The influx of new tech and platforms turned UX design into a multi-disciplinary job. Yet, 2020 is the year that changes how we understand UX completely. Teams of professionals from different disciplines have to work together creating a unique user experience for digital products.
Still, that doesn’t exclude covering the bases of your digital business. Since you are going to operate a website, you want to improve page speed and have a responsive website.
Regardless, the UX trends such as adopting new tech, reorganization of the UX community, and personalized design you want to incorporate in your product.
1. New Tech
Adoption of new tech is mandatory if you want your product to stay relevant. If designers don’t use it their product won’t be able to stay relevant. It’s even better when designers are allowed to navigate and pioneer technology as a feature of the product.
Such new tech is voice technology. Siri paved a way for other voice-interactive AI. And, even if the feature solely relies on voice-controlled actions, it’s still a step-up in tech use. Along with that, designers should get more into AI, and try to understand how to make it a part of the experience.
Yet, it’ll take a few more years before such tech becomes mandatory. The big thing right now is multi-platform integration. Users have multiple devices they use throughout the day. UX designers have to think about how to appropriate a product, app, or software across platforms without an expense on the experience. Users won’t use the product if they can’t use it at their leisure.
Digital products must be fast, easy to use, and with appropriate graphic imagery. The ease of use is the most important aspect of flawless user experience. But, there’s another problem to tackle.
2. Design For the Post-Truth Era
Companies whose business model depends on sharing news and similar data have to assure trustworthiness. Deep fakes, fake news, and cybersecurity threats transformed the internet as you knew it. We live in the post-truth era where everything we deem relevant may be a blatant lie.
That’s why users need more than a fantastic design. The design should break the doubt of the users, and pursue them that the product is safe to use, holds relevant information, and isn’t harmful.
Think about a slick, clean design with just enough copy generating a sense of a complicated product. Each section, button, feature, and option works together emulating transparency and striking trust in the first use.
This applies to SaaS products, software, e-commerce, and publishing houses. While a publishing house or a news network may be the most obvious example, digital businesses have to fight misinformation.
Today, you can consider a fake review as misinformation. Crafting a user experience for the new century requires transparency and relevance. This adds a new layer to the UX since now designers have to think about information architecture, but also how to present the information. A single person isn’t enough for the job anymore.
We are witnessing a paradigm shift, as the idea of what a UX designer does changes in front of your eyes.
3. Design Communities
Designers are abandoning the solitude-ridden mode of work. Now, they are joining forces, trying to combine disciplines and skills to improve the user experience. Professionals from different industries are sharing information, techniques, and strategies to improve products and services.
New tech develops daily, and it’s getting harder to keep up with the innovation. And, a single person can master only a few skills. You can’t be a programmer, web developer, graphic designer, and copywriter all at once. That’s why designers are forming new communities, learning from each other, and cooperating.
More than ever, they need the help of other professionals to improve the digital experience. UX isn’t about design anymore. The new approach is cross-disciplinary and requires both technical and creative skills to make it work.
Then, you have programmers, copywriters, designers, and web developers working together to discover faults and improve products. A designer may not know to code or writing a persuasive copy. However, UX designers have a different purpose.
4. The Role of UX Designer
The UX designer has to understand the product or service, the platform, and deliver usable, understandable, and eye-catching experience for the user. For that, they can’t rely on design skills alone. They want to have proper web development, programming, and creative capabilities at their disposal.
Also, they need to be business-minded. Unlike before, they have to look further than the user’s perspective when it comes to the product’s features. What they need to leverage is the business-centric view, and to use it to develop a better experience.
The business-minded attitude is something that a lot of professionals miss. They can code, develop, write, design, but they don’t understand either the product or the business model properly. UX designers need to look a bit further and anticipate the digital experience. And, develop an ability to realize what prevents the users from interacting with the product, and resolve the issue.
It’s not enough to add more features or try to add more graphics. Each product or service is an individual exploit. It should be treated and approached in that way.
5. Design Audit and Testing
Creative and development pursuits are the first step to success. Audits, testing, and optimization are why we succeed.
There’s a huge hype about design systems and systematic solutions in general. But the approach to the product should always be individual. Working based on pre-made solutions and tactics hinders the product and disturbs the digital experience.
Without an audit, you can’t optimize the product. If you fail to optimize it, the competition will capitalize on your shortcomings by adding or removing a feature of your product. Therefore, you need to find any sign of what’s obstructing a flawless experience.
When you are doing a design audit, you want to find bottlenecks in your products. You want to review how users are interacting with the product. And, you want to find out what’s preventing them from using the product successively.
Then, you need to check out the usability of the product. You want to test various options and discover whether or not they function properly. The usability is more than testing buttons. It’s about testing the overall experience of the product, app, or service and assuring a smooth experience.
It’s not about adding more, but about finding the right measure.
6. Personalized Experience
When you are working with a UX designer, you can instantly see if you are working with an amateur. An amateur designer believes that adding more features solves the problem. A professional designer knows that a product needs just enough features to be operational.
So, while it’s necessary to be business-centric, it’s also important to be customer-centric. Take an app for example. You don’t need to have a lot of features on a fintech app. But, you need such features to power the app and allow the user to complete their tasks in a matter of minutes.
There may be only five features on the app, but that may be more than enough. You could add another 10, yet, you are risking slowing the app down, clogging the design, and making the app too difficult to operate.
7. Inclusive Design
To say that the online experience is too American may seem like an overstatement. But, it proved to be the case as designers are more interested in the cultural context of the product. They can’t rely on a single design to lead the whole experience of the global user segment.
On the contrary, they have to understand regions, cultures, nationalities, and ethnicities to craft a superb experience. When you look at an American user, he has certain needs, aesthetic preferences, and uses certain devices dominantly.
However, a Middle-Eastern user has a different cultural context, different aesthetics, and uses different devices. So, using the same design for both of them may backfire, as the Middle-Eastern user won’t be able to use the device properly, and enjoy it as such.
Looking into data, researching, and exploring the culture gives another perspective when crafting the user experience. UX designers need to leverage this aspect more than ever before. As cross-platform tech rises, it’ll be easier to port the product across devices.
Therefore, the focus of the task is to cater to the segments the product is marketed for. But, another thing to think about is how to present the product.
8. Rediscovering Information Architecture
Digital design overlooked the decisive moment of the product. Sure, you may have great graphics, design, layout, but it won’t matter if you didn’t present the information in the right manner. It’s not about the copywriting as much as properly communicating what the product is, and what are its features.
So, when you look at the product, you want to recognize how to share the product’s information with the user to make the product easy to use. Here, programmers and web developers are UX designer’s best friends.
They work together to discover how you can present the information, make it usable, and put it in the right spot. Allow users to access information with ease, place it strategically, and don’t let them search too much for it.
The whole emphasis of the information should be about letting the user learn what’s relevant. When you can provide such content, and present it as a feature, you’ll make the product stand out.
Therefore, a personalized approach is a way to go.
9. A Different Look at Design Systems
In previous years, there was a lot of focus on pre-made, ready-to-use design systems, and technologies in design. When we previously mentioned the inclusive design, we addressed the need for specialized design. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a systematic approach.
The new approach to the design system means categorizing, developing, and promoting libraries with UX patterns, templates, and tools to improve user experience. The library may consist of buttons, dropdown menus, and cards which you can copy and use.
The greatest issue with the library approach is that you have to constantly update them. As the UX progresses, using an outdated library can’t help you, and it obstructs your product from success.
So, taking on a design system requires that you take a constant effort not just to improve your company, but help the design community as well.
It all comes down to taking the UX to the next level.
10. Evolution of UX
Finally, the UX in 2020 is more than selecting buttons and adding features. It’s about using everything you have at your disposal to create a new experience. Now, everything goes as you can use videos, graphics, copy, web development, and anything at your disposal.
It’s time to experiment and envision a new form of digital experience. With the adoption of new tech, cross-disciplinary approach, and the abundance of data you can do almost anything. But, what you should do is another thing.
Companies are looking for a way to understand what pushes the user experience. For example, you can add video content, or create graphics consisting of photos and illustration, experiment with typographies, try new web and app layouts.
The choice is yours. Luckily, there are whole communities you can contact and use as an inspiration. So, it comes down to the matter of what you see as the user experience for the new generation.
Follow the trends and apply them. Whatever you choose to follow, the best thing you can do is to try to break the limits.
The UX discipline already stepped into a paradigm shift. It’s your choice whether you want to follow the lead or be the leader.