As time goes by, designers keep on improving interfaces for better user-experience. In this article, we try to single out some interface design trends going on in 2009.

Multi-touch everywhere

The rise of the iPhone made the multi-touch technology very popular. Now many devices are using it: MP3 players, GPS devices, laptops,… This brings much more intuitive interfaces, making it so easy that even one year old children can use it. In 2009 we will for sure see new multi-touch devices appear.

multi-touch device

Web applications get out of the browser

Mac OS X or Yahoo Widgets have already gotten the internet out of the browser for quite a while, but the trend is getting bigger. Think of Twitter and Twhirl, and you’ll get a good example of how a website’s usability can be improved by taking it to an independent interface. Many external apps now support web services like Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed or Seesmic, will we see smaller websites getting out of the browser in 2009?

twhirl screenshot

New controllers for improved usability

The Wiimote and the Logitech MX Air mouse are good examples of the way our interaction with interfaces will be changed through new intuitive navigational controllers. Removing the wires to the mouse was a first step towards more freedom of movement, being able to handle it in the air is a second step. The gaming industry has already been revolutionized by it, professional usage should be next.

Logitech MX air revolution

Buttons go away for minimalist designs

The new iPod Shuffle recently stirred up controversy because it was considered too minimalist. The product is really easy to use, but some would argue that it loses functionality by over-simplifying the design. Another great example of simple minimalist interface would be Mino, the coolest video camcorder.

The trend of minimalist designs doesn’t only apply to products design, but also to web design with grid-based designs getting popular. In every aspect of design, the ease-of-use becomes the ultimate goal.

ipod shuffle

The mobile Web gets bigger, interfaces get smaller

The mobile Web has been trying to develop for a few years without being able to extend its reach. The first iPhone came out in 2007, it was a huge success from the start with its revolutionary multi-touch interface. However, the iPhone’s potential really expands with the release of the iPhone 3G and the App store. Over 20’000 apps are now available in the store, and this number keeps growing, giving mobile design more importance everyday.

With Safari for the iPhone, Apple’s mobile device has also popularized mobile browsing. Many major websites have created a mobile version just because of the iPhone. Other mobile phones constructors have also been forced to improve the usability of their phones and to make their devices more attractive.

Blog engines and CMS are also starting to release plugins to make it easier to publish for the mobile web. For WordPress, you can try the iWPhone WordPress plugin and theme or the WordPress PDA & iPhone plugin.

iphone designs

Written by Mirko Humbert

  • _heel

    So according to this article, Apple will be the design trend leader in 2009. How convenient.

  • planetparker

    Laughing at first comment :-) The column sure did seem a bit slanted.

  • Ed aka the-iguana

    hey, don’t blame apple for knowing how to do their job. *shrug*

  • Web Design Portland

    The iPhone and Apple products… just dominating design UI trends for 2008/2009… so hot right now.

  • Pickle

    I think Apple is leading design. As a web developer and designer, I am mostly a PC user, and occasional MacBooker and iPod Toucher. I can feel Apple effecting everything I see or create even though I don’t play with my Apple toys very often.

  • Lars

    very interesting and good overview!

  • stylishveshici

    Good post!

  • Web design gloucestershire

    Innovation means to be different and Apple have always been different the rest are usually cheaper imitation or copies, remember the old windows os? Say no more!

  • Scott

    Apple does it right, they design and test it till it works, is it a crime to design something good?

  • Knight of Ni

    “The gaming industry has already been revolutionized by it, professional usage should be next.”

    PC gaming industry never used cordless mice. Every professional gamer knows that cordless mice have much higher response times…

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  • Anth

    hate apple
    love bose headphones thou , they are just better than whatever apple
    I mean if they were banana that could work , but apples are just lame
    but then I again I like things others dont like
    for example I really like gorillaz and I’m trying to dress like them

  • Blah

    Yes, Apple is a trendsetter, which is a tragedy since they’re guilty of several fundamental design flaws especially with the iPhone (prioritizing “slick” animations over responsiveness, the inability to cancel actions, the lack of customization options for simple things such as calendar alerts, the list goes on)

  • Eric

    Why would anyone want to go back to proprietary, out-of-browser mediums?! We already went down that road in the late 90s where every website under the sun had their own toolbars, tray widgets, “calendars,” and other useless crap.

    The answer is to improve browsers and enhance them with open standards, like improved Javascript support, offline support, better default widgets, etc.

  • homercycles

    Apple are simply leading the way in economy drives. Strip out anything the user might find useful, double the price, and sit back and suck in the profits from all the dumb mactards who’ll sleep outside your door for days just to get the P.O.S.! Yay!

  • Taranasus

    The problem with Apple is that they are not innovative! While their products are very fun and easy to use with a very well design architecture it’s not because they are the inventors of that technology. For example, Safari 4, they say it has all sorts of revolutionary concepts built in it. While that might be true, those ideas are just copies of opera, google chrome and so on. And this is not a new work method for them. Back in the days when they “Invented” the first Graphical User Interface they just copied what they have seen at Xerox research centre. So apple is not leading anything. They just take something that’s good and make it “shiny”.

  • Television Spy

    Interesting trend set, but ‘buttons go away’ has actually been a mixed bag. Apple’s newest buttonless player isn’t really buttonless, they just moved it to the headphones making it a bit more proprietary. So you have to use their apple headphones instead of any cheapo replacement, that is unless you don’t mind not having the ability to flip through songs and change the volume.

    Smart part on their side, but quite bad for consumers. I don’t see it lasting for long in future versions.

  • uuc

    I hope multi-touch goes to tablet PCs… or Apple makes one.

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  • Erin

    They should have titled the article “Apple sets design trends for 2009″…which is 100% true. They lead while the rest follow.

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  • ghg

    I’m suprised that this lame article written by someone who obviously isn’t involved in usability or design, made it so high up the digg ladder

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  • Calabria property

    A great example of minimalist design is the Rolls Royce Phanton. Not externally, but internally there are about 3 buttons on the dashboard.

    Their reasoning behind this is because people who can afford these cars have little inclination to be fiddling with buttons, settings, damping switches, gadgets etc.

    Minimalist deisign should be consumer driven, if the customer wants ease of use, give it to them.

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  • radits

    nice overview….

  • Lexi

    I don’t think this person was slanted, I believe they were just stating the obvious. Love Apple or hate them, you can’t deny that they have set a huge “trend towards touch”… which sometimes isn’t a good thing.

  • morrel

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  • Clint
  • Eva

    Very Good site .

  • interior design classes online

    Great post I think the hottest interface design for 2010 will be mobile interface for apps and other software for cell phones.

  • Raju Arora

    Thanks for the information shared here. that was an interesting and informative. I had a good experience by participating in the Adobe Summit in 2009 which features the latest developments on the Adobe Flash Platform that is of utmost importance to both developers, as well as designers.. I learnt lot of new technologies in Adobe. And I am planning to attend 2010 edition as well. I found the information about the conference from

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