As we move further into the potential of Web 3.0, the importance of user experience (UX) design will only continue to grow. It's the key to creating products and services that people love using and keep coming back to. As the industry changes, so do UX and UI design trends.
In this article, we look at what experts predict will be the biggest trends in UX design in 2024. From further integration of newer technologies to rethinking design principles from the bottom up, we'll cover it all to help you stay ahead of the curve and create the best possible experience for your users.
So, let's dive in and see what the future of UX design has in store!
1. The continued rise of voice interfaces
While the use of voice assistants and smart speakers is growing slowly, the trend for the coming years is upward – research from Insider Intelligence suggests almost half the US population will use them by 2026.
With this proliferation of smart speakers and other voice-activated devices, we’ll likely see more companies incorporating voice user interfaces (VUIs) into their products and services. This incorporation of VUIs will require UX designers to consider how to design effective and intuitive voice experiences.
Along these lines, Sam McGraw, CEO of Design Hub, says:
“Voice-activated technology has already become extremely popular and will only get bigger. UX designers must think of creative ways to incorporate VUIs into their designs to make them more efficient and user-friendly.”
Services that have so far led the way in voice-activated technology are Apple Siri, Google, and Amazon Alexa (and associated speaker products). While it might be a while before competitors arrive in this space, UX designers can think about creative ways to incorporate these existing services where appropriate (not every product needs it!).
2. The emergence of mixed reality
As the number of smartphone users worldwide continues to rise, so does the use of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), i.e. mixed reality technology.
In 2019, the number of mobile AR active users was around 0.44 billion, but by 2024, experts expect this figure to balloon to about 1.73 billion. The latest revenue figures also show that while the 2022 market sat at $15.1 billion, it will also come close to $40 billion by 2027.
As virtual and augmented reality technologies, particularly in smartphones, continue to advance, we’re likely to see more companies and UX designers using mixed reality to create immersive and engaging user experiences.
In 2023, we saw some brands using AR on social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat for marketing purposes. For example, Gulf Oil International (which has a surprising number of followers – 61K – for an oil company) built an AR experience on Instagram and promoted it via Reels, encouraging users to create and share an F1 obstacle course.
Elena Gurinova, a UX designer at SolveIt, thinks mixed reality will become more popular in other verticals:
“This technology is already developing and gaining popularity in various industries. It allows businesses to stand out, attract users’ attention, and expand the interface’s capabilities. In my opinion, in 2024, this technology will gain traction in various spheres, especially in e-commerce.”
One example of mixed reality being used creatively in e-commerce is Shopify. It's added AR capability so customers can give shoppers a new way to experience products online.
Regarding product/service use cases for AR/VR, designers will likely incorporate mixed reality in different and valuable ways. For example, Sam McGraw also comments on this trend, suggesting companies can use this technology for product tutorials:
“This technology will be used to create more immersive experiences, and it can also be used to create interactive tutorials or provide more information about specific products or services.”
3. Increased focus on accessibility
As awareness of accessibility issues grows, more businesses will prioritize accessibility and inclusivity in their products. This will require UX designers to have a deep understanding of accessibility best practices and to design for a wide range of users, including those with disabilities.
Jonathan Cardella, founder of Ventive, suggests a great framework to reference is the European Accessibility Act (EAA):
“The European Accessibility Act is a set of standards and guidelines all European Union member states have adopted. These standards promote equal access to information, products, and services for people with disabilities or impairments. By 2024, you should apply these accessibility standards across all your designs, even if you do not reside in the EU. You will not only improve the usability of your products, but it will also ensure that they’re accessible to as many people as possible.”
Some examples of incorporating accessibility best practices are using ALT text for images, closed captions and transcripts for video content, screen-reading options, and screen magnification options, as well as easy-to-read typography that scales alongside different screen sizes.
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4. The rise of personalization
As companies collect more data on their users, especially first-party data, we’re likely to see even more personalized user experiences. As a result, UX designers should think about how to use this data effectively to create relevant and engaging experiences.
A quick note: there’s a difference between personalization and customization – the former refers to practices from the business side, whereas the latter refers to tweaks a customer can make themselves. Both can make for great UX experiences, but advancements in artificial intelligence make personalization an even more significant asset.
Sam McGraw has a view on personalization seeing significant changes with the rise of AI use in 2024:
“As AI and machine learning continue to advance, so does our ability to use these technologies to tailor user experiences to the individual. We'll likely see more websites and apps using customized content and features that cater to a person's specific interests, needs, and preferences.”
One of the most obvious examples of personalization is Netflix – it greets users by their names and tailors content based on their watch history and how they’ve rated previous titles. As a result, it’s very unlikely (or impossible) for two Netflix users to have the same content on their home screen – which is an incredibly user-centered experience.
5. Bolder visual choices
As an overall trend, designers are also taking a bolder visual design approach to differentiate and provide more unique experiences moving into 2024.
While white space and minimalism have been popular for several years, more sites and apps are using gradient backgrounds, 3D objects, and immersive/parallax scrolling.
Two experts we spoke to, Elena Gurinova and Sam McGraw, had thoughts about these up-and-coming design choices. Elena specifically talks about gradients in some detail:
“Gradients became popular throughout 2023, but without a doubt, its popularity will still remain next year. We notice how customers are increasingly inclined to implement the gradient in design. You will see this trend almost everywhere: on websites, mobile apps, in branding, and so on. Gradients in 2024 will be all about bright colors and unusual shapes that evoke imagination.”
She also links the use of 3D objects with the rising trend of AR/VR in design:
“Three-dimensional graphics are becoming quite popular in design, making the interface original and unusual, allowing businesses to convey their message to the users better. The spread of 3D objects that are inextricably linked with AR/VR will continue in 2024. It is an excellent element to enhance audience engagement and illustrate the virtual space, especially since users are already actively interacting with these visual elements.”
If these trendy aspects of design are too “out there” for your brand, you can still consider immersive scrolling to relay information in a small space, as Sam advocates:
“Immersive scrolling should be considered for use in 2024. Immersive scrolling allows more information to be presented without too much space, making it the perfect UX design trend for digital products.”
Immersive scrolling within a website design is also a great way to tell a brand story and uniquely engage users. An excellent yet simple example of immersive/parallax scrolling is the Okalpha website, a creative animation studio. The website uses many 2D shapes but animates them to make them appear 3D at first glance.
Immersive or parallax scrolling also helps to guide users through the website experience – naturally guiding individual users to where you want them to look.
So mobile-first might not be a “trend,” but it's good practice and something to keep front of mind. Over 92% of internet users in 2023 accessed the internet via mobile devices, compared to just over 65% on a laptop or desktop. For many internet users, mobiles are the only way for them to access the internet at all.
The idea of mobile-first design is to consider mobile users in the first design phases and develop for desktop use from there. If your product or service is primarily digital, this point of mobile-first design is critical, as the experience needs to be seamless across all devices.
Several experts we spoke to had thoughts about mobile-first design, which speaks to its importance. First up, David Stellini, Co-Founder of All Front, emphasizes the key benefits of mobile-first design:
“This approach to product design seeks to build a mobile version of your product first and then adapt it to fit larger screens. Mobile-first design allows digital product creators to build seamless experiences responsive to any device, regardless of how people access the site.
From utilizing more concise language to ensuring that all interface elements are still easily viewable on smaller screens, you can implement several things to ensure an optimal mobile experience.
Mobile-first design often delivers higher user engagement rates and improved customer satisfaction, making it an effective strategy for businesses looking to reach their desired customer interactions.”
Jonathan Cardella discusses how users are coming to expect mobile-first design as a baseline:
“Mobile users have come to expect a certain quality of experience when browsing websites and apps: they want to get what they need quickly and easily. If your website is slow or difficult to navigate on mobile devices, you won’t compete with other designers offering a better user experience.”
Finally, Sam McGraw sums up the need for mobile-first design:
“Mobile-first design will be more important than ever, as most people access websites and applications through their mobile devices. Companies must optimize their digital products for mobile devices to ensure that customers have a seamless user experience.”
A pretty good example of a mobile-first design I’ve come across in my daily life is Lingopie – the experience is seamless on all devices I use, whether using a browser on a laptop or a mobile, or the mobile app.
A not-so-great experience I regularly deal with is using D&D Beyond. There are a lot of clickable items close together when viewing on a mobile device.
This cluttered screen makes me not want to use the site on a mobile device and often prevents me from making impulsive purchases (good for my wallet, not so good for Wizards of the Coast).
However, another example of mobile-first design is making sure apps and websites respond to dark mode – which most (if not all) mobile devices have as a feature. Many users prefer dark mode as it saves device battery and often helps reduce eye strain from not looking at bright white screens.
A mobile-first design approach also leads to thinking about potential microinteractions, such as haptic feedback or small scrolling/tapping animations within apps. These small moments of interaction help create memorable digital experiences for your users.
Looking to test your mobile apps but not sure where to start? Check out our comprehensive guide for top tips and best practices.
7. Generative AI
In our trends roundup for 2023, we listed generative AI as an additional trend, but AI tools and functionality have developed incredibly quickly, so we thought it deserved its own spot this time around.
In early 2023, ChatGPT, a popular natural language chatbot from OpenAI, became the fastest-growing consumer application in history, with an estimated 100 million monthly active users the month prior to the report. Not only that, but there are currently over 2 million developers using OpenAI’s API to help build their tools.
Why does this matter in the UI/UX world? Using generative AI and its machine learning algorithms can help revolutionize the UX design process in multiple ways:
It can sift through vast amounts of user data and help analyze patterns – significantly decreasing the time it takes to identify and gather valuable insights. Not to mention helping to create even more personalized experiences that align with user needs.
Detailed, well-crafted prompts can also save hours of time from creating design mockups for design elements, web design, and layouts. These mockups can be a helpful starting point for rapid UX prototyping. Simply get an AI-generated mockup, open Figma, and work from there.
Training an algorithm on your brand identity can also help create consistency across the user experience.
Of course, with generative AI, technological advancements and innovations seem to be happening every other month. Who knows what we’ll be reporting on in next year’s trends update!
Other UX design trends to look out for in 2024
While the above trends and progressive changes are front-and-center, there are a few other trends worth mentioning.
This is another concept within UX design that’s been on a slowly increasing trajectory of importance. A standard line of thinking within design is the idea that a “better” user experience is tied to easily measurable metrics, e.g., everything must be faster. However, the emotional experience for users is becoming more important.
Sam McGraw briefly mentions emotional design, suggesting, “It's essential to consider the emotions a user might experience when engaging with a website or application and design accordingly.”
Smartwatch and fitness tracker devices are expected to see continued growth, with India being the country seeing the most wearable usage (at 47%), followed by the UK (42%), China (41%), and Germany (34%).
As a result, designers will need to consider the UX of wearable tech as the market grows. This includes alternative interfaces using shortened text, voice commands, and simplified buttons.
Looking ahead at UX design in 2024
Overall, UX design trends in 2024 look toward creating more engaging and imaginative experiences through new technologies, and moving away from minimalist visuals toward uniquely bright and bold UI.
If you’re looking for practical tools to help you with new and exciting UX design projects and research this year, why not sign up for a free Lyssna plan to access unlimited active tests? Lyssna can help you with things like prototype testing and testing iconography, which, if you’re planning to try out some of these new trends, can come in handy during the design process.
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Alexander Boswell is the Founder/Director of SaaSOCIATE, a B2B SaaS, MarTech and eCommerce Content Marketing Service and a Business PhD candidate. When he’s not writing, he’s playing baseball and D&D.
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