UX design in software development: a list of 18 design trends to keep your eyes on in 2022.

UX Design: 18 Novel Ways to Differentiate

While COVID-19 continues disrupting life as we know, it also brings new trends and innovations in the tech field, and UX design is not an exception. As all the world went digital during the lockdown, companies experimented to find new ways of attracting and retaining customers. UX design became a core part of their practices.

A meaningful and eye-catching design is one of the main things to build a brand image and gain customer loyalty. Providing great UX design is what really shows the level of customer care and whether a company is on the same page with its audience. Toptal claims that 88% of users are less likely to return to a site with a poor UX design. Moreover, Google’s research states that 61% of users will be disappointed in a company with a poor UX, even if they like this brand.

However, companies often ignore UX design because they don’t have experienced UX designers or for the sake of the economy. Even though, usually, products with a poor UX end up sadly. Overlooking new trends and practices makes your product far less competitive on the market. That’s why OpenGeeksLab compiled a list of promising trends in design for 2022. Stay with us, to be on top of upcoming tendencies.

18 UX Design Trends and Best Practices

To leverage clients and ascend upon your competitors you have to follow UX design trends and utilize them in your product. Experienced UX designers always keep posted about changes in their field to deliver new, improved experiences to users. So, let’s dive into all upcoming trends in design.

1. Dark Theme


Image source: Dribbble


The first surefire design trend that we’ll have in 2022 is the dark theme. According to Android Authority’s recent poll, 82% of users utilize the dark theme in all apps that have this option. All major companies already rolled out the dark theme for their digital solution. The main argument for the dark theme is that it makes eyes less sore and dry and improves sleep when using devices right before going to bed. However, some reports state that the night mode doesn’t reduce melatonin suppression that has a negative influence on the quality of sleep.

Nevertheless, dark-themed apps have other significant benefits. The dark mode in combination with OLED (organic light-emitting diode) can save the battery lifetime. Besides, users admit that dark-themed apps bring less stress to their eyes and simply look classier. That’s why we are sure that more and more apps will implement this feature.

2. Glassmorphism


Image source: Dribbble


A new visual style that will gain momentum in 2022. Glassmorphism’s characteristic features are:

  • Transparency (the background is blurred and looks like frosted glass)
  • Foreground objects are floating on the screen
  • Bright and saturated background colors highlight and shine through the transparent background

Basically, this trend isn’t a new opening. The earliest forms of glassmorphism appeared back in 2013 in iOS 7. Since that time users liked glassmorphism, so UX designers are trying to put it whenever suitable.

This visual style may be used to design separate elements of your app, create a unique background design, or base a whole app layout on it. To better understand what glassmorphism is and get inspiration check works from other designers on Dribbble.

3. Motion Graphics

Video source: Dribbble


As it is known, visual representation of information is far better perceived by people’s brains than a written one. That’s why motion graphics have their own place on our list. With motion graphics, your UX design can benefit from:

  • Visual clues. Motion design guides users through your app or website with animations that help them with navigation and figuring out what are the most important things on their screen.
  • Responsive elements. Sometimes, it’s hard to realize the purpose of some elements. What determines a good UX design is identifying such elements in advance and creating clues that appear when hovering on these elements.
  • Transitions between pages. Animated transitions capture users’ attention while the page loads. Such a small design aspect creates an illusion of speed when users interact with data-rich pages.

Motion graphics are a great way to grab users’ attention, guide them through your application, and create an entertaining narrative. If used correctly, it may give you a significant advantage over your competitors’ software and create a strong connection with your audience.


4. 3D Design and Animations

Video source: Dribbble


Modern devices are equipped with performant hardware that utilizes 3D design concepts in software. With the right approach, 3D animations make interactions with your solution more immersive and exciting. Apart from the aesthetic side and a wow-effect, this trend also has a practical implementation. 3D animations help UX designers display new elements on the screen without excessive transition and additional loading. Here’s a great example of smooth 3D animation on Codepen.

In industries like retail 3D design can help buyers make a decision. With a 3D model of a product, users can take a look at it from different angles and get a sense of how the product feels in real life. This feature can significantly improve your sales. For example, ROAM Luggage utilizes 3D models of their suitcases to let customers know what their product looks like. Users can get a 3D view of suitcases from both inside and outside, customize them, and see all changes they make in real-time.

5. Unusual Design


Image source: Dribbble


Websites and applications, especially in a B2C segment, turn to unusual illustrations and animations to attract and retain users’ attention. Today, it is rather hard to create an outstanding UX design with stock vector icons and illustrations. That’s why UX designers use more artistic and sometimes freaky elements to surprise users. Here’s an example of Notion, a platform that integrates all your working tools into a single environment. All graphics on their website are carried out in black and white tones.

However, it’s vital to not overcomplicate your custom UX design with counterintuitive elements. Remember, user experience comes first. If you find it hard to create a memorable design, you should stick to its practical side, rather than diving into unconventional solutions. The best way to add uniqueness to your solution is to hire professional UX designers that can combine creativity and usability to satisfy users’ needs.

6. 90s Retro Design


Image source: Dribbble


90s retro UX design is an extraordinary decision that isn’t quite new. This trend had modest success in recent years, but it will definitely gain momentum in 2022. UX designers decided to play on users’ nostalgia feelings and bring modern apps an old-school look and feel. Basically, 90s-inspired design is popular across many niches. Video Makers actively use VHS effects while graphic design often brings vibes of 90s pop culture. No wonder that the UX design industry didn’t stay away from this trend. However, this example will be more suitable for artists and musicians rather than businesses. Check out this concept of a thrift store website in 90s style.

7. Absurd Navigation

Video source: Awwwards


As well as with animations, UX designers try to impress users with absurd navigation approaches. This approach is best suited for single-page, informative websites. While scrolling, users are attacked with information of all sorts, various illustrations, carousels, animations, and so on.

This type of design is rather controversial, due to its difficulty of perception. However, it gets the job done. Users will remember such websites for a long time. That’s why we expect to see more examples of this website in the near future. 2nd street is a prime example of the absurd navigation in UX design.

8. Artificial Intelligence


Image source: Dribbble


Machine learning and artificial intelligence aren’t new to the market. Companies use these concepts to automate a vast scope of tasks and simplify specialists’ workflow in different fields. UX designers aren’t an exception. AI-driven tools are capable of designing layouts and creating illustrations without designers’ presence. For example, Uizard offers an AI assistant that turns simple sketches into editable designs. Now, users can simply scan their draft from a piece of paper and get a ready-made design in a matter of seconds.

Furthermore, Khroma is a useful tool that handpicks colors for UX designers. Specialists simply insert their favorite colors into the app and wait while Ai-based algorithms generate a new palette of colors. If Khroma fails to deliver desired output, designers can exclude colors they don’t like to improve output accuracy.

With AI-powered tools, designers can increase image quality. Let’s Enhance.io automatically increases image resolution with high accuracy. Another tool, Claid.AI can remove visual artifacts, fix lightning, adjust colors, and remove background not involving UX designers.


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9. Virtual and Augmented Reality


Image source: Dribbble


COVID-19 largely influenced the development of VR and AR in the UX design. Businesses utilize AR in UX design of their apps in a similar way to 3D design. In the retail industry, companies implement AR solutions to promote their products and help customers make a decision. One of the most well-known use cases is IKEA’s AR-based app IKEA Place. It allows users to place 3D models of IKEA’s products anywhere in their housing to figure out how it will look like, does it fit clients’ interior, and does its size fits in a space they’re planning to put furnishings in.

Besides, AR can serve as a standalone design concept of your application. Some fitness app developers combine innovative AR trends and classic features of a workout app. Eventually, your product may look like ‘Zombies, Run!’ app. Here, a plain idea of a running app is supplemented with zombies that chase users. The soundtrack adds intense experience making users hear zombies behind their back when they slow down. AR objects that spawn along the way may be further used to build a base. Such gamification adds motivation for jogging and leaves a wide space for monetization.

As for virtual reality, it also brings new opportunities to UX design in 2022. The video game industry is among leading contributors to the development of VR. In recent years VR-based games made a significant advance with a release of such titles as Microsoft Flight Simulator, Boneworks, and Half-Life: Alyx. Apart from creating an exciting plot, or advanced physics for the game, a crucial task for game designers is to create a native and transparent UX design. Since VR isn’t a broadly spread technology, so far, there are no surefire design strategies that’ll make users fall for your app. A uniquely correct approach here is to experiment and find a perfect match for your software.

10. Occasional Changes


Image source: Dribbble


Being responsive to ongoing events is what makes customers perceive your design more lively and establishes a strong subconscious connection with the audience. In a world of ever-growing competition, you have to provide more than outstanding product quality.

Making your design closer to real-world occasions is what distinguishes you from competitors. Providing minor, yet memorable changes to your homepage, logo, background, or blog on different holidays adds uniqueness to your brand. For more inspiration, you can observe some ideas from different designers for the 4th of July provided by Invision.

11. Advanced Personalization


Image source: Dribbble


Conversions and click-through rates are what drives digital businesses and measures their marketing performance. However, due to information that comes from all directions, it’s hard to attract prospects’ attention and make them focus on a product you promote. The most powerful tool of the recent decade that solves this problem is a personalization algorithm.

In plain language, personalization algorithms help your software decide what customers are interested in and show them only the most relevant content. Personalized content is an important part of custom UX design because it shows that you’re on the same page with your audience.

These algorithms are used across a wide range of industries. Consider Netflix, which runs A/B tests that show different series banners to different users. It helps to detect what banners are more effective to make users click and watch the series. Besides, Netflix categorizes all its shows and films into subgenres and tracks what subgenres are in favor of different users. An experiment in 2014 revealed that Netflix had 76,897 different subgenres to better understand their audience. It’s hard to imagine this number now.

E-commerce is another industry that makes use of recommendation algorithms. Based on users’ search requests and interactions with different products, e-commerce platforms suggest similar products that will arouse more interest across users. The largest e-commerce giant Amazon offers its own personalization solution called Amazon Personalize. It allows developers to build, integrate, and train machine learning models that deliver highly customized recommendations to customers across a variety of industries.

12. Voice User Interface Interaction

Video source: Dribbble


The rapid growth of the smart speakers’ market share in the consumer market raised voice interaction’s popularity. Recent research shows that 65% of the audience aged between 25 to 64 use voice search at least once per day. That’s why in-app voice interactions have become one of the fastest-growing trends in design.

The main characteristic of voice access is that it allows for multitasking. Car driving is one of the most common cases that come to mind when thinking about voice-activated apps. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are extremely popular car apps that enable hands-free interaction with smartphones while driving. Voice assistant allows users to set and adjust routes, turn the music on, make calls, listen to text messages, and many more.

Another important benefit of voice access is that it helps people with disabilities to operate their devices with full potential. Voice search, combined with a screen reader makes Internet surfing much easier for people who can’t use manual search.

Moreover, voice-search-enabled sales will reach $40 billion in 2022. That means e-commerce businesses that optimize their websites for voice search will get new leads and generate more revenue. As for retail, this niche can use voice commands to help users navigate through physical stores. Asking a voice chatbot about the location of some product is much faster than figuring it out on your own.

However, voice-activated apps should work flawlessly to not disrupt the user experience. To successfully integrate this feature into your app you have to explore Google’s Voice Interaction API and Apple’s Speech Interaction documentation. It’s also crucial to find experienced UX designers and developers that will make the most out of these tools.

13. Motion Design Details

Video source: Dribbble


Adding a face to your app or a website may be a challenging design obstacle. Overloading your software with graphics and heavy-weight animations significantly slows down the performance and sometimes makes UX design unclear. But how to make a remarkable design without these elements?

The answer is — microinteractions. As the proverb goes, the devil lies in details. And that’s also applicable to UX design. Instead of adding large, full-screen animations, you can add small motion design elements that don’t hurt users’ eyes. As an example, here’s a Dribbble concept for a nutrition app. All animations are relevant to both the color palette and overall app design, provide more information, and make interactions with an app more exciting.

Here’s a shortlist of microinteractions that can be used across your app:

  • An animated ‘app refresh’ icon;
  • Animated page transitions;
  • Animated button tapping;
  • Animated content scrolling;
  • extend information relevant to users with colors.

These are only a few examples that may spice up your app and make it more functional at the same time. Professional UX designers can generate a lot more ideas after they draw up an initial prototype of your future app.


Benefits of Motion Graphics

14. Synchronization Across Devices


Image source: Dribbble


Another UX design trend that helps to multitask and boost users’ performance is device sync. Let’s assume that you offer both web and mobile versions of your app. Synchronizing user data between all platforms and devices helps them access your app without sticking to a particular device. In our fast-moving world, this feature is especially useful for productivity and workflow apps to help users work on the go.

Evernote utilizes this feature with enviable success. This product offers synchronization across desktop, web, and mobile platforms boosting users’ productivity when using computers and helping them access and make notes through the mobile version when needed. Notably, Evernote turned this feature into a revenue generator. With a free plan, users can only synchronize two devices. Usually, it’s enough for everyday tasks having mobile and desktop sync. However, to synchronize unlimited devices users have to subscribe to a paid plan.

Google Chrome’s cross-platform features are great time-savers. When scrolling the Internet on the go, you can instantly open the current tab on any synchronized device. Besides, synchronization between profiles helps to save the same credentials, preferences, favorites, and credit cards across different devices thus saving time on entering the same data multiple times.

15. Inclusive Design

Video source: Dribbble


The inclusive design takes into account the needs of different groups of people. This implies creating a UX design that cares about elders, children, people with certain disabilities, and so on.

The best way to take into consideration everyone’s abilities is to learn from their needs. You’re creating a product for millions of people around the world and you have to make it accessible and comprehensible for each of them. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) is a great initiative that unifies methodologies of creating accessible web design. For example, Intercom Messenger follows all WCAG regulations providing screen reader support, keyboard navigation, and restrained color palette.

Another thing that you have to think of is users’ perspectives. The best way to respect each user’s perspective is to operate with abstract terms. Let’s imagine a default avatar in some social network. If a person enters a ‘male’ in the gender field, you’ll probably set a default image that depicts a healthy, bearded person with masculine facial features. However, all users are individual. Some users may not associate themselves with an avatar you’re assigning to them.

That’s why you can think of people as something abstract. Lemonade, an insurance company, is a great example of how you can handle this issue. When the website asks about users’ cohabitants, it doesn’t depict users as real people. It shows the field ‘roommates’ as a couple of beers, ‘partners’ as two glasses of wine, ‘kids’ as a pack of juice. With this approach, the company distances from gender and relationship stereotypes.

A well-drafted text is also an important part of inclusive UX design. Make sure that you clearly structure your message, don’t make it overcomplicated. Furthermore, use neutral forms. Instead of referring to your audience as ‘guys’, ‘Mr.’, ‘Ms.’ use gender-neutral forms like ‘friends’, ‘users’, and so on.

16. Performance Matters

Video source: Dribbble


Low performance of your software deteriorates user experience and wipes out all your UX design efforts. Additionally, slow websites are ranked lower in Google’s result pages. To boost the software performance you have to add only those elements that bring value to users and don’t significantly influence the loading time.

Here are some aspects that influence the page loading time:

  • Excessive code
  • Large, uncompressed images
  • Outdated and unoptimized API connections
  • Ignoring page caching

To check your page performance use PageSpeed Insights by Google. Still, it’s hard to fix all issues on your own. Software engineers in pair with UX designers should think of all possible issues from the start of the development lifecycle. It’s easier to take care of performance beforehand than fix issues after the product launch.


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17. Human Writing


Image source: Dribbble


Human writing is another step in UX writing evolution. Companies often forget how crucial messaging is. Today, businesses should be laconic, make their texts comprehensible, and easy to read. With such an excess of information on the Internet, users become skeptical about every piece of content they find. This concept is proven by the F-pattern research that shows how users read internet longreads and interact with online content.

That’s why one of the UX design’s goals is to show users messages they want to see in the first seconds of interaction and hold their attention. People are exhausted with similar promotional slogans, selling content, and standard phrases. Establish your own tone of voice and communicate with your customers in a manner they admire.

18. UX Design Simplification


Image source: Dribbble


Time-efficient app interactions make users feel your software is clear. UX design simplification isn’t just about removing excessive information. Repetitive operations, distractions that ruin the user’s concentration, a multitude of choices, and insufficient information about new software are making users feel uncomfortable with your solution.

Here’s what you can do to simplify your UX design and make satisfy users:

  • Make app pages accessible. A three-click rule states that if some data on the website is more than three clicks away from users, it probably won’t reach them. Your goal is to find out user intentions and hand all information they may need on a platter.
  • Remove the obvious, deliver the meaningful. When working with data, texts, images, whatever, don’t display obvious information that doesn’t provide new insights. Instead, transform this information into something that brings real value. For instance, don’t display data rows from databases, transform them into detailed charts.
  • Reduce the choices. The more decisions per page you provide, the less likely users will interact with them. Pages overloaded with decisions can scare users off. Instead, reduce the number of choices and split decisions between different pages.
  • Optimize interactions. The less time users spend on routine tasks, the more they think about purchases. If possible, fill in all fields with data that users have already provided.

There are many more ways to optimize your UX design and simplify interactions with your software. In the real world, it may be hard to toss elements from your layout or provide meaningful data out of nothing. However, even simple steps to UX optimization will still bring benefits and satisfy users.

Breathe New Life into Your Business With Us

As you can see, there are plenty of trends in design for 2022. It may be hard to utilize all of them on your own, with no experienced UX specialist at hand. We, at OpenGeeksLab, deliver custom full-cycle software engineering services that include practical UX design. We always keep our fingers on the pulse of the latest trends to deliver custom UX design solutions that match users’ expectations. Contact us to discover how we can transform your UX design and what benefits it will bring to you.

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