There’s more to being a successful publisher than simply having a great website. To stay ahead of the competition you must keep on top of the latest user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) trends.
A well-designed and structured UI speaks to visitors’ eyes. To heighten the UX, and encourage visitors to stick around and explore, add interactivity and ensure your site is well organized.
With this in mind, let’s look at some of the trends shaping UI and UX design in 2019.
With attention spans reaching an all-time low, publishers have to adopt new UX design tactics. Here’s what’s popular right now.
Micro-interactions are small details with one purpose: to delight the visitor and create a moment that is fun and human. They’re typically used on clickable elements, such as hyperlinks and buttons. You can easily add micro-interactions to your website and subtly enhance your visitors’ experience with a plugin such as Highlight and Share.
Curbed, for example, uses micro-interactions throughout its navigation. Place your cursor on one of the social media buttons at the top-right of its navigation, and it turns gray.
Then, after a few seconds, a snippet of text encouraging you to follow the brand on the specific social network pops up.
The hyperlinks placed within the website’s content tend to turn gray when a cursor hovers over them too.
2. Featured Content Boxes
Adding featured content boxes to a blog post gives readers a quick and easy way to see the most important information on a given concept. Featured content boxes break up the monotony of text-based content and are especially beneficial for product review publishers. You can use these boxes in several ways, from highlighting a specific feature to sharing your verdict; they bring a uniquely branded element to your content that’s hard to ignore.
WireCutter uses featured content boxes in the majority of its articles to highlight its top product picks and ensure that visitors don’t miss out on the most important details of a given product.
There’s a reason why illustrations are one of the hottest UX trends of 2019: they’re an excellent tool for storytelling and are more versatile than photographs. Add them as hero images to your email pop-ups, blog articles, and landing pages. Well-crafted illustrations also help publishers communicate feelings and complex messages quickly – when visitors see the illustration, they grasp the concept in a glance.
The New Yorker uses illustrations in various parts of its website. You find illustrations on its home page, on the featured image of its articles, as well as on the website pop-up it uses to get readers to subscribe.
4. Organic Shapes
With their humanistic and hand-drawn appearance, organic shapes add a personal touch to your branding. Many websites have shed the conventional square, rectangle, and circular shapes and replaced them with uneven and natural elements to make their UX feel more approachable for prospective readers. When complemented by an image or illustration, organic shapes also add another level of depth to your overall design.
Here, Econsumermatters uses organic shapes to give its homepage a natural feel and attract additional attention to the images on its webpage.
5. Non-Intrusive Ads
From a UX standpoint, ads can distract visitors from exploring and reading content. This is why many publishers now skip gaudy banners in favor of native ads. Native ads blend in with the rest of the publisher’s content. As a result, native ads become part of the UX, which makes them feel non-intrusive.
NDTV runs native ads, via Taboola, on the article pages in its news verticals. Visitors enjoy the familiar editorial experience they’re accustomed to and engage with a content-rich feed that includes both organic and sponsored content.
In addition to UX trends, publishers must follow good UI practices to encourage positive online interactions. Below are the UI trends to keep tabs on.
Cards are those tiny rectangles featuring text and images that act as entry points to more detailed content. While they’re not exactly a new trend, their ease of use in mobile design makes them an excellent tool for sharing a lot of information in a limited space. Users can see a variety of content pieces at a glance, this empowers them to engage in any manner they choose.
The Verge uses cards on its homepage to break content into meaningful chunks that are easy to scan and click through.
You’ll also find cards on its mobile website. What’s great about digital cards is you can display them in several ways, such as vertically in a rectangular shape.
7. Time-Saving Design
Time-saving design aims to provide readers with only the most relevant information to save as much time as possible. Capitalize on this trend by keeping your website navigation simple, use CTAs within your content, and break large content blocks down into smaller, more digestible pieces.
HomeJockey99.com is a great example of time-saving design. It has straightforward navigation with only a handful of options.
Additionally, this blog owner uses visuals, sub-headings and bullet points to make it easy for readers to digest the content.
8. A Search Option
Many users search for particular content on publishers’ websites. Having an easily accessible search option makes it simpler for them to go where they want to go. In the past, UI practices called for placing search at the far end of a sticky menu, but if visitors leverage your search option frequently, it is better to have that search option in plain sight.
Consumer Reports displays the search option in a prominent area of its homepage. It’s one of the first things visitors come across when they open the website.
9. Large Fonts
Although they may sometimes look clunky, larger fonts have been found to improve the reading experience. Bigger fonts, with more easily recognizable paragraph styles and content, allow readers to better classify the various types of sections they are viewing. This plays a crucial role in blog pages, where large and clear paragraphs offer the user valuable insight into what the content has to offer.
News Deeply leverages large fonts for titles and excerpts of its news articles, helping visitors pick out key points to determine if the information is interesting enough to warrant a deeper read.
10. White Space
White space (also referred to as negative space) is the empty area between images, text, video, graphics and other elements. Publishers increasingly use this to smooth things out and emphasize the most important elements in their UI. For audiences, a good experience means having space to breathe between elements and getting the opportunity to relax their eyes.
On its homepage, Likehacker uses white space in the most direct way, but with purpose. Placing the content front and center surrounded by empty space guides visitors’ eyes directly to the information; without question, it’s clear that the publisher wants them to read its articles.
Ready to Up Your UI/UX Game?
The UI and UX trends dominating the world of digital publishing are ripe for the picking. Incorporating them into your web design will be beneficial. Take the time and effort to make the right tweaks.
Experiment to see what works and what doesn’t. Remember that the ultimate goal is to improve visitors’ lives. Get your UI and UX right and you’ll gain a new set of audiences who not only read your content, but also might just refer it to their friends when they engage in discussions.