2020 Trends in UX, PX and IX

Curated trend posters, each based on the research and selection of one person

2020 Trends in UX, PX and IX

This Story is part of a series.

  • Jens Mühlstedt
    Dr. Jens Mühlstedt Associate Director UX Innovation, designaffairs

Trends are an immanent part of the design world. As these are one of the main inspiration sources for design projects, an understanding of the underlying mechanisms is essential. In one of the first phases of almost any project, designers, developers and engineers perform a desk research and investigate current trends of the project domain. In addition, examples at the forefront of contemporary innovation, design and engineering reach each person working in product development regularly – via newsletters, magazines, online sources or similar.

Trendspotting, Trend Research and Sources

The most common sources for trends are well-known websites with collected images, articles or other data about designs, such as – Pinterest, dribble, Behance, Dexigner, Dezeen, designboom and many others up to a basic image search engine. Aside, there are other typical source types used in design projects:

All the listed sites are good for ad-hoc searches and browsing (information pull). Other trend resources – more on a recurring base – can be magazines, books, museum visits, talks, conferences, meetings or conversations (information push). For instance, for one project the design team visited the “Pinakothek der Moderne” (a museum for design) and talked to one of the curators. For another project the team talked to experts of different design fields (interior, textile, material etc.) – a cross-discipline approach and very inspiring as well.

Conferences are always a good source for inspiring thoughts, just as meetups of smaller or local communities.

Curation of Trends

After analyzing numerous micro trend articles, posts, collections and imagery, one underlying effect became visible: the more people involved in such a task, the more generic and uninteresting the outcome seems to be. Hence, if one person creates a nice post about visual trends, if one expert curates an article about logo or typo trends, often it results in inspiring and catchy topics or examples. Of course, they are of different quality as each author’s style, talent and effort differ.

Overall, a group’s or company’s voice towards micro trends should be formed out of individual positions.

As designaffairs is focused on industrial design (PX – product experience), visual (user interface) design (IX – interface experience) and user experience (UX), it became clear that for each topic one person had to be selected to curate a trend overview. As this activity is an annual one, it seemed the best plan to have new persons each year to also show a variety of mindsets. Also in 2020, three experts of each field curated their current view on actual trends in and created a collage on a poster to show the outcome. As this internally used material was well received, led to nice internal discussions and knowledge transfer, could support some sales meetings and was used in several client workshops, in the current year this task was repeated.

Curated trend posters, each based on the research and selection of one person

Separate articles can be found to each of these three topics. 

Summary and Outlook

Design trends are a good tool to show thoughts of a group, to give insights to a company’s mindset and simply to inspire other people.

One critical factor for success seems to be the number of people involved in creating and defining a trend shortlist. It indicates that trends need singular opinions, that a consensus of several persons smoothens the peaks and the excitement with them. Hence, several curated collections are a proven way of how trends can be presented. With every future year the topics can be iterated further.

Continue reading Trending UX of our “Trends 2020” series.

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