Design Wish List for 2021 from a User Perspective

What many users want to see in 2021

At this time of year, you can see a lot of articles on “design trends” for 20XX. While these articles are fun to scroll through, they serve as inspiration (like Dribbble) rather than a checklist or guide.

I would like to try a different approach. I came up with 4 design “improvements” that (as a user) I would like to see in 2021 (I use the word “improvement” because I can only hope these are not temporary whims).

Proposed improvement # 1: more cursor types

There are so many types of cursors, and it s a shame that we are using so few of them. Yes, they are not always visually appealing, but sometimes they are the only visual cue the user gets, especially when color is taken out of the equation.

Medium has a great example of using a forbidden cursor (along with a tooltip) to show that I can t “like” my own article. The “like” icon is slightly shaded, but as a user I can t be 100% sure that it is disabled until I see the cursor change.

Nice and affordable Medium design

In addition, the WCAG guidelines state that color alone should not determine which elements are clickable and which are not. Therefore, as accessibility becomes more important, designers will be forced to use more visual cues, including cursors.

Below is my idea for a cursor that would tell users when to left-click.

Design Wish List for 2021 from a User Perspective
I know that Chrome uses cursor: default for bookmarks, but I think pointer will look better

Suggested improvement # 2: fewer mouse or finger movements

There is nothing more annoying to the user than extra clicks / presses or extra mouse / finger movement. Let me explain with a few examples:

Autofocus on page load

Isn t it great when you open a page and can immediately start typing in the first field? Setting the autofocus attribute in HTML5 is not always the most trivial task, but users expect this approach. At the very least, autofocus should be set for pages or dialog boxes that are part of the main user flow.

Design Wish List for 2021 from a User Perspective
Open a dialog box and start typing immediately

On-site alerts

Placing confirmation alerts right in the middle of the page means that the user will likely need to move the mouse cursor a significant distance to confirm an action. This might be a deliberate solution for destructive actions, but for normal actions it would be better if the alert was as close as possible to the element that caused it. More and more I have come across examples like the one below, but I would have liked to see even more of them.

Design Wish List for 2021 from a User Perspective

Interactive call to action buttons

I have been ordering a lot of food online lately and as such, I am increasingly annoyed by the mobile experience in the browser. Buttons “Order now” you usually have to tap twice, and some of them aren t even located at the bottom of the screen. Again, this can be technically challenging, but companies need to know how important this is now.

Design Wish List for 2021 from a User Perspective
When shopping in Toast, users have to double-click the Add to Cart button as the first click opens the bottom browser bar

Another example is a keyboard that hides the “Log in“. Slack demonstrates the right approach by ensuring that the “Continue“Will always be clickable.

Design Wish List for 2021 from a User Perspective
It would be even better if the text “Sign in to your workspace” was not cut off

Some designers or developers might argue, “But there is a button goand that s enough, ”but I think that s a pretty lazy excuse. In addition, the text on the blue button may not always make sense, as in this situation.

Proposed improvement # 3: consistency in terminology and wording

I am annoyed by inconsistent wording, as I wrote earlier in last year s article about “Remove” and “Delete”. Here s a short list of examples that will catch the eye of regular users:

  • Button “Add folder” folder)and then the title of the dialog Create folder folder)
  • Button “Replace item”followed by the phrase “Are you sure you want to override item …”
  • Mentioning one area of ​​the tool first as “Section” (Section)and then like Category

Standardizing an out-of-the-box interface is definitely a big task if you do it all at once, but if you apply it initially to future projects, it actually saves you time – since you don t have to come up with words and terms along the way. Of course, this will temporarily make some parts of your application inconsistent, but it s better than not fixing them at all.

Proposed improvement # 4: Appropriate keyboard for input fields (on mobile devices)

Forms are annoying on their own, so displaying all letters in the zip code field might be the last straw for some users. These articles provide good tips for optimizing forms in web applications, but they can be applied to native mobile applications as well – just make sure the optimal keyboard attribute is bound to each field.

Design Wish List for 2021 from a User Perspective
Text and numeric keyboards

Final note

I have made it a rule not to take ideas from the interface design process. These wishes came from my daily use of apps and websites, or were suggested to me by my non-designer friends. Hopefully this list will help make your users happier in 2021.

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