“Eternity belongs to those who live in the present.” Ludwig Wittgenstein
What is our future? Travels to Mars, flying vehicles, voice-controlled homes, robots, drones, and urbanistic landscapes? Partially. It is so close that we can feel the wind from its wings on our cheeks. It’s being created at every moment of our lives. It’s being created by everyone, but it’s defined by the determined, resilient, creative, and innovation-driven.
Your every single decision contributes to this world’s future. Every digital design decision contributes to the future look and feel of human-technology interaction. What is the digital present and future? In this article, you can find some answers based on what I have discovered working within the intersection of digital design, product marketing and brand management.
Accessibility of technology is becoming a reality. Today, increasingly more developers care to build more accessible products that are easy to use for everyone, with no exceptions. They strive to make information and technology accessible for everyone, including people with physical and cognitive disabilities. Although this field is still at the early evolutionary stage, it has already delivered great results and crystalized some timely and timeless tactics of user-oriented UX design.
With the advent of artificial intelligence, product development teams have got more opportunities for creating accessible technology. AI is our ally — many experts think so, and I agree. A great example of this is Microsoft’s AI Accessibility Program committed to empowering people with disabilities and gathering a community of professionals to bring digital product accessibility to the next level.
Although my previous article about Inclusive UX Design faced the readers’ support and criticism simultaneously, I was excited to see that people do care about Inclusion and building more accessible products. Also, I’m happy to say that Inclusion is becoming a wonderful and powerful trend across different areas, from product design, technology and marketing to politics.
It “shouts out” from media announcements about Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala that has recently become the first woman and the first African to lead the World Trade Organization. Inclusion wonderfully deploys in new brand methodologies, like Microsoft’s Inclusive Design Methodology and Apple’s “Different Together” statement.
This trend finds its reflection even in digital marketing: a great example is Balmain’s New Virtual Army, the trio of virtual models that symbolizes diversity and inclusion. Shudu (in the middle of the photo) was named a “digital projection of real-life black womanhood” by The New Yorker. Also, she has become one of the most popular social media influencers in the world.
“Little rainbow blobs that everyone struggles to tell apart in their tabs”– it’s how TechCrunch named Google’s new logos for G Suite. Although this logo collection has been massively criticized, it has become the most popular example of a new trend — temporal logos.
Yes, Google’s example is not probably the best implementation in design. However, the trend itself is quickly growing in the modern digital world. More and more brands start creating different logo variations and logo collections. Some of them are customized for mile markers like holidays, product launches, public events, celebrations or even seasons of the year.
Earlier, companies have been designing logos with longevity in mind. Today, many brands prioritize flexibility and timely design refreshments to keep up with the fast-changing digital landscape and online consumer preferences.
Gradient design is an over-popular trend today. We can see beautiful gradient color effects almost everywhere on the modern web: digital illustrations, logo and branding design, web design, mobile app design, graphic design, online advertising banners and even animated commercials.
Gradient design looks fresh. It brings some associations with flexibility, innovation and fun. Most forward-thinking brands strive to stick to these modern values in their marketing. The popularity of gradients is booming. It’s an impressive trend and a great color choice, I suppose.
The human voice was reimagined. Now, it’s the means of communication not only with people but also with technology. Voice-enabled devices and chatbots quickly evolve, opening even more opportunities for product accessibility.
Conversational user experience combines chat, voice or any other natural language-based technology to mimic a human conversation and enable voice control over digital products. It involves conversations with AI personalities that help humans smooth out the interactions with the digital product. If you asked, “What’s the digital future?” one of my answers would be, “It’s in conversational UX.”
Glitch art has become Twitter’s recent design choice. The social media giant has decided to refresh its look and add more innovation, playfulness and beautiful chaos to its visual style. It’s a great experiment! This trend is quickly embracing the web. Today, we can see glitches incorporated into the web and mobile app design by even “serious” companies and institutions.
When they do so, it looks like they are saying to customers: “Let’s put traditionalism aside and have a little bit of fun!” or “Yep. We also are cool and innovative.”
Today, we love data even more than ever. It empowers us. It opens new opportunities for more natural interaction with technologies. It builds predictions that come true. It helps us figure out the true reasons for events and processes happening around us. Data is the power. The more data someone owns, the preciser this data is, and the more knowledge of applying it you have — the bigger the power. Now, we won’t talk about Facebook, Google Chrome, Google Maps, and other systems that are watching us. 😛 We’ll just talk about “the design of data.”
Data visualization and infographics much evolved. The most innovative companies often visualize data in dark, gradient or light-themed designs with the incorporation of futuristic aesthetics, space motives, blurred photography and even artistic collages set in the background. Today, data can look playful, dramatic, elegant, and minimalist, depending on the brand’s tone and the mood of information.
What’s Now? Our NOW is all the trends mentioned above. What’s Next? It depends on everyone. Some of these digital design trends will be existing for a while. Others will determine a long-lasting digital tendency. However, every creator has the power to influence the digital world’s history. No matter how small or big we’re — now, everyone matters and every contribution makes the difference. It’s just a matter of everyone’s choice.