With the year now well and truly underway, let’s unpack some of our favourite digital trends for 2022. Some of these trends started gaining popularity last year already but are yet to reach their peak.
Trends serve as a great indicator of the state of the world we live in. They are born out of necessity in response to life and how we choose to live it. Now, with things returning to a more recognisable normal, we might see these trends make a noticeable long-term impact on the digital landscape.
Our 7 Favourite Digital Trends for 2022
1. Behavioural Design and the CAR model (Cue, Action, Reward)
Behavioural design utilises the science of influence, combined with design thinking to guide a consumer’s decision-making process. This can be done by cueing an action by the consumer and then presenting them with a reward of sorts, similar to what Google does with its Local Guide levels on their reviews system. The Cue, Action, Reward or C.A.R method is based on the same three components of a habit loop and simply takes advantage of behavioural science to assist designers in solving design problems in a way that will influence or guide a consumer’s behaviour. Not only would this result in a more engaging and memorable experience, but it also improves conversion rates as the behaviour becomes more predictable the better we understand it.
2. Our Extended Reality (AR|VR|MR) | The Rise of the metaverse
As our digital world continues to exceed the limitations of our computers and smartphone screens, we keep finding better ways to interact with it.
Extended Reality or XR refers to the different technologies we use to extend our physical reality with virtual worlds. We can expect a strong focus on VR (Virtual Reality), AR (Augmented Reality) and MR (Mixed Reality) this year with the rise of multiple metaverses on the horizon.
The term “metaverse” first appeared in Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi novel Snow Crash and was used to describe a virtual reality-based type of internet. With Facebook and Microsoft are already investing a lot in their respective metaverses, it’s only a matter of time before this concept is as commonplace as social media and e-commerce.
3. The use of colour: Monochromatic Design, Muted Tones, Gradients
For the last couple of years, it’s been the bold, bright and contrasting colours setting the trends. But for this year, it seemed to have calmed down quite a bit.
We can expect to see a lot more muted colour pallets, soft cloud-like gradients and monochromatic designs. It almost feels like a direct response to the global pandemic that designers now opt for more calming colours and soft gradients as opposed to the vibrant in-your-face neon from the ‘20/‘21 cyberpunk trends.
4. Type: Big type | Serif and Display | Kinetic Typography
In terms of typography, size still matters. Big type will continue to dominate the digital space for 2022, but with some additional attributes. Hero sections and landing pages will lean more towards single colour backgrounds with large titles instead of text on photography. Font choices will see an increased use of Serif and Display font types to add a sense of familiarity and nostalgia (also a trend this year) to design projects. Kinetic typography will also enjoy a rise in popularity as the process of creating and viewing animated typography continues to improve.
5. Accessibility and Performance
Although accessibility is not a ranking factor, it’s becoming increasingly more important. Inclusivity in itself is trending in 2022, and platforms are being accessed on a plethora of devices, each of which will access platforms in a different way. This makes it essential to make your digital projects as accessible to as many people and devices as possible. Page speed and performance, on the other hand, is a ranking factor. So, the better the platform performs, the better search engines will rank it. And with the speed at which the world moves today, it’s no surprise that we expect the same from our digital platforms and campaigns. Adding accessibility and focusing on performance is not only beneficial for search rankings, it also improves the user experience, increases traffic and assists in reaching a broader audience.
6. Nostalgia: Minimalist Retro, Grunge, Vintage Apothecary
Nostalgia is a great coping mechanism when the present proves too difficult, and you’re seeking comfort in the past. Brands that know their audience well enough could use revised design styles from yesteryear to bring them some familiarity with the things they used to love. This technique brought about a resurgence in era-specific design styles and pop-culture references in marketing campaigns. The styles on the rise include minimalist retro, edgy late 80’s grunge and the hipster-esque vintage apothecary from the steampunk genre, breathing new life into old familiar favourites.
7. Micro animation: Locomotive scroll, interaction based parallax, animated SVG’s
The subtle attention to detail in adding micro-interactions and animations to your digital projects is what separates the exceptional from the ordinary. Consumers might not always notice these little additions, but they will most definitely feel it in how they experience a platform. Having a page ease to a halt while scrolling feels a lot more natural then what it would if it stopped immediately. Locomotive scroll simulates this physical momentum as a page scrolls to make the platform feel more natural. With interaction-based parallax, the consumer gets real-time feedback on their actions. We, humans, discover cause-and-effect thinking as early as eight months old and the fascination with it never goes away. Having a digital platform directly react to a user’s interactions adds to the enjoyment of the experience, even when it’s barely noticeable. Subtlety is the key to realistic depictions of the natural world. Another trend rising in popularity is the use of SVG images and, in particular, animating them at runtime. These Scalable Vector Graphics are small in size and susceptible to DOM manipulation. All the while adding valuable micro animations to bring your digital platforms to life.
There’s a lot to look forward to this year. What’s your favourite digital trend for this year? Let us know in the comments below.