While UI and UX are often interchangeable or misunderstood, both UI and UX are different types of design work and need to be thought of accordingly. UI, or User Interface, is design work that is focused on the design of the aesthetic elements of the product. The UI is specifically the visual part of the product, so we are talking about things like the color schemes, how the digital product is navigated through, button placements, imagery used, animations, etc. The main focus of User Interface is creating the digital touch points so the user can interact with the product. For UI specifically, we are talking about digital products only, while when we get into UX that can cover both physical and digital products.
UX, meanwhile, is an abbreviation for user experience design, which is the structural way that the user moves through the product. These are the functional elements of the product starting from the user’s first contact with the product right through until the end. The goal of UX is to design the most effective product for the user. UI and UX designers will work very closely together to be able to bring the full product to life.
To help both UI and UX designers land work, building an online portfolio is an important part in showing potential clients or employers your capability. We’ve compiled 15 UI design ideas and 15 UX ideas that would be great for you to incorporate into your online portfolio.
Having the ability to develop a truly great UI design is an impressive and sought after skill to have – these designs should be engaging, impressive to look at, and easy for users to navigate. Trends will constantly be changing and UI designers will need to continue to evolve and think outside the box to imagine different ways to develop aesthetically pleasing designs. Whether you are in need of inspiration for a design you are working on or are in the stages of building up your online portfolio, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 15 of the best UI design ideas for you to implement into your next project:
A commonly used UI design idea is to create a dark mode version – this is something that has already been implemented into a lot of designs and gives the users more choices on how they want to view and use your product. The thing about implementing dark mode as a UI theme, is you have to make sure that the entire interface is able to operate both in its regular version as well as the dark mode, meaning all the visuals are compatible in both color schemes.
Adding in swiping features within designs is becoming more and more common and something that users really enjoy. Swiping can take the place of buttons and act as more of an interactive way for users to move through the UI design. Many of the trends and ideas for UI design work well in conjunction with each other – for example, adding animation within your swiping experiences can really add to the design.
Asymmetrical layouts are another trend that is becoming more and more popular – it leaves a lot of space for creativity for the designers. It can also add a lot of character and personality to the design. Try making use of white space and experiment with more dynamic compositions.
Being able to implement animation into projects is a much needed skill for UI designers to have. It can be tricky to master the art of illustrations, but animation can allow you to cut down on words and share information in a way that keeps the users’ attention.
Typography, or the fonts that you choose to use, will play a large role in your overall UI design – your typography can be subtle or it can be something that is attention grabbing and a feature point in the design. Trends are moving towards having very vibrant or unique fonts worked within the designs. The typography is not just the lettering, but also how or where it is placed within the design.
Implementing 3D graphics is a really fun way for designers to create a really engaging layout for users. It is becoming more common and allows designers to add a 360 degree presentation of a product.
The use of motion and videos is a growing trend within the design world, including the UI design world. Try swapping out your static graphics and images with motion design to help capture more attention and make it easier for readers to digest information.
This vintage trend continues to be in style – there is a lot of room to play within this UI design idea. You can use different typography styles and graphics that fit into the vintage realm of 90’s style. It is something that the younger generation appreciates and something that causes feelings of nostalgia within people who grew up in the 90’s.
One of the biggest trends that we had to share was the notion of neomorphism – a combination of neo + skeuomorphism. This type of design creates the illusion that appears tactile by combining a monochromatic color palette with subtle shadows. It is one of the biggest UI design trends coming out of 2023.
The trend of comfort visuals is one where the focus is on giving users an easy to look at layout that is clear and basic. By comfort, we mean choosing pictures and color schemes that are natural hues, serene, and straightforward for people to look at. This is the opposite of bright, bold or intense designs.
Minimalist designs can be very aesthetically pleasing and are definitely on trend right now. These designs will have a lot of unused space and are very simple in design. They force UI designers to say less, but still create an interface that is easy for a user to navigate through. If you aren’t comfortable with minimalist design, take this as your chance to practice.
Using transparent elements within your design is a great way to be able to add to backgrounds, work in buttons, or highlight specifics parts of the design. It’s an interesting element to work into UI designs because it can both act as a way to draw attention to something or do the opposite.
A bright UI design is pretty self explanatory – to do this design well you need to have a solid understanding of color theory. It requires the use of vibrant colors and the careful selection of ones that contrast well. Some of the major benefits of implementing this into your design is that you can really increase brand awareness for the company you are designing for and can capture people’s attention.
Buttons could one day be something of the past – try creating new and engaging UI designs without the use of buttons. At one point, buttons were one of the most common parts of a UI design so re-imagining interfaces without them can be difficult, but leaves lots of room for creativity. This type of UI design also commonly falls under a minimalist design structure.
Responsive layouts are able to change and alter depending on the size of the screen used to view your product. As a UI designer, being able to develop this type of layout is more important than ever, given the number of screens we are using – from desktops to laptops to phones and tablets.
While UX is often thought of in the digital realm, it certainly doesn’t start and end there – it can be used for products to include physical, voice, gesture, light, as well as multimodal-based interfaces and experiences. As we see technology and products continue to advance, we can really think outside of the box in how UX can be implemented into other products. But, to start we have 15 great UX design ideas that can help develop your skills as a UX designer and build a solid online portfolio.
Cursors are an always important tool when it comes to UX design work – it is what enables users to move through the UI design. The functionality of the cursor itself is also how the user is going to be able to navigate through the design. You can try changing the shape and the design of the curser, adding animation to it or getting really crazy and giving cursors the ability to do things they’ve never done before!
Even something as seemingly simple as the way we scroll is evolving – it is no longer just simple scrolling, but UX designs are looking at trends that include zooming gestures, asymmetrical scrolling, abilities to rotate or to move different directions. Sophisticated scrolling is a great addition to your next UX design because it can make your product more entertaining.
Everything is moving towards personalized experiences – the streaming channel you use will curate choices specifically for you, your social media sites will fill your feeds with content specific to your needs. As a UX designer, it is important to think about how your designs can be personalized for each individual user and their needs for you to optimally engage with them.
AI is going to continue to insert itself into all types of technology and play a larger and larger role, including within UX designs. AI tools are going to allow users to completely customize their experience, their needs, and the preferences of each user. It’s a really important skill for UX designers to be able to add AI tools within their designs.
AI generated chat boxes are another AI feature that are becoming very common within websites and as they become more mainstream, the user’s expectations on what they can do also continue to grow. Whether you are a UX designer working on apps or website designs, you should focus on ways to enhance AI generated chat boxes in their vocabulary, the information they are able to provide, the language they can use, etc.
Using voice to speech to search is another type of AI design work that is in greater demand. This UX trend is also great for improving the accessibility of the product. There is also an increased emphasis on making this technology more inclusive and able to understand different languages and accents.
A product reveal hover effect is a new trend that is used as a way to add in new animation into your designs. With these effects, you can use it to give more information or reveal new information about the product. This is great when you are working with apparel, showrooms, or teasing upcoming products.
From minimalist to maximalism, another Gen Z trend is about being highly stimulated and using UX designs that are full of color and very bright. It can be a good way for designers to reach a younger audience and draw them in. These types of designs can be jaw-dropping and hard to look away from. As a UX designer, it is good to be able to work with both maximalist and minimalist designs.
Multi-dimensional and 3D designs for UX designers are not a new concept or idea to add into your interfaces, but they are one that continue to be relevant and important to utilize. Work on making 3D look more real or use it to showcase the functionality of the product.
Much of UX and UI is the ability to storytell in a way that is engaging and captivating. When thinking about ways to implement data visualization into designs, think about how it can be contextualized and easily digested by the users. You want the data to improve the lives of the user and the way they interact with it, and you want to do this all in a way that is interactive or engaging.
As a UX designer, it is important to have the brand of the product you are working with be foundational in your design work. This will help create the unique and intimate experience necessary for the brand to be memorable to the users on the site. You also want your design to be able to hold the user on the page for the longest amount of time.
As the tech world continues to pump out new devices that change in size and scope, creating UX designs that are responsive and can fit to anything is integral, just as important as it is to do so under UI. You need to make sure that your designs can adapt and work well on different screens, and that they remain consistent across each of them.
More and more, UX designers are creating interfaces that are very interactive for the user. This can be done using different types of menus, fun animations, and different hover effects. You can also play with different unconventional layouts or ways to convey information.
When working with information that can be hard to digest, UX designers need to find ways to streamline the information. Try offering visually simplistic designs, break up information in intuitive chunks, as well as use clear language to explain it.
One of the trends that doesn’t go away and is a basis of UX design, is using clear interfaces. The Gen Z crowd also enjoys designs that pop, so try adding slight twists on a clean user interface. This idea can be used in conjunction with the overstimulating idea above.
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