When a new design trend comes out, many designers ask us if it’s worth following. So today I want to give you three tips on when it is appropriate to follow a design trend. Let’s call these the three B’s. So our first B is budget. If your team realistically doesn’t have the resources, the budget to keep up with design trends, maybe your team only can do a redesign every few years, maybe every six or eight years. It might not be the best investment to incorporate these new trends because trends go out of style.
So what looks good right now in eight years might not look so good. So keep that in mind, because if you have the budget to keep up with trends, then go for it. You can afford to take that risk, but otherwise maybe exercise some caution. The second B is for brand. Some brands can actually benefit by showing the world that they are, in fact, cutting edge, that they are aware of all the new trends and what’s out there. But for other brands, that type of approach could actually do a disservice. I’m thinking of, for example, securities or banking or investment. People really expect reliability and stability from those brands and in that case, people want something that’s expected.
So if you are the latter case, if you are those industries that maybe your brand doesn’t benefit from these new novel Cutting Edge approaches, then it’s probably best to avoid it. But if your brand is going to benefit and if people expect your brand to be novel and cutting edge and interesting, then yes, go ahead and try that new trend. The third B is behavior. Adopt a trend if it actually supports human behavior. So if you’re considering something like larger targets, bigger buttons, those design trends actually support users because they make it easier for people to tap a button to type A form field or to click on a menu. That’s something that really does benefit users and it’s a safe trend to adopt. So use caution if it’s a trend that actually works against user behavior, something like the trend of low contrast text that makes it harder for users to read what’s on the screen.
When you do something like incorporate a trend that works against users, you’re making it more difficult for users and eventually you’re going to see that users don’t like that. You’ll see that later on in your results and your conversions are in user satisfaction. Use caution when you decide to apply a trend, especially if you don’t know yet how it’s going to impact behavior. If you know that it supports user behavior, excellent. It’s most likely to be a trend that’s going to last for a long time and it’ll be safe to use.
So when you’re thinking about adopting a new design trend, just remember our three BS budget brand and behavior.