7 Ideas UX Designers Can Steal From Summer’s Interior Design Trends

Summer is in the air. Days get longer. Fabrics get lighter. Life becomes easier, breezier, and more lighthearted. As interior designers pump out their picks for summer’s hottest interior design trends, we turn to them for a fresh take of inspiration. What can be learned from a fun-in-the-sun approach to design that translates into creating stellar user experiences for users that last from one season to the next?

We round-up seven summer trends that have the power to move from the home to the homepage.

1. Wabi-Sabi

If winter was all about the coziness of Hygge — a Danish word that refers to that “warm, fuzzy feeling” and turned into a big design trend over the past year — then summer is all about Wabi-Sabi.

“Wabi-Sabi finds beauty in imperfection. What’s important when following the ‘Wabi-Sabi way’ is authenticity, staying true to oneself, and celebrating life’s flaws. Beds can [be] messy and crumpled rather than primped, plumped, and tucked. Homes are ‘homely,’” Mike Stephen from Apollo Blinds told Cosmopolitan magazine.

In a perfectionist world, Wabi-Sabi is a breath of fresh air. It’s what happens when designs aren’t quite perfect, but they resonate on a human level. This is a great reminder for those holding out on releasing something because it’s not quite there yet.

What would happen if you gave it a nudge off the diving board?

2. Get tropical

Gatherings won’t be complete this summer without some reference to tropical greenery, foliage, pineapples, pool floaties, and more. The tropics are in, and this gives you permission to stray from convention. Why not introduce some brighter colors to your user interface? Maybe some flamingo pinks and watermelon reds? What else can be done to add a splash of fun into your experience?

The tropics are all about inviting play into an experience. Building on the carefree spirit of Wabi-Sabi, does your experience lend itself to more fun in the sun? Does it feel easy and welcome like a cold drink on a hot day?

If it suits what you’re working on, can you invite a youthful spirit into the experience you’re offering your users? Let the tropics inspire you to make your user experience feel like a vacation.

3. The dark side

When we think of minimalist design, often our minds default to clean, crisp designs with lots of white space. However, this summer, minimalism is moving to the dark side.

Feeling rebellious, Elle Decor is all about the dark shades this season. Dark hues like Caviar Black, Charcoal Brown, and 2018’s Pantone Color of the Year Ultra Violet make a big, bold statement. What’s unique is that black is being perceived by interior designers as a “neutral” color. It’s considered a sleek and sexy way to add drama to a space, so imagine what it could do to an interface or experience as well.

Need some inspiration? Check out Behance. You can filter search results by color, so try seeing what other designers have created with hues as dark as the sky.

4. Pop of color

If dark interfaces aren’t your vibe, maybe you want to introduce colors you wouldn’t normally consider. Colors are communicators and have a dramatic impact at the subconscious level on how we interpret and feel about an experience.

According to HGTV, this summer’s colors truly pop. Some of their favorite colors this summer include:

If you haven’t spent much time on color psychology, consider grabbing a book on the topic for your next beach read.

5. See the stars

One interior design trend you don’t need a telescope to see this summer is celestial stars. According to Trendir, the galaxy is making a comeback. This isn’t about splattering glow-in-the-dark star stickers all over your user interface, but rather evoking a childlike sense of wonder.

It’s about learning and discovering with an appreciation for the unknown. Are you helping your users discover pathways they didn’t know existed before? How clearly are your users able to navigate an experience? Does your experience evoke nostalgia?

When you start thinking outside the sandbox, you can see that something like stars might not appear related to user experience (UX), yet many of these trends encapsulate the same feelings of exploration and discovery that users often crave.

6. Functional obsolescence

A concept recently spotted on Apartment Therapy is functional obsolescence. In reference to real estate, this refers typically to a home that doesn’t fit into a neighborhood, usually because it is much older than the others and its features are outdated — though sometimes it goes the other way, with a house being too new for the neighborhood. Either way, it sticks out like a sore thumb — which might appeal to some, but for most generally lowers the value of the property.

When these homeowners consider selling their functionally obsolescent home, they might ask if it’s “incurable obsolescence” that would cost more to fix the problem, or “curable obsolescence,” in which it’s easy and financially sound to fix.

Do you see how this might relate to a user experience?

Apartment Therapy writes, “Ask yourself: Is it worth the trouble? If it’s the olive green kitchen cabinets that are turning buyers off, a simple can of white paint turns out to be more than worth the cost.”

Are the problems you’re experiencing with your user experience related to functional obsolescence? Do they not fit in with what your users are used to, or with what they want? These might be some deep thoughts for summer, but as people start renovating their homes and decks, it’s worth it to consider if your UX needs a fresh coat of paint as well.

7. Au naturel

The summer is all about spending time in nature and the elements. People crave the things that come naturally to them, like spending time outdoors and walking barefoot in the sand, and these trends are popular in interior design this year too.

“A trend that we see this summer is a fresh, muted palette accented with pops of bright color and natural materials, in addition to organic shapes,” designers Lindsay Boswell and Ali Levin of LABL Studio told HGTV. The article continues by stating, “The look is calm, breezy and bright without feeling boring.”

It’s a call to go back to what comes easy and feels natural. It’s not a time for introducing new concepts or ideas, but rather embracing what we already know and what we’re already called to. It’s about doing things without having to think about them.

Does your UX feel easy and au naturel? If not, it might be time to dip your toes in the water and sink into some inspiration.

Summer inspiration

Inspiration is all around us — whether we’re indoors or outside. Don’t be afraid to be inspired by areas of design and daily life outside of the digital world. If this season teaches us anything, it’s that sometimes those easy summer days make for the best experiences.

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