An Expert’s Guide to Great Design in 2018

One of the things we learned in our webinar is that a well-designed interactive experience is as easy to use as it is visually appealing. This post covers Interactive Design from a technical standpoint with Jay Ojea, Senior Product Specialist, along with his 2017 trends and 2018 predictions for impactful interactive design.

2017 Interactive Design Trends

I think we could spend a lot of time talking about things like the state of flat design or usage of 3D visuals and geometric shapes, since those are normal front-end facing design trends. But I think there’s a trend of that fits alongside these that ultimately may be more impactful. I think there’s been a shift to a more uniform web experience.

In 2017, there was much less of a focus on pushing the boundaries of design to stand out and more of a focus on usability and design goals. Uniformity sounds like a bad word sometimes, but I don’t mean uniformity in the sense of being boring or being average. What I mean is uniformity in the sense of it offers much greater usability. Uniformity doesn’t mean that the content or the experience can’t stand out or can’t be creative. Instead, creativity is shifting to happen within these guardrails of having a really defined and understandable approach to design.

Make sure your goals are very attainable and very obvious. Here are a couple of obvious examples used widely today . First, the three horizontal lines on a page in the top right corner, known to some as the hamburger menu. Some use this as a navigation alternative on mobile. It’s goal is to equip  users to use to move around the page and site more efficiently. Second, a header image. Many times these come equipped with a logo to define who is being addressed or the topic of a page. Other times, it contains navigation that I mentioned. Again, the point here is to make it attainable and obvious.

With elements like buttons and links, it’s important to make sure those styles are very clear about what you’re asking users to do. It ensures everyone gets what they want out of the piece.

Now we move on to predictions.

I think we’re going to see an increased focus on simplifying designs for usability. As designers, we will ask ourselves questions like, “What is our goal?” So when we strategize for content, we don’t want to lose focus of that goal. Design should strengthen the potential of that goal being reached.

Prediction: Increased focus on simplifying designs for usability.

Like Audrey Ross, Director of Customer Engagement, mentions, we want design to drive users through the funnel, so we want to make that process as simple and seamless as possible..

Some other questions we as designers shouldt ask:

  • What can we do to ensure that the goal is clear once we’ve got something wireframed and in progress?
  • Does design get in the way or does it promote usability?
  • Can we test this internally?
  • Can we get different audiences using our content to make sure it is totally understandable and totally usable across audiences and channels?
  • Once we launch, can we run a live test of these that maybe keeps an eye out for things like areas of opportunity or things that could potentially be improved, and is there a seamless way to improve those things on the fly?

As we see design simplicity increasing in 2018, it’s important design also starts with and carries the content strategy goal throughout the content lifecycle.

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