The Hottest UX Design Trends for 2021

UX design is a constantly evolving discipline, where agility and the capacity to take on new design principles decide whether you make the cut with clients. Staying up-to-date with the latest trends is the best way to keep yourself marketable and help you prosper in a seriously oversubscribed marketplace. That’s why everyone in UX should stay abreast of the UX design trends that are going to blaze a trail into 2021. Read on to find out the game changers in design philosophy to help keep your UX portfolio fresh and relevant.

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Minimalistic UI is on the rise

Minimalism finally looks like it’s back in a purple patch, and to us, it couldn’t come at a more refreshing time. Many UX design modernists will hang their heads in dismay. But minimalism will likely help course correct the greatest excesses of current UX design principles and bring some balance to the table. Digital media is reproducing at an ever-increasing rate, leading to most of us suffering through a never-ending barrage of media wherever we look. That’s why a product or interface with a stripped-down aesthetic comes as such a breath of fresh air these days. Adopting a minimalist design approach forces us to pare down our sensibilities and focus on what’s really functional. In doing this, we can declutter our UX design process and adopt a truly utilitarian character that doesn’t take the user’s time for granted:

  • Drop superfluous pop-ups and notifications to reduce useless information.
  • Introduce design features that save user’s time and make their journeys efficient and purposeful.
  • Keep your focus on intuitive user navigation pathways aligned with context-specific functionality.

Artificial intelligence will conquer the planet

Whether it’s machine learning or more traditional AI, data-fueled artificial intelligence is becoming ever more prominent in every aspect of the digital world. The biggest consequence of all this automated data analysis has translated to personalizing service. Machine learning AI can now custom-build onboarding processes to increase personalization the more a user engages with a product. This, in turn, provides a massive boost for conversion and makes the UX interaction far more profitable without a commensurate outlay on human resources. Machine learning is everywhere now, whether it’s your next YouTube autoplay suggestion or streaming pick. When your UX design tools incorporate these breakthroughs, both you and your customers will be saving time and having more efficient interactions.

Voice commands will go mainstream

Following on the growth of artificial intelligence, voice commands are an aspect of this development that seems to be especially resonant with the current zeitgeist. Voice searching by itself has become an everyday feature of modern life thanks to Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant. These technologies are only going to become more commonplace as time goes on, and consequently, demand for their implementation is rising. Here’s how to incorporate voice commands into your UX design:

  • Consider how your product can be integrated with voice assistants. Look at how Lyft and Uber integrate with Google Assistant for a good example.
  • Blend voice assistant features with pre-set command programming to make your features even more frictionless.
  • Use voice assistants to develop your brand. The simple act of vocalizing a product into being is a huge marketing boost by itself. Every time someone says “Alexa, order me more [insert brand here]”,  a subconscious marketing connection is being established.

This is an area where UX writers, conversation designers, and other writers in tech will play an increasingly significant role. If you’re a writer, keep your eyes open for opportunities related to this trend.

UX design will target mobile-first

Regarding the internet today, we tend to use computers for work and phones for play. The majority of searches take place on mobile devices, and (predictably) the vast majority of these mobile searches go through Google. Back in 2015, Google announced that they were tweaking their algorithms to give mobile-friendly pages pride of place in their search results. This led to a massive shift in the SEO market, and the trend is due to continue well into 2021. For anyone looking to prosper in the general assembly of UX design, this now means leaping into an arms race to create the most responsive, functional, and feature-laden mobile pages. SEO is what can make one casino app hugely popular while another might fail to generate any significant traffic. With Google calling the shots, it pays for your UX design definition to privilege mobile users and adapt to the dominant medium of online engagement.

Products will live and die by the quality of their narratives

Here’s another trend for the UX writers out there. In the nearest past, it was enough simply to understand a user’s journey to induce conversions. But with 2021 around here, the bare minimum won’t cut it anymore. Focusing UX design meaning on content-based experiences requires us to knuckle down and think about how to craft compelling narratives to bring a product to life. Nowadays, a UX design pro has to be aware of business and marketing to understand how to make their product really sing. You need to create meaningful dialogues with users. This is what distinguishes success stories from the rest of the competition, and creative, emotionally meaningful exchanges are sure to be the best currency in 2021. A great narrative makes for a memorable brand and can cultivate desire by drawing users into the stories you want to tell for your product. This can take many forms, but compelling copy is one thing that never goes out of style. If your story clicks with users, those clicks will soon turn into conversions. Put this into practice to help move more products while leveling up your marketing.

Augmented reality is about to cross over from games to mainstream

Augmented reality has been a talked-about concept since the turn of the millennium, but really started to gain household recognition with the launch of Google Glass in 2013. While that particular product ended up having short-lived appeal, developments in AR have come a long way since then. Just look at the pop-cultural phenomenon Pokemon Go for UX design examples of augmented reality that’s captured the imaginations of millions around the world. The market for AR technology is forecast to surge massively within the next few years, with tech giants like Apple and Microsoft, both wrestling for the biggest piece of the pie. While developments in AR and VR technology first began in games, it won’t be long before they become a household staple. When the penny finally drops, developers who can implement AR in their UX design are going to be hugely in demand. If you can take the time to learn how to build an AR interface and program graphical overlays today, you might well be the first port of call for a UX design agency in the not-so-distant future. 

Three-dimensional design will be king

Many of us will get misty-eyed thinking of the attractive simplicity offered by flat UX design. These days, however, making your product stand out means taking the leap into the third dimension. With technology like virtual and augmented reality setting the stage, the future really lies with immersive 3D elements. For those with the time and patience to tinker with new visual possibilities, the opportunities to engage audiences and boost engagement at every level of UX design are stunning. An obvious prerequisite to this is a high-performance website with fast loading times and tip-top optimization. Without this, the best UX programming in the world will struggle under a fundamental lack of horsepower. However, if your servers can keep up, you’ll be able to implement striking UX design software that will always be more impactful than those of flat purists.


With so many new UX design trends jostling for our attention, it’s easy to fall victim to oversaturation and pile every hot trick onto your page. However, while trends themselves might change, the rules of design philosophy don’t. A successful UX design website remains responsive to users above all else and helps them achieve their goals when navigating an interface. Throwing everything and the kitchen sink into your site won’t necessarily make for a particularly intuitive user experience. Figure out which of these UX design trends align closest with your natural creative tendencies. Then start thinking about the ways you can leverage them into providing a more satisfying and delightful experience for audiences.

Bio:Thomas Glare is a lifelong design fanatic with a passion for UX and SEO. When he isn’t burrowing his head in an analytics report, you can find him summoning his inner fire joker and getting intimate with the latest design trends.

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