2020 is over. It was an unstable year and many were exhausted. Social distancing, lockdown, remote work, and for many, downsizing: all this has become a new reality.
But despite the instability, the world stage of UI/UX and product design did not stand still. After all, with new problems, new solutions have appeared. Companies released new products, as well as updated existing ones.
In this issue, we summed up the results of 2020, where we collected top events from the world of design for you. News items are sorted by importance. Everything interesting is at the end ✎
In 2020, Protopie continued to evolve and gain momentum. At the moment, the company has 100,000 paid users worldwide, with major deals with Microsoft, Google and other well-known technology companies. And last year was very fruitful for them. It was released a few exciting updates and improvements, among which we can highlight the following:
Notion has significantly improved its product, and also continued to add to the list of its templates: they already have 90+ templates in their database, and their number will only grow in the new year 2021. But what were the improvements and innovations in the product itself:
In 2020, Sketch launched Cloud Inspector, giving developers the opportunity to use Sketch for free. Now the process of transferring designs to developers and overall collaboration both within teams and between individual freelancers is improved.
But this wasn’t the main feature for Sketch last year…
In October, the company announced thata real-time collaboration mode is being tested in beta mode. A slightly late decision, given Figma’s progress in this area. But hardcore Sketch users were very happy with the news.
This feature is now available in the new beta version of Sketch 71. The beta version is available to anyone who has a Teams subscription, at no extra cost. The online collaboration will be fully launched in early 2021.
And on its basis, such products as Vectary and Spline appeared.
Vectary is a cloud-based tool that allows you to create creative 3D elements, compositions, and layouts. They can then be exported to AR applications. You can also use it to create 3D design systems in Figma.
Vectary also has an online collaboration mode, which makes working with your team even easier.
Spline is a very worthy competitor to Vectary, which is only gaining momentum so far.
It is more focused on web applications, and you can use it to work with 3D text, create geometric shapes, edit materials, import 3D models, and much more.
The app runs on macOS, Windows, and Linux.
In 2020, AR / VR apps are more in demand than ever before. AR / VR technologies have helped many companies adapt to the new environment and maintain their businesses.
For example, Amazon has developed the Room Decorator app, which allows you to simultaneously place several pieces of furniture and other items before buying.
Apple added new features to ARKit 4 – the Depth API was introduced, which creates a new way to access in-depth information on the iPad Pro.
Google hasn’t been left out either: for example, Google Shopping has teamed up with several beauty brandsto create an AR app that lets you try out virtual makeup at home. Well, if you are a fan of museums and galleries, then the Google Arts & Culture team has provided users with this opportunity. Thanks to the combination of street mapping and high-resolution images, anyone can take a virtual walk through the best cultural institutions in the world.
We believe that the AR/VR sphere will only increase its potential, and in 2021 it promises to be one of the main trends.
In the summer of 2020, Apple announced the imminent launch of a new version for its macOS operating system. 5 months later, Big Sur was released .
The new design is one of the most impressive innovations in Big Sur. It is obvious that the designers borrowed many elements from the iPhone and iPad. All elements in the interface take up less space, their corners are beautifully rounded, transparency effects have been added, and color schemes have been updated.
As for functional changes, the new OS has a number of innovations:
An interactive notification Center has been added, combining widgets and notifications in one panel.
The customizable Control Center allows you to control Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, music playback, turning on dark mode, etc. elements.
Updated the Maps, Mail, and Photos apps. With the new Maps functionality, you can easily and quickly plan your trips.
Framer has taken things to the next level this year with a few cool changes. Now it’s not just a prototyping tool-they’re clearly going the Figma way. With strong prototyping, all that remains is to finish what Figma already has. Framer makes sense to try in 2021.
Among the new products, we highlight the following.
In the past year did not remain without attention to Material design. Fully updated styles and visual components will be available in 2020. A small and persistent group of pixel fanatics from Cherepovets spent the whole year whittling components in Figmato Express to the world their vision of what MD could become in the near future? ♂
In The brainstorming category , Miro usage increased from 5% in 2019 to 33% in 2020, according to the UX Tools Survey. And the total number of Miro users worldwide in 2020 exceeded 10 million people.
We list the new products that helped Miro achieve such progress:
Stickies Captures – transfer of handwritten text on stickers to electronic format during brainstorming sessions;
Miro Grids widget-organizing content in visual tables;
Live Embed allows you to integrate whiteboards into Coda, Jira, Microsoft Teams, Wherever, etc.;
Added the function of joint wireframing;
And the best part: collaboration with Adobe and integration with Adobe XD. From now on, work processes with these programs will be significantly accelerated by:
Figma has had a strong year. First , according to the results of the UX Tools Survey, which was attended by 4,100 people, Figma took the leading positions in 6 out of 8 categories (“User Flows”, “UI Design”, “Prototyping”, “Developer Handoff”, “Design systems”, “Version Control”).
Secondly, since September 2020, the creators of Figma have made several drastic changes to the functionality of their system:
With these changes, Figma will definitely retain its leading position in 2021.
The leader of our list was Adobe, for which 2020 was a very busy year. Here is a summary of the company’s major updates:
Added streaming feature for Photoshop, Illustrator, and Fresco;
Ability to centrally manage plugins in the Creative Cloud desktop app.
The “Share for Review ” feature has been added to InDesign, allowing users to share their work and get feedback.
In Photoshop, font recognition, fill and color correction are improved, the “Select Subject Portrait ” function is added with easier selection of a complex object (for example, a woman with curls) and replace the background. And thanks to neural network filters based on the Adobe Sensei AI engine, you can change the portrait (smooth the skin, change the age, direction of the eyes or head, add emotions, etc.)
After Effects mode of working with 3D is optimized;
Adobe XD has also been upgraded with the following new features::
We wish you not to slow down, because the new year 2021 promises to be very cool and fruitful.