2021: Top 12 UI UX Trends You Should Know

The top UI UX trends 2021 not to miss out on. UI design trends and UX design trends in 2021 will be dominated by the change in behaviors and habits due to COVID-19.

The COVID-19 pandemic has massively changed the way we live and the way we use internet. Some of the top UI UX Trends 2021 will be dominated by the changes COVID-19 has brought to our lives and also the recovery from COVID-19 in 2021.

If “pandemic” is the word of the year for 2020, we hope that the word of the year for 2021 will be “recovery”.

Top UI Design Trends of 2021

Top UX Design Trends of 2021

1. Bright and colorful tone on a white background

A combination of matching colors has the potential to greatly improve the user experience (UX) of your interfaces while a bad combination will turn the users away.

As the COVID-19 situation improves in 2021, companies will start fresh with a bright and colorful tone for their website and app design to create a lively side for their branding.

As one of the top UI design trends in 2021, bright colors will be widely adopted for UI elements such as icons, boxes, buttons, etc. To better showcase the bright colors, designers will prefer using a pure white background.  

2. Creative and relevant images with a human touch

What’s a better way to attract users to your content other than a striking and creative image? In 2021, an image that showcases people or human interaction will add more value than usual, after all the lock-downs in 2020.

Make sure that your images are relevant to your content and properly attributed, especially for your impatient users.

3. Nature and sustainability

Has your country or state officially declared a “climate emergency“? Nature and sustainability is a huge topic in 2020 and will become a top UI design trend in 2021 and beyond.

Environmental-friendly brands who are going green will likely run frequent campaigns with nature and sustainability themes.  In 2021, users will likely be more attracted to nature after staying at home and working from home for so long.

4. Cards of multiple fixed dimensions

One of the biggest improvements that come with iOS 14 is the customizable widget. The widgets allow the display of key app contents at a glance on the iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

The widgets come in 3 cards of small, medium, and large sizes. After choosing a widget, users enter an edit mode where they can choose between small, medium, or large sizes.

UX designers for iOS will need to design cards for 3 different sizes going forward. Things to take note of:

  • The widget is not a shortcut to the app.
  • It is best to display relevant content related to your app. For example, temperature (for a weather app), game status (for a gaming app), upcoming appointments (for a scheduling app), etc.
  • The widget should look good in both light mode and dark mode. Avoid using a dark font color on a light background for dark mode and vice versa.
iOS widget sizes

5. Huge typography

In 2021, do not shy away from using huge typography for your website or product page! As long as the texts are relevant, able to attract attention, and add value to your brands.

You can also use huge typography in between your articles to highlight catchy phrases, quotes, important data, facts, or summary statements.  

6. Prioritizing accessibility

Accessibility is no longer one of the top UI UX trends 2021. It is a necessity.

Accessibility is a practice of creating a digital service that is usable by as many people as possible, especially for those with special needs, disabilities, or impairments. These include users who require more attention such as users with visual impairment, hearing impairment, rheumatoid arthritis, Asperger’s, dyslexia, or older users.

COVID-19 pandemic has pushed more people to shop online, stream online, and do things online. Some of them may require help and more attention. In 2021, more brands may perform an accessibility audit to make sure that their digital services cater to everyone.  

Read how the UK government builds accessibility with its accessibility empathy lab.

7. UX writing

UX writing is again included as one of the top UI UX trends 2021.

As more business functions and activities are moving online, it is important to create a consistent brand voice and language not just for your users, but also for your internal stakeholders. The same brand voice should be applied across all platforms and devices.

That’s when UX writing comes in. UX writing is part of the company-wide content strategy to ensure that users are able to complete their tasks while and the brand voice is consistent.

In 2021, we will see even more priority given to UX writing.

8. Revamp in information architecture

If your users’ goals and motivations changed massively in 2020, you are not alone.

In 2020, most major consumer brands have created a permanent section on their websites to feature updates, promotions, impacts related to COVID-19. This change is in response to users’ increasing concern about COVID-19.

As business conditions and sentiments recover in 2021, will we witness a return to the norm for users’ goals and motivations?

Maybe not. We may still see a semi-permanent section related to COVID-19 instead of a permanent one on websites. This semi-permanent section ensures that no users are left out on the latest COVID-19 updates while giving users the flexibility to collapse it if they want to. 

9. Remote UX research

Remote UX research is the solution to COVID-19 social distancing. In 2021, more UX research sessions will be carried out online, such as remote usability testing, remote in-depth interview, remote UX workshop, etc. 

10. VUI and voice search

Voice User Interface (VUI) or voice search has been forecasted by many as a top UX trend since a few years back. We have seen increased adoption and advances in the areas of home automation, office productivity, and ecommerce for the past year. 

In 2021, we will see more adoptions for voice commands on daily basis, hence the need to consistently research and enhance the user experience for VUI. VUI will gain more importance as a medium of interaction with technology.

11. VR and AR taking off

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely disrupted global economic activity and the sector that has been the most severely affected is the service sector. This includes international and domestic travel, accommodation, hospitality, education, etc.

2020 and beyond will be the moment virtual reality and augmented reality finally taking off.

You can now find many of the most popular tourist destinations worldwide on Google’s Arts & Culture platform. Take a tour around the world in 360 degrees or go inside a space shuttle in VR, with storytelling!

With AR and VR, you can also bring an interactive and virtual environment into the classes, be it at home or at school post-COVID. 

12. Is UX dead?

Unfortunately, UX is not yet a necessity for most of the companies not in the tech industry.

The fallout from the coronavirus outbreak is hammering a lot of companies, especially those in the service sector. As a result, the company budget for UX designers, UX researchers, or UX projects has been significantly cut.

However, this is definitely not the end of the road for UX. COVID-19 has brought about new opportunities related to UX, such as:

  • Addressing accessibility in existing or new digital service
  • Improving product and service design
  • Understanding the new personas that never really existed before the pandemic
  • Engaging users with new content strategy post COVID-19
  • Adapting to the new UI UX design trends


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