How Following UX Design Trends Can Feel Like Surfing

Vaibhav Vohra

Following the latest design trends can often feel like surfing – a fleeting sensation of a sharp crescendo before waiting for the next oscillation. Enterprises often wonder if they are mimicking fads or transcending them.

In 2017, there have been several user experiences that have caught fire—namely, material design, return of gradients, and cinemagraphs. While certainly these are fine concepts in their own right, the question remains whether capitalizing on these concepts is a prudent long-term decision. Should you follow the latest trends and descend onto choppy whitewater, or roll into classic human experiences that are repeatable and enjoyable?

Here are some simple ideas that could be helpful for your next product or commercial design:

  1. Think of simple shapes and layouts. Minimalism never goes out of style. Simple polygons and representation are always well-appreciated. Remember the golden rectangle – a study that is 50 (!) years old showed that 97% of people aesthetically prefer an orientation of a rectangle.
  1. Build to a single user, for a single problem, at a single time. There is always pressure to be as inclusive in the design process as possible. However, trying to offer something for everyone can lead to a scattered experience that serves nobody well.
  1. Personalization is always useful, but don’t overdo it. With one our solutions, People Connect 365, we wanted each consumer to be engaged with keywords based on their profile. This led user satisfaction to receive a 1:1 engagement experience. However, some take this idea too far. Studies on social media find that when news or updates are too personalized, you miss dissenting viewpoints and insulate the user from a holistic view. Balance is important here.
  1. Enterprise design requires a strong layout, but don’t forget the problem you are trying to solve. If people are left with a strong impression of the design, that’s great. If that’s all they can remember, that’s a problem. As the world moves to technologies like blockchain, design must be relevant to those practitioners and the what-if scenarios that they derive. Design should be the vehicle – but without a strong grasp of the machinery and future of the use cases, the product could be doomed.

Picking among design fads can be a tough task. Critics abound if you choose against them. As professional surfer Rob Machado said, “Foam is your friend. Don’t be scared of it. A little bit of extra foam here and there is good for the soul, and your surfing.” I find that the risk could be worth the reward if you take the latest trends with a grain of salt, but always keep the heart of the product at the forefront.

For more insight on optimizing the user experience, see Making Business With A Chatbot.


Vaibhav Vohra

About Vaibhav Vohra

Vaibhav Vohra is Vice President and Head of Product Management for SAP Digital Interconnect at SAP. Leading an organization within SAP that intelligently connects everyone, everything, and everywhere, he has launched award-winning cloud solutions in the fields of marketing, business continuity, and developer ecosystems. Most recently, the team launched SAP People Connect 365, which enables organizations to manage intelligent communications during times of planned and unplanned business disruption.