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While it was once the reserve of big business, creating a high-end user experience (UX) is now a critical consideration for all website owners. 

A small operation can no longer afford to simply have a website that works. Attention spans are getting shorter, so if a website doesn’t work well, users will up and leave. 

If you’re looking to grant yourself a genuine chance of online success, you need to stay at the leading edge of UX innovation.

Fortunately, levelling up your website’s UX may not be as complicated as you imagine. 

Here are six top UX trends for 2022, all of which can be integrated into a standard website in a surprisingly simple and affordable way.

1. Make numbers number one

Data is the oil of the 21st century – the most important asset for any business that’s trying to get ahead. Customers know the importance of information too, and are increasingly attracted to the quantifiable, especially if it’s presented in a visually pleasing way.

Instead of announcing ‘we’re a recognised leader in our field, and growing every year’, or some other generic (and largely meaningless) statement, use data to tell your story. Use data visualisations to tell the story of your growth. 

Use infographics to share your most impressive and interesting numbers. Use graphics and animations to bring those statistics to life, serving them up on your homepage.

Provide a voice-enabled experience

In 2021, almost two-thirds of people aged 25-49 spoke to voice-enabled devices every day – a number that is set to increase across all demographics through 2022 and beyond. Why? Because it’s a more organic, more human way of interacting with technology – instead of manually typing a stunted query into Google, you can put a question to your phone in the same way that you would ask a colleague, partner or friend.

But Google searches are just the tip of the voice-enabled iceberg. Many organisations are now adding voice technology to the user interfaces of their websites and proprietary apps. By letting a customer talk their way through their buying journey, you make it that much smoother.

2. Scrolling storytelling (scrollytelling)

There was a time when website designers felt the need to compress everything onto a single page the size of the user’s screen. Then they realised that people didn’t mind scrolling at all, so lengthened their user interfaces in the age of social media. But they haven’t stopped there.

You’ve probably seen scrollytelling already. First used by news sites on their most high-budget feature articles (such as this New York Times piece way back in 2012), it ties graphics and storytelling to the user’s scrolling, making the webpage come to life. These days many brands are using scrollytelling on their homepages to great effect. A more immersive experience, scrollytelling draws the audience in and keeps them around for longer, ultimately making them more likely to buy.

3. Dark mode

The rise of dark mode shows that sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. These days many of us find ourselves spending all day working at a medium-sized screen, before spending the night relaxing in front of the big screen while scrolling our small screen. While modern screens are wonderfully sharp and bright, they can perhaps get a little much for those who spend 15 hours a day in front of them.

The premise of dark mode is simple: offer a simple button that replaces the white and bright elements of your user interface with darker, gentler tones. This can make the viewing experience far easier, particularly for those scrolling at night.

4. Micro-interactions

There’s something enduring about digital easter eggs – the small and seemingly meaningless additions to the user interface that nonetheless add real interest and fun to the experience. Micro-interactions are an increasingly popular form of this phenomenon.

Micro-interactions are small changes that happen to the user interface in response to an action taken by the user. When a user hovers over a button on your website, you could make it wiggle, change colour, follow the cursor, or any number of other small animations. When used on the most important button on a page – the ‘Buy Now’ button, for instance – micro-interactions help you lead your audience where you want them to go.

5. Animated logos

Another simple yet highly impactful addition to a website, animating your logo is more than just a fun and artsy project. An animated logo offers the following perks for a surprisingly small investment:

  • It’s eye-catching: By drawing the eye of the audience to your logo, you’ll achieve far better brand awareness. Animated logos tend to stick in the memory longer and more clearly than static ones.
  • Google likes it: Google and other search engines give preferential treatment to dynamic content, as they know users like it. Adding animated elements, logo or otherwise, can push you up the search engine results page (SERP).
  • It’s a chance to tell your story: If you’re clever with your animation, you can use it to tell the audience more about your brand, your goals and your values.

What sort of experience will you offer your users in 2022? By taking inspiration from these six trends, you can begin to develop something that isn’t just on the leading edge of UX trends, but that offers your audience a simpler, clearer, deeper and more interesting experience – one that they’ll want to enjoy over and over again.

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