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Year's end and beginning is always a time full of reflections about the past & the future. It's a perfect opportunity to make some predictions that will help us as designers plan what to learn to boost our careers.
Let's then analyze the current trends and predict what will be the hype of 2024!
But first... since I am working on design predictions every year - let's sum up briefly what I was right about.
In the last year article, I made a few statements on how the design will evolve. Here are those who were predicted successfully:
Let's get back to future thinking now. There are multiple categories that will play a more significant role in our industry; some fresh things will explode for sure. Grab the mug of your favorite coffee, and let's go through them one by one!
2023 became a year of AI. There is a huge hype around every tool that uses a plan to implement it. This starts to feel a bit similar to the boom of dot coms in early 2000. To avoid landing in a world of absurdity, we need to shift our thinking of AI in a bit of a different direction.
Instead of thinking about AI and building products or services around it, we need to think of how solutions may benefit from AI.
The customers & business need should be first, as it was always in the past. Only by having a good foundation can we start to think of how AI may boost it.
If this doesn't happen, the entire buzz around it may be the beginning of the next round of financial crises. I am writing this because AI brings a lot of hope for humanity; let's not waste it!
You already noticed that this trend in 2023. This will continue in the next one - the entire design workflow will be changed or adapted to involve AI, which will boost our results.
It's not about changing the design process in general but more about leveraging AI-powered tools that will help us deliver outputs faster with better quality.
At the beginning of the year, we started to use ChatGPT, Midjourney, and Dall-E to enhance our research, ideation, or design validation. I already wrote an article about including AI in the design process back then.
While it was a new thing, in 2024, it will become a standard. I am not speaking only about chatbots or image generators. Lots of tools have recently included AI add-ons to their services that are pretty useful Figjam with their Jambot - able to prepare boards, analyze content & feedback much faster. User testing tools like Usertesting.com are able to help you analyze sessions, make automatic transcripts, and summarize the research with AI.
In 2024, we will go even deeper. I am pretty sure that more mechanical works, like creating variants in Figma, are possible to automate very soon. This will become a real booster for us; we just have to keep an eye on AI.
Another topic related to Artificial intelligence. The previous one was all about using the new tools, but where are the users of the product... there has to be a designer, too.
In my opinion, designers skilled in designing for AI will bring a lot of value to the companies. AI designers need to think of how to interact with this technology and how to model it to be intuitive to use. Who knows, maybe this will lead to new UI paradigms.
This specialty won't replace regular UX or product designers but will be at an extra level, making sure that AI is trained and adjusted to act in a user-friendly way.
When the recent financial crisis began, it was clear that it would affect the IT industry. We've seen hundreds of layoffs, so now hiring a designer is much easier. What does it mean for those with no or little experience? It's much harder to get a job.
Till the investors pay extra attention to where their money goes, the companies won't start massive recruiting processes. They need to select those who will perform well.
If you are a junior, you need to show that you will bring value to the team. Learn what the ROI of UX is and learn the strong foundations of the design process; this is a must. Always have a case study that demonstrates your way of thinking. Besides that, during recruitment - surprise recruiters with something, like boosting workflow with AI.
Remember, it's all about your attitude. For some, something is an obstacle; for others, it's an opportunity. Take your side - good luck!
Finally, last year's predictions were true. We are stepping faster into the AR/VR revolution thanks to Apple Glasses.
While the device itself is just a first iteration and certainly needs a lot of improvements, visionOS is truly amazing.
When I saw it, I remembered a famous event from 2007, when Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone. That singularity moment changed the game. I believe that now, maybe on a bit smaller scale, we are witnessing the same.
I am waiting to see how designers & engineers will push visionOS to its limits and show us truly amazing experiences. All of this is coming next year when the first Apple Vision Pro devices will land in the hands of users.
Most apps will probably land as a glass-surfaced version of their macOS or ipadOS release, but I strongly believe that there is much to discover and go far beyond that. Just imagine the next level of remote workshops, 3d modeling software, medical apps, interior designs, and many, many more...
Use that time to learn the principles of AR, but don't stop at that. Just like with the iPhone, the true revolution was started by indie creators, which revealed wonders - the same will happen with virtual reality.
Framer for regular websites like personal, blogs, small business, and fast iterations, Webflow for large solutions and enterprises. In my opinion, this is where these two competitors will land in 2024. However, I want to make a guess that another great contributor will join the no-code field...
If you use Figma a lot, you may notice that in the last two years, they have made a lot of progress in terms of not only how the design looks but also how it works. If you bring interactive components, an auto-layout feature (which works like a flex box now), and a prototyping transition - you have a recipe for a next-generation no-code platform.
Will this happen this year? Maybe, next to AI, no-code seems to be a very hot topic. I am sure that the Figma team explore this opportunity.
Since the introduction of the Apple Watch, nothing interesting happened in recent years. However, a company called hu.ma.ne introduced a very interesting device. AI Pin feels fresh, a new level of wearable solutions. I am not 100% convinced that it will conquer the market, but I definitely admire the original approach. I would love to see more like this, leveraging the power of AI as the advisor.
The first age of skeuomorphism was very naive; everything had to be literally reflected on a digital screen. It has its charm but also a lot of flaws.
When flat design became the trend, everything changed. We started to pay attention to spacing & good typography more. In a world full of information, decluttered UI was a hope for gaining the focus.
But it's not completely how humans perceive the world around them. We need affordances and subtle clues of how things work or relate to each other. Glass was a good direction; it's easy to create a modern-looking UI, still flat & minimalistic, but giving some hints to the human brain.
Next, see the light reflections for many recently introduced dark themed websites. They are not just an ornament, they help to build additional sense of depth.
This is where the future lies. We need subtle shadows; we need elevation & materials to understand better how to interact with graphical user interfaces.
Subtle skeuomorphic effects applied carefully will make brands stand out with textures & shapes. We already see that UIs have started to evolve this way.
This trend is already on many landing pages, but there are some large companies that started to apply new skeuomorphic elements to their mobile apps. For the best example, check Airbnb with their recently released updates. See how they nicely added 3D book, shiny button, or awards visual to their minimalist interface. It simply looks gorgeus, especially when connected with meaningful motion design.
The above predictions, made based on already existing signs, should help you think of what goals to plan for the next year. Obviously, many unexpected things may happen; let's keep being good observers.
Which of the above predictions do you think will happen? Do you see something else on the horizon? Don't hesitate to share your thoughts.
Thanks for reading.