This year, more than ever, user-friendly design has been the driving force behind innovation and business success. This shift from UX Design to Product Design only accelerated in 2018. As our role and responsibilities grow inside our companies, understanding more about business and design strategy becomes inevitable.
As the broad “UX | UI designer” title starts to dissolve, we see fellow designers focusing on new paths and specialisations:
- Some designers are venturing into new fields and technologies like virtual reality, conversational design, voice interfaces.
- Some are focusing on more specific areas of the design craft like motion design, prototyping, UX writing;.
- Some are updating their titles to Product Designers to broaden their scope beyond interaction design to focus more on product strategy and business.
Here are the top 12 trends that we have looked at:
- The rise of voice and design without interface – Voice UI –
Voice-activated interactions boost the user experience by eliminating typing, which also eliminates another potential source of friction for App users (since people have to learn to use an App). Voice interfaces will build on smarter personalisation: recognising the voice of their user and tweaking the experience to match their taste.In many cases, touchscreens have replaced the mouse. The rise of voice is slowly eliminating the need to type, or even use your hands at all.
- Mobile priority
In 2018, we’ve been seeing mobile-friendly elements heavily influencing the desktop design. The focus will be high on designing the platform agnostic experiences, giving users flexibility to browse products of various applications – seamlessly. The expectation is that content would update automatically across devices. The experience will be frictionless everywhere. Not designing nor taking mobile into consideration for your product could be detrimental to its life span and adoption rate. Well-curated and easily accessible content is what makes a mobile App appealing to its intended users.
Storytelling and writing have never been so present in the design world. As customer journeys become more fragmented, it is our job to ensure brands are telling a coherent story across channels – and that those stories are clear, interesting and human.
Stripping away all the visual clutter can help you focus on the core of the message you are trying to communicate. We see more experiences that rely almost entirely on a word exchange between user and machine. An important question to ask is: When you remove all styles, does your page still tell a cohesive, clear story?
- Conversational design
Virtual Assistant’s and Chatbots – simple, narrow-focused interfaces created with a different mission. They can make daunting tasks like changing your plane seat easier, connecting you with customers without increasing workload for your employees, and automatically delivering location- or time-based news. It’s convenient, natural and simply fun.
- Interaction through animations and micro interactions
Micro interactions are instances where the design and the user communicate with each other. Cleverly created designs can enhance user interaction. Micro interactions from the screen that show how to use the App optimally will keep users engaged and happy. Animations never fail to appease the user. You can generate interactions through animated photos, fonts, buttons and GIFs, to create a pleasant experience.
- Biometric Authentication
Biometric authentication is not a new concept, but it has been receiving a definite boost in 2018, with several financial and banking institutions adopting the technology globally. Password authentication has been a major stumbling block in mobile banking. This is going to change with this feature. The limitations with biometrics will be identified and the concept will be made beneficial for both the enterprise and the user. Users expect effortless authentication along with other advanced features in their apps, so biometric authentication has to be done successfully. Fingerprint biometrics is the most widely used authentication modality because of its various features like the ability to deter hackers and imposters, ease of use, interoperability and accuracy. But as the adoption becomes wider, it is very important to realize that the deployed solutions might become a target for attack which is why they must be secured strongly.
- Ethics and inclusivity
The UX measures in “ETHICS” will see a particular upsurge in privacy by design and designing for consumer trust. In an inclusive society, those living with impairments should never be discriminated against or prevented from easily using technology. This is particularly true considering our increasing reliance on technology to live and work making web accessibility more crucial than ever before.
- Linear user flow
A linear user flow can make an app physically appealing, because there will be a beginning, middle and an end. It also makes it easier for the user to finish a particular task, and then, move on to the next. This is a great help because it helps them understand how much time it will take to complete a task before moving on to the next. It definitely makes user journey simple. Designing linear user flows will make it easier both for the user and the business.
- Augmented reality
The improved version of Augmented reality aims to provide context-driven content to the user, making it personalised and more useful. Contextual computing is mixed with things like Artificial Intelligence, big data, sensors and machine-learning to ensure highly relevant information is delivered to the user. UX designers will take the latest trends in this emerging medium to change the way people see and experience reality by diminishing the lines between physical and digital environment. So, it is both challenging and opportunistic, and that’s what makes it exciting.
- Advance and smarter personalisation
Content is only valuable if it’s relevant to the reader personally. We need to work towards understanding each customer by building a single, holistic customer profile. To create a differentiated user experience you have to know what works with your users. We will see more interfaces that remember the audience, adapt to match their needs, and provide them tailored experiences. Age responsive design will find prominence as well.
Hence, interface with vibrant colours and stylish typography for teenagers, while large fonts and sensible colours for elderly. Fingerprint and face recognition will also make authentication easier and more brands will ditch the need of remembering passwords. We will also be providing content based on user location.
- Dominance of video
There has been a surge in adapting video for short attention spans. New ways of content delivery appear as a result of adapting to the change. Formats like 360-degree videos and Facebook Live were created as a result of such adaptation. In 2018 more users and business have been using this format to deliver important and timely information.
- New age of feedback capturing
The evolution of feedback capturing techniques and also how feedback can be employed to evoke the desired sensation in the person or enhance their experience are one of the main trends this year. Synesthetic feedback is the new kid on the UX design block, where interfaces will extend the scope of accommodating multi-sensory experiences.
For example, an image of a cappuccino can bring an aroma of freshly brewed coffee or its divine taste in the mouth. UX designers are planning to integrate synesthetic feedback into their user experience, but it will take some time before we see this technology in action.
WHAT WE KNOW (Conclusion):
There has been a strong focus on accommodating emerging technologies that dominate the user experience space in 2018. At the same time, companies are focusing more on evaluating ideas and designing products that users need. Therefore, design thinking will find more takers who want to push the human-centered design to bring their idea to life.
We have seen our goals of providing an intelligent, fast and intuitive experience, ensuring users complete an action in minimum time and in a limited number of steps providing results. UX will no longer be a topic reserved for web designers. It will be acknowledged as one of the most crucial branding elements, and thus become a priority for the business as a whole.
We’ll see an increasing need for versatility. Those UXers who up-skill and add new strings to their bow will be highly sought after. Robust and interactive App design will keep users hooked to your app/product for a long time. User-friendly interfaces can improve their mobile experience a great deal. Nevertheless, it is worth saying that mobile app UI designs will keep on changing as user needs evolve. As, a UI/UX unit, we have to remain innovative and creative to the core, understand and grasp our users’ ever-changing needs.
On that same note, we will need to be the trend setters and early adopters of new technology and insights in the client experience space and infiltrate that back into our businesses and teams.
by Mari-Liza Monteiro