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Liz Smith

Lead Solutions



Finding influences in

unexpected places. Top

design trends for 2019

As learning designers, we often look to the

worlds of web or graphic design for

inspiration. But why not cast the net a bit

wider and look at other areas of the design

industry, such as interiors, products or

fashion? This will allow us to dive to the

depths of what trends are taking off in the

design world and interpret what works in

those areas to create great learning


1. UX - Make it personal

User experience design has changed

significantly since the term was first coined in

the early 1990s by Don Norman, a cognitive

scientist for Apple. Agile user experience is

now prolific and in 2019 things will get leaner.

Each day UX is becoming more personalised

through voice-based interfaces and biometric

identifications, which will only become more


The old mental models we've been using as a

metaphor for the digital world need to evolve

beyond a wireframe. Improving learner

experience is much more about journeys and

mindsets than static screens.

The human brain is wired to remember

compelling narratives and we should always

strive to use our technology in the best way

possible to achieve this. This ties back to

finding out what the user wants. We need to

research and gather data to find out what

motivates specific audiences so that we can

build close connections, empathy and indepth comprehension through stories.

2. AI - Embrace the bots

Technology is leading the way in advancing

artificial intelligence, but design will play a

critical role in the advancement and adoption

of AI. Again, comparisons with other

industries are helpful for demonstrating the

role of design. For example, think of how you

can track delivery drivers through apps, right

up until they ring your doorbell.

The same principle applies to learning design.

How exactly is AI going to be built into

learning, and how can you bring your

concept to life through design, in a way that

makes it genuinely useful to clients and


AI makes data far more accessible. The

power of design is being able to engage

people by representing information we've

captured and presenting it meaningfully,

rather than blinding them with stats. This

might be something like comparing their own

decision with poll data or engaging with a

chatbot to reflect on their understanding of a




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