The future of design: Top product design trends you should know in 2024
New year, new U(ser experience), right? Well, not quite…
We know that 2024 is all set to be an exciting year for the product design and development industry, but in a number of different ways. As 2023 winds down, it’s a better time than ever for us to look ahead and consider new potential developments in the year still to come.
So, to get to grips with what to expect in the next 12 months, we’ve collated some top picks on what we think the future of design will look like in 2024 in this article. Complete with input from Future Platform’s own MD, Greet Jans, you’ll learn what to focus on to ensure your digital touchpoints stand out in a crowded world. Read on to learn more.
What does the future of design look like in 2024?
Software design and development in 2024 inherits some of the baggage, bloat and barriers of 2023 along with its own set of unique opportunities. Many designers in the industry previously thought we were lined up for another iteration of the ‘roaring twenties,’ with all the associated extravagance of the previous decade. That would mean loads of features and services, and bold design choices across digital touchpoints.
However, it seems to be far more likely the coming years will likely see app designers and developers focus on delivering intentional, cohesive design practices above all else, instead. With new frontiers in sonic design and kinetic typography, there are now a number of new possibilities for brands to convey themselves to users. Equally, with many mobile apps having become bloated in recent years, there seems to be a growing sense that digital touchpoints should simplify and focus on core competencies to maximise their effectiveness.
With all that in mind, we’ve here compiled three of our top product design trends that we see gaining even more prominence next year.
Some app design trends we love and why
1. Simplicity (but not minimalism!)
In the race to publish new features and acquire users, many apps have become bloated. The ever-increasing complexity of a lot of this software has led to many of these apps now performing extremely inefficiently. Going forward, there are now gains up for grabs that involve designers combatting this software bloat by simplifying and streamlining user experiences. For example, minimalism elements and more sustainable design choices can improve loading times, energy efficiency and accessibility all in one.
On the other hand, although designers will soon be picking and choosing some design principles from the minimalism movement, that doesn’t mean they will adopt minimalism wholesale. Commenting on this potential trend towards simpler Greet says, “Right now, we’re in the period of gradients, of flat design. However, that’s slowly changing. Minimalism doesn’t have to equal boring and there’s lessons we can learn from previous iterations of this design trend.”
Greet added: “Going forward, I think we’re gonna see a key difference between ‘good’ and ‘great;’ I think we have a lot of good products right now but ‘good’ simply isn’t enough anymore.”
2. Branded moments
Meanwhile, so-called “branded moments” are something designers have been talking about for a while. But now it seems as though the time is finally right for them to arrive.
As Greet says: “In the last few years, there’s been a huge focus on building out new functionalities so I think we’re heading towards refinement. It’s not that difficult anymore to get new features out, since everyone has access to some form of in-house capabilities or agency support.”
So, what does that mean for designers? Well, according to Greet, it means a shift in focus to those little moments of charm that can really engage users on a minute level. “Instead, we’re now seeing conversations centring on, ‘What is the role of branded engagements?’ I feel that people – from app designers to developers and users – finally understand that there is something about those little moments of delight that great design can bring.”
3. Full AI-enabled personalisation
No list of product design trends for 2024 would be complete without some mention of Generative AI. 2024 could be a year where we finally see GenAI transition from a nice-to-have gimmick to a foundational part of design workflows.
Commenting on this ascendant new tech, Greet noted: “I’m happy AI is coming – I’m not one of those people who thinks ‘They’re gonna take over our jobs…!’ but we are gonna start using these tools regardless. So start by playing with the different tools; find their limits and explore how they introduce new efficiencies or ethical questions to do with bias or data privacy, so you’re ready for more mature solutions in the coming years.”
Greet added: “As it happens, we here at Future Platforms are already building ourselves a commercial AI application, so watch the space!”
Brands that embody these product design trends
We can see that some brands, and some industries, are embodying these emerging design trends better than others. For example, FinTech apps, which tend towards overcomplexity and bloatedness, have a lot to learn from FemTech apps, which tend to be more streamlined and direct for users.
Meanwhile, apps like Headspace and Spotify have both dealt with software bloat in the past, but have approached the issue in different ways. For example, per Greet, Headspace has since managed to revert back to a prior, less-bloated iteration of its UX. Contrariwise, Spotify is still in this bloat period; delivering increasingly visual features despite being a primarily audio-focused platform.
Stay up to date on the future of design with Future Platforms
Future Platforms is an award-winning digital product design agency. Staying at the forefront of the future of design and building innovative digital touchpoints is what we do – it’s in our name, after all!
We can support your entire product strategy framework, whether you need to unify your vision, identify strategic opportunities or outsource development talent to achieve your goals.
To learn more about our services and solutions, get in touch today.