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However you slice it, 2020 was a year for the books. As a result, we are spending even more of our time online— for work, shopping and entertainment. For business owners, it is crucial that your website is functional, unanimously user friendly, responsive on all devices, and impeccably designed. Adam Kozłowski, who is the head of design at Idea motive (2021), argues that design is the top driver of web and mobile users’ positive first impressions. Visual appeal and ease of use have the most significant bearing on visitor engagement with digital products. (pp.1).

When it comes to designing a website or an app, User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) is important in fulfilling the user’s needs. The UX and UI design helps to gain a user’s confidence. This, in turn, will make them more likely to use your app or website as it is providing them with exactly what they are looking for in a thoughtfully controlled experience. Below is a graphic that outlines the difference between UX and UI.

muse blog, uxui graphicTrends in UX/UI design are constantly changing. This is because trends eventually become mainstream making them boring, repetitive and ineffective. While there are lots of trends out there we have curated our top five UX/UI trends to look out for in 2021.

1.Custom 3D realistic Graphics and Animations

There has been an increase in 3D graphics and animations because it brings life to central objects on your site, thus making it possible for users to understand the core concepts quickly (Kozłowski, 2021). 3D animations and graphics give context to your ideas and can visually represent abstract concepts. It promotes interactivity, engages the user, and increases online traffic. Keep in mind that using this type of animation can slow the page load speed of your site. Here are some examples of how designers have integrated 3D animation into their websites.

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2.Cartoon Illustrations

Cartoon illustrations for the web are popular when it comes to design. This trend has been evolving and it seems to be here to stay. The great thing about illustrations is that it gives designers the freedom to let their imagination run wild. Cartoon illustrations are incredibly flexible; they can enhance the design, show unique features, as well as improve conversion and engagement. These illustrations can be used as a main focus on the site or as decoration and form a natural bond with the viewer. (Enchev, 2020). However, be careful not to overuse illustrations as they can distract the user and slow the speed of the site. Here are some creative examples of how cartoon illustrations can be used on websites.

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3.Glitch, Distortion, and Noise

This trend is quite surprising as one would think that any sort of glitch, distortion, or noise goes against any instinctual design principles but, it has become a trend in web design. Brands are using these erratic features to stand out. This unpredictability can provide a very human feeling, not unlike the arbitrariness of life. This type of design gives the user the ability to make sense of what they are seeing rather than being told. Some elements that fall under this trend include mismatching, randomness, flaws, and malfunctions, as well as blurred and out of focus objects. (Enchev, 2020). Here are some examples of glitches, noise, and the chaos of this type of design. 

4.90’s Retro/Nostalgia 

Nostalgia has always been trendy; currently, people are obsessed with the good old 90s. This was a time of punk rock, grunge, and beginnings of the internet. The yen for the past allows us to reminisce about a time when things were simpler.  

Integrating 90s style into branding is a real contender for the most creative use of retro design around today. There is something inherently cool about it, bizarrely alien to the younger generation. (Enchev, 2020). The blend of 90’s retro style and structure with the modern technology can create something innovative, yet familiar. 90’s retro includes visuals such as VHS pixelated typography, screen tearing, glitches, distortions, and early 3D animations. The effect is a UI that feels both avant-garde and familiar at the same time, reminding us all of an era when digital design was in its infancy and the possibilities were endless. (Johnson, 2020).  Below, are some inspiring examples of using 90’s retro in web design.

muse blog, top ux/ui trends of 20215.Micro Animations & Interactions 

Micro animations and interactions are also entering the world of mainstream website design. Similar to cartoon illustrations and animation, micro-interactions are a subtle way to elevate the design. It can trigger a faster user response, upping user engagement and interaction with your site. Motion can be added to things like buttons, icons, tabs, menus, and other UI elements. It can be added to call-to-actions, instructions, cursors, products and photos. Microinteractions give an immense boost to user experience, as they enhance interactions, keep users engaged, and provide feedback and prompts. (Kozłowski, 2021). It makes the user feel satisfied over the simplest interaction which maximizes the user’s connection to the site. Below, are some impressive examples of micro animations and interactions. 

Poplar modern web design trends are creative and unique ways to elevate user experience and interaction. It gives the users the sense that designers are being meticulous about what they are including in their design. Next time you are stuck on what to include into your website, try one of these trends out— it may just be the answer you are looking for!

muse blog, top ux/ui trends of 2021


Enchev, L. (2020, September). Web Design Trends in 2021 That Blow the Cobs From the WebRetrieved

Ishchenko, I., Dupliakin, M., & Nechvolod, A. (2021, February 4). 12 Latest UX/UI Design Trends That You Should Know in 2021. Retrieved from:

Johnson, J. (2020). 8 top UX design trends for 2021. Retrieved from:

Kozłowski, A. (2021, January 27). UX/UI Design Trends That Will Dominate 2021. Retrieved from: