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As we look back on 2017 here are a few of the top UX design trends that hit the design world.

Looking back on the year in UX design we were struck by the innovative direction we see in the industry. Here are the top design trends we loved in 2017:

1. Priority+ menus

For mobile websites, another very strong alternative (and probably the easiest to implement) is the Priority+ design pattern (coined by Michael Scharnagl), in which you drop elements off the end of the menu as needed based on screen size, rather than immediately hiding everything under a hamburger menu. This obviously works best if you’ve prioritized the menu with the most important items first.

While it may not have the purity of a tab bar, it has the distinct advantage of being very straightforward to adapt from a traditional main menu bar.

2. Tab bars

The best solution for mobile apps (and possibly mobile sites) seems to be a tab bar, either at the top or bottom of the screen (probably top for responsive websites), with 4–5 icon+text buttons for the primary navigation options. This is the approach Facebook settled on as their new navigation structure. The benefit of the icon+text structure is that it allows you to condense the text while still keeping the button size large enough to deal with big thumbs.

(GameStop mobile site; James Archer website)

3. Subtle animation and micro-interactions

Something huge and in-your-face could be overwhelming and distracting to the viewer. But something subtle could give your design an organic feel.

For years we’ve been seeing animation used to ‘reward’ a user for an action. For example, something moves on hover or on click interactions. Recently, however, we’re seeing subtle animation integrated into pages as a design element, used to draw the viewer’s attention. In particular, we’ve been seeing a lot of waypoints, which allow events to trigger as a user scrolls down a page, meaning we can get people to look exactly where we want them to.

Whether they’re implemented through javascript or CSS, micro-interactions not only serve a UX purpose, but also give a site a personality.

Microinteractions are secondary features existing to fulfill a single task. If we start paying attention, we’ll see microinteractions everywhere. It’s an animation of a heart popping up when you like an Instagram photo. It’s a pull-to-refresh feature in many popular apps. It’s a green checkmark showing that a username you’ve typed in is vacant.

(Foursquare app; MailChimp)

4. Gamification

Gamification is the “application of game-design elements and game principles [to] non-game contexts,” with the aim of increasing user engagement. In other words: do you want people to remember your site/product/service? How about explore deeper into it? Make it fun!

(DuoLingo language learning app)

These are just a few of the innovative trends and practices in the UX design world. No doubt 2018 will be another exciting year in ground-breaking design and user experience.

Until next time!

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