7 Product Design Tendencies to Watch For in 2021
2020 brought a multitude of changes in consumer behavior. Many of these changes will serve as inspiration for new product ideas and features that companies can use to better serve their customers in the year ahead.
In many cases, better customer care starts with a great design. This applies not only to the design of physical products, but also to the user experience and the interface of digital products. To get their own inside look at the experts, a group of entrepreneurs shared some design trends they expect to see in 2021 and why those trends will be so impactful.
1. Designs with a human touch
With 2020 holding people apart, the 2021 designs will try to bring them back together. Matthew Podolsky, executive attorney at Florida Law Advisers, PA, predicts we’ll see products designed for personal connection.
“Hand-drawn elements on websites, brand logos, or products add a human touch to the consumer that creates a stronger connection with the consumer,” explains Podolsky. “Given the difficulty of 2020, many people are looking for more warmth, affection and connectedness through the design elements of a product or a product component.”
2. Increased personalization
Personalized experiences have been a top priority for many companies in recent years, and some predict that this trend will continue to grow as data-driven tools become more accessible and sophisticated.
“AI and personalization tools are becoming more democratic and cheaper so that companies can leverage their digital experiences,” said Rishi Sharma, founder and CEO of Mallama. “In this way we can provide apps and workflows that are tailored to your habits. This eliminates friction losses and makes digital products more appealing and more productive.”
3. Multi-directional layouts for better UX / UI design
According to Stephanie Wells, Co-Founder and CTO of Formidable Forms, 2021 will bring more multidirectional layouts to ecommerce websites and thus a stronger focus on UX / UI design.
“With this intuitive navigation, users can view content in a variety of ways, such as back and forth, diagonally, left and right, and more,” says Wells. “This gives users more freedom in the way they want to browse content and use the navigation.”
4. Emphasized security and transparency
One of the biggest hurdles in 2020 was the increased need for cleanliness and hygiene. According to Josh Kohlbach, founder and CEO of the Wholesale Suite, new product designs in 2021 will be a direct answer to this need.
“The 2020 pandemic shook the world and buyers have not yet recovered from the shock,” explains Kohlbach. “In 2021, they will be more aware of their health than ever before, so marketers will try to keep things transparent and highlight how safe and hygienic their products are. Food will be packed in transparent packaging, clothing will come with free masks and soon.”
5. Speed and functionality for smart home devices
Many private customers have recently invested in networked smart home devices that can be operated using their smartphones or voice activation. This demand is likely to influence product design and ideas in 2021.
“People are spending more time at home looking for convenient and efficient ways to run everything from entertainment to temperature control to home security systems,” said Kalin Kassabov, Founder and CEO of ProTexting. “Speed and functionality will be key in the years to come.”
6. Safe and sustainable packaging and ingredients
The environmentally friendly and health-conscious movements have grown in parallel in recent years. Today’s consumers value sustainable products and packaging that contain safe and healthy ingredients.
“They’re more reusable now, so containers and packaging will be a priority,” notes Daisy Jing, founder of Banish. “In addition, the ingredients are being increased and thoroughly checked to reduce health concerns.”
7. Optimized design for greater affordability
Pandemic restrictions and social distancing have severely constrained businesses and negatively impacted household budgets, says Blair Thomas, co-founder of eMerchantBroker. For 2021, Thomas predicts a major focus on functionality and affordability in product design.
“The products that consumers are turning to need to streamline tasks and make life easier, all at good value for money,” concludes Thomas.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.