Following the state of the art in digital product design means chasing a moving target. Best practices and dominant ideas keep changing, year after year, and it pays to keep an eye on the trends that have become prominent across industries and organization types.
The key to following product design trends is to remember that not every change will relate directly to your work. You need to remain guided by what's best for your users and your brand as a whole.
This year, many designers will commit to making their products accessible to the broadest possible audience, all while keeping their organizational goals in mind. With that said, there are numerous ideas worth tracking in 2024.
When considering product design in 2024, it's worth noting that some ideas from 2023 or earlier will remain strong as the year goes on. For instance, an evolved form of user-centric design has been a leading fixation for years now and remains influential.
On the other hand, a few of the concepts drawing designers' attention are relatively new. As an example, the rapid development of fresh new use cases for artificial intelligence over the past few months has made companies and individuals rethink their approaches to both design and development.
Some leading trends to watch closely in 2024 include:
User experience writing has become an ever-greater priority as the years have gone on. While this evolution has been steady, it's ready to come to the forefront in 2024. Design teams are committing to releasing their digital products with consistent, inclusive UX writing that doesn't make assumptions about users and welcomes the widest possible audience. Focus areas in UX writing include:
In 2024 companies are advancing their accessibility efforts. Across most regulatory areas, accessibility is not yet mandated or dictated by official rules. This means design teams committing to accessible design are ahead of the curve, but also not driven by specific standards.
Designers are rethinking some of the major visual UI norms of the past few years and reconsidering them through the lens of accessibility and user comfort. This means treating standards like Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) as starting points and going further. For example, while WCAG mandates the use of color contrast to help colorblind users comprehend data visualizations, designers are investigating even more accessible visuals, such as dedicated spacing, patterns, different shapes and lines on graphs and visualizations.
AI is the hottest trend in technology across sectors and segments. Rapid development in AI processing power and increased access to high-tech generative algorithms have naturally influenced design workflows, though not without some controversy. For instance, companies are hesitant to train AI on material that contains sensitive information. There are facets of the AI explosion worth monitoring, such as:
Some trends set to dominate design thinking in 2024 are more continuations and evolutions of existing industry ideas than truly new concepts. The best example of this theme may be the way design teams are approaching user-centricity, an idea that has shaped their overall strategy for years, becoming especially notable around 2015. The 2024 version of this concept means:
Software visual interface design is entering a period of minimalism and simplification. This represents a contrast to some of the trends that predominated in the past few years. Designs featuring glass morphism, with numerous levels resembling glass panes, experienced a wave of popularity that has since receded. Notable sub-trends include:
The move toward this year's dominant design trends, especially in terms of accessibility and inclusivity, is not being driven by specific triggers such as a major shift in user feedback or regulatory pressure from agencies. Rather, organizations are falling into step with overall philosophical shifts in their industries.
Reaching the broadest possible user base through designs that follow best practices is a philosophy driving designers' efforts. This has manifested in both long-term trends such as user-centric design and more recent efforts such as the deemphasis on glass morphism.
It's important to remember that not every business will take on tech trends with the same speed or priority. Often, the difference comes down to scale:
On an individual designer level, it pays to be unafraid to acquire new skills and pursue self-guided training offerings. Designers eager to take this approach today can start dabbling in skills based around new technology areas, for instance, integrating generative AI tools into everyday workflows.
AI is not the only rising tech area that could prove relevant. With a new wave of more user-friendly augmented reality and virtual reality hardware on the horizon, immersive UX design may soon be an in-demand area of expertise.
In the 2024-2025 job market, design teams may be looking for personnel who know their way around three-dimensional design, anticipating more interest in AR and VR software. Staying aware of changing trends as they break is a valuable practice for designers eager to ride the next wave of industry evolution.
Companies hoping to refresh their design philosophy and integrate new trends can find assistance by working with outside consultants and industry experts. This approach is a way to work new ideas into the design process while ensuring the ideas involved are solid, rather than momentary industry fixations.
For example, Transcenda's teams are well-versed in cutting-edge design philosophies that have been vetted and proven their value. There is a balance to be struck between new ideas and established best practices, and the expert consultants and hands-on team members at Transcenda understand where that line is located.
Transcenda can help determine relevant places to integrate new concepts into product designs. This collaborative approach delivers results that can please users while targeting business objectives, driving real value through savvy design. Contact us to learn more.