It was a way to organise your messy life. It was not even an issue of screen size, just the issue of what information you want on your cards.
As Adobe found, it has not lost relevance just yet. Google is going to continue using that sort of interface to interact with you on your device. Other developers have also started experimenting on that especially with RSS feeds, stocks, and other things that might clutter their interface. The cards can be pulled up for more information as well, neat.
8. Now, You Can Talk to No One
The automation of interfaces has included customer service since 2015. In 2016 it got even more popular. You can contact customer services of certain websites, or whatever company through a chat line and a Chatbot on the other end of the line will reply you with some of the most generic responses. Some, even tailored responses are possible. In some chatbot instances, you can even place orders (which reminds me of my McDonald’s Delivery order through the app last week).
Towards the end of 2016 though we start seeing plenty of improvements on conversational interfaces in the form of voice recognition. Siri took its first steps on the Apple iPhone 3GS but has evolved into so much more that it was. Google’s Assistant that was announced at the end of 2016 with the Pixel was also a revolutionary thing. It took the interaction between human and machines to the next level. Other things like Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa is something of a marvel too.
2017, therefore will be even bigger with conversational interfaces. Each and every one of the voice recognised assistants will be able to help us complete the simplest of tasks without us even clicking a single thing; how convenient. You do not even need buttons to activate them, quite obvious now where this is going.
9. I am Starting to See Things (Augmented and Virtual Reality)
Sure, the idea of augmented and virtual reality has been around for a while. The idea existed even before we start looking at VR or AR headsets. In fact we toyed around with the idea of holograms, a VR chamber, and even 3D.
Yes, 3D; the thing that went out of style in 2015. It was a driver towards an augmented reality future that was not really there yet. The year of 2016 lays more foundation towards AR than VR in all honesty. Sure, there are things like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and more VR contents are being made in 2016 than ever before. But the fact remains that VR remains too costly as of now.
AR though is a more plausible thing. It has more applications, and as 2016 goes we get plenty of new toys that gave us access to AR. The biggest thing being the release of Google Tango to the masses. Something that started out as an advances science project by Google is now a reality through mobile devices. Then there is Microsoft Hologram headset which made its way to Intel’s big pavilion in this year’s CES 2017 as well. With supports coming in from SoC manufacturers like Qualcomm, AR and VR is just going to be even bigger in 2017. It is no wonder plenty of traditional brands are putting their money in AR and VR.
Maybe the Microsoft Hologram will be a real thing you can buy in 2017? What about an improved, more affordable Google Glasses? You never know.
10. Prototypes, Prototypes Everywhere!
As progress on interfaces becoming more rampant, more experimentation is required of course. There is no other better way to do it then using prototypes of new designs. The best part is that designers are moving towards a more interaction based interface than layout and the lines between good design and good layout blurs. The issue with conversational based interfaces is that user experience plays a bigger part than ever before. You need to know what your users like and do not like. It is important then to have a fully functional interface that people could test out and use. But even more than that, new prototyping methods will be employed.
All the interactions that we have with an interface of a mobile app, or website plays plenty of roles in this. This forces developers to merge their user experience and UI designs into one process instead of making either one an afterthought. The prototypes become a big part in the design process where it integrates experimentation of user experience for its potential users or stakeholders which will translate to data to be used in layout designing process. In turn we, as users might get more chances to get early access to prototype interfaces. Prime example of this application is the Open Beta phases of new AAA game titles. Ubisoft had a very successful run of Beta testing with For Honor and Ghost Recon Wildlands allowing a limited number of users to play the game before release to identify as much bugs as possible. It also allows them to get more feedback on how to improve the gameplay mechanics and interfaces. 2017 is looking good.
2017: Where Simplicity and Complexity Meets
Trends come and go. As mentioned somewhere in the article, 3D was thought to be the way forward for video contents. The hype died at the end of 2015. So did complex intricate designs. Every other person wants simplicity at this point of life but expects that the simplicity will make sense of their complex processes. It is paradoxical but that is the way we are at this point of time.
Even so, the amount of technology progress that was seen as of the end of 2016 was incredible. There was so much to look forward to in 2016, even more so in 2017. That makes for a very interesting year indeed with so much to expect and see. Also, I am personally interested in how much more simple designs can get for the year 2017; at the point of time where things cannot get anymore simple.
The design focuses though circles around the idea of what consumers like you and me wants at this time. So what do you think? Did Adobe strike all the list correctly? Is there more that you want to see from any particular industry? Are there more design trends that you think will be prominent in 2017? Let us know in the comments.
Source: Adobe Blog