2017 UX design trends for web and mobile apps

September 9, 2017

Conversational UX, personalization, omnichannel, internationalization and other user experience trends in 2017

A great user experience (UX) is crucial to keeping your online visitors interested and engaged.

More than ever, people are spending hours on the web browsing at work, gaming on-the-go during a commute and utilising online tools to increase efficiency on a personal level.

The demands of having a fast on-boarding experience and unparalleled user interface (UI) is becoming an industry standard for an unforgettable experience.

The year of 2017 has brought on new trends and best design practices in web and mobile and we would like to share this with all of you!

Let’s jump right in:

1. Personalization

Consumers now expect apps to be smart, to know what they are looking for and proactively show them what they should be looking at.

If you look at the top consumer apps, a lot of them have a consistent experience of personalization.

2. Conversational UX

Chatbots are a very popular topic this year.

Consumers want conversations and dynamic interactions with apps. A chatbot is one of the most dynamic ways a human can interact with your app.

Recently, I misplaced my flight booking number on Jetstar Airlines. I chanced upon their customer service chatbot Jess who, to my surprise, was able to talk to me and retrieve my flight number.

Conversational UX goes beyond chatbots. Our favorite apps send us messages at the trigger points, creating conversations by saying something relevant at the right time.

3. Omnichannel UX

Omnichannel UX is about giving consumers a consistent experience across channels.

Here's an example of omnichannel UX from Spotify. Spotify allows you to continue listening to the music you love whether you're working at your computer or on-the-go.

You can decide if you want to listen on your website or mobile phone.

When you leave your home or office and whip out your phone, you're given the option to continue listening on your phone.

Omnichannel goes beyond devices. A channel could be any medium through which you interact with your customers. This include devices (e.g. mobile, web, tablet), marketing channels (e.g. ads, retargeting, email, SMS, push) and the physical world (e.g. stores, branches).

4. Offline-to-online (O2O)

A particularly important trend in omnichannel UX is the merging of the physical and digital world.

China is leading the pack in this with the adoption of cashless payments that allows you to eat at a roadside store and shop for groceries at a market and pay with WeChat.

Check out the video below to learn more:

5. Internationalization

The world is becoming increasingly flat and people are travelling a lot. Particularly, wealthy Chinese consumers are traveling all over the world - Paris, Japan, New York - and are shopping outside the domestic market.

It used to make sense for businesses to be organized by country and region, they have separate websites for every country, but we are seeing the breaking down of these boundaries and a trend towards a single, international experience. Businesses that can provide a consistent experience to their customers whether they are in the US, Europe or Asia will win.

Not convinced?

Look at this statistic from Bain. Chinese consumers make up a third of the global luxury market, but only 7% of sales are made in China.

6. Enchanting features

Consumer standards for usability have increased significantly. Basic usability is no longer a plus, but a given. The differentiating factors for web and mobile apps come in enchanting details that delight users.

We see this happening not just in the Western world, but in China as well. People used to think that interfaces in China were very cluttered and unsightly, but UX in China has caught up and in many situations is leading the pack.

UXDesign.cc, a thought leader in UX design, also shares this view:

Why does one choose to use Gmail over Yahoo, Medium over Blogger — if the features are 99% the same? It’s definitely not about disrupting usability standards. It’s about that additional layer of sophistication that can only be achieved when you put enough time and brainpower into the tiniest details, the most subtle animations, the most elegant transitions – not just for the sake of creating whimsical dribbble shots.

7. Everyone's a designer

The role of UX designer is blurring and extending to everyone from business people to data scientists.

There are aspects to UX that come from simple and great interface design. There are also many aspects to UX that come from other things like great engineering, sales teams deciding to put up less ads, senior management restructuring departments.

The challenges in UX lie not in interface design, but with bringing together multidisciplinary teams to solve the technical challenges of achieving the user experience that will delight customers.

An example is Alibaba's Smile To Pay, where Chinese consumers can smile to make a payment. The innovation in UX comes from a multidiscliplinary collaboration between data scientists, interaction designers and data engineers:

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