User experience design is a growing field, slated to get a lot bigger in 2017. Here’s some of the big things in UX people have been predicting – have you seen them coming true? Anything that can’t come fast enough? Let everyone know in the comments!
UX as a management practice
The value of UX is obvious in products that’re customer-facing. You want something customers will use and, if not enjoy using, at least appreciate. It needs to be intuitive and easy to use to keep the customers coming back – and to stop them constantly calling support. But what about UX for products used by employees? That hasn’t always been an obvious area of focus for management. But it seems like that’s the direction things are heading. After all, making things easy for your employees to use will boost their productivity and motivation, right? Time will tell if employers are really taking this one to heart, but it’s looking good.
More and more mobile
Now pretty much everyone has a smartphone (even my grandma), it’s probably not a real surprise that everything’s going mobile. Even if there isn’t an app for it, sites are starting to be optimized so that they look like an app – nice clean interfaces which look the same across different devices, so people don’t have to learn where everything is three different times.
You don’t jump on the latest product if it takes ages to learn how to use it and get to know where everything is. The latest trend is a serious focus on saving time, and making it so people can open up an app or a webpage or whatever and go straight to where they need to be. Even though there are dozens of features on the average product, designers are looking to give it the air of simplicity. As with makeup, less can be more.
Not everyone has the ability to implement their own Siri, but chatbots and AI-driven customer service interactions are becoming a bigger and bigger thing. It saves everyone’s time – the user gets quick answers, customer service agents stick to handling the big stuff, and it’s simple to track what’s working – and what isn’t. AI has a long way to go, but this is the perfect testing ground. Just watch out for when it takes over the world. (Kidding. Probably.)
Smart personalization options
So often, those creating apps and other products give the impression that they know better than the people who use them. Facebook’s algorithms are one example, showing people what the algorithm thinks they’ll be interested in, filtering down their feeds, rather than showing them everything their friends are posting. People are starting to notice – and they’re starting to find it annoying. These days, people don’t want to be stuck in a filter bubble. Smart UX is going to change things up and let people break out of the bubble, if they really want to. Facebook might not be where it starts, but it’s obvious that people want a view of the world as it really is – even if just so they don’t get a nasty surprise later on!
Some people think that the next big thing in metrics will be tracking the real impact a product has on a person’s life. It’s unclear what form this will take, but some are looking for companies to follow Snapchat’s example from their Snapchat Spectacles.
How many companies have someone specializing in UX? Chances are, the numbers are going to go up. As the importance of user experience-oriented designs becomes more and more apparent, companies are catching on and getting ready to push their teams in that direction for the next generation of apps and websites. We’re going to be seeing that everyone who is part of making a user-facing product is going to become part of the UX team, in a very real way.
Age responsive design
Who’s going to be looking at the product? Is it Grandma or a nine-year-old? With kids growing up as digital natives, the gap between the two is widening all the time. Designs which focus on a good user experience are going to have to juggle the two, tailoring what people see to the demographic they’re in. Grandma might need prompting to click the next button, but the nine-year-old probably knows they just need to swipe across the screen. It’s time to take note of that – and even take advantage of that.
RIP to the homepage
It used to be that most visitors to your site would jump in at the homepage. But homepages are becoming obsolete, because people don’t come straight to the webpage – they follow a link. Now, people are increasingly thinking in terms of a tailored landing page – figuring out where search engines are bringing people in, and optimizing that page for the right audience so it delivers exactly the right user experience. No looking around for what you need; specialized landing pages take you right to it.
So what’re you looking forward to? What trends are you seeing, or would you like to see?