Expected Design Trends for 2021

February 26, 2021

As we move into 2021, it’d be remiss to discount the ways the pandemic contributed to some of the design trends on this list. From working remote to online school lessons, and virtual doctor appointments — we’ve spent the last year adapting to new technology, apps, and tools that support our new lifestyles. The prevailing common denominator: immersive experiences.

What We Can Expect

  • Increased personalization
  • Simplified registration/login flows
  • Advanced onboarding
  • Glassmorphism
  • Behavioral research & design
  • Voice UI
Increased Personalization

Studies show that user experience personalization increases retention, engagement, and conversion. With dynamic personalization, algorithms create personas that predict user needs based on location, interest, device, and past interactions. For example, Spotify tracks music users listen to and creates playlists based on their preferences. The “Discovery Weekly” playlist reached 40 million people in the first year it was introduced, and has become one of Spotify’s crown jewel features.

Expect: Continued increase in backend efficiencies regarding big data, Machine Learning models, and AI to provide real-time, personalized user experiences. 

Simplified Registration and Login Flows

Gone are the days of time-consuming username creation, password confirmations, and messy resets. Simply put: the easier any process is, the more likely users will do it. Guiding users with real-time feedback prevents error and streamlines a once cumbersome process.

Expect: An increase of Single Sign-On functionality, usernames will be replaced with email addresses or phone numbers, and real-time feedback (password strength meter, for example).

Advanced Onboarding

As we’ve become more reliant on technology in the last year, we’ll continue to see an increase in product onboarding tours that guide users through all the beneficial capabilities an app/website is comprised of. 

Expect: This type of onboarding assistance to become more engaging, including interactive illustrations/animation, gamification, and personalization.


3D is still holding it down in 2021, but a new UI trend we will start seeing more of is glassmorphism. A frosted-glass effect is created with a soft, colorful background blur, with “floating” multi-layers on top. These layers have a 1pt, white outline to simulate a glass edge.

Expect: Lots of bright color palettes, 3D graphics, glassmorphism, and soft, rounded corners.


Design by Ibrahim Emran

Behavioral Research & Design

Understanding what user goals are, what their decision-making process is, and what heuristics might influence their decision-making process allows our UX/UI designers to make more effective decisions for the end-user. At the beginning of a project, our UX/UI designers determine which types of research methods are the most valuable before beginning design.

Expect: Companies to continue investing in this project phase, with more user research tools and analytics coming to the market. 

Voice User Interfaces 

We’ve experienced a steady rise of Voice UI since Google patent in 2008, NPR and the Edison Group estimate that one in six American adults has a smart speaker. Voice UI will become integrated into more technology (mobile devices, TVs, smart home devices), most prevalently with voice search.

Expect: Increased sophistication with voice search queries and error prevention. Designers will have another user to solve for: the system persona.


If you are interested in learning more about upcoming design trends or want to talk to us about an upcoming project, feel free to reach out to our design team!

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