Rob Tannen posted the following question to IxDA.org:
What do you see as the current or emerging trends in user interface design? I don’t mean the big changes like gestural interfaces, mobile devices, social networking, etc—I mean the more specific changes to the information architecture and graphical design of screens across devices/platforms.
Five general trends came to mind.
- Across the board, user interfaces are becoming more contextual. This includes location awareness as well as awareness of identity, platform/technology, environmental conditions, and the like. User interfaces are utilizing whatever information they can to tailor the experience to not just a specific user, but the user’s specific context at any given point in time.
- Very much related to item 1, applications are becoming more connected. Based on contextual information, applications can connect to data sources, other applications, and other devices.
- User interfaces are becoming more dynamic. From ajax calls that allow web applications to display new information without refreshing the page, to animated transitions that cue the user into changes on the screen, to the natural interactions afforded by touch and gesture-based input, our user interfaces are becoming quicker, subtler, smoother, flashier—whatever adjective you need to improve the user experience. They are more nuanced.
- User interfaces are becoming richer. They are richer both visually and experientially. I suppose you could say that richness is really just a combined measurement of the previous three items, but I see it as more than the sum of those qualities.
- At the same time, applications are becoming more focussed, dealing with a smaller set of tasks and doing them very well. A combination of context and focus is allowing user interfaces to become clearer (not necessarily simpler).