“User Experience” has been one of the buzz-words of the last decade. In the years gone by, UX has gone from being just another catchphrase in the world of design to the make or break ingredient in the world’s most iconic digital products. Research suggests that an average individual spends over two hours on the phone daily, and most of the time is spend on apps that are not even a decade old.
Last few years UX Design has completely shaken the grounds of how apps were developed to address user’s challenges. It has changed the way we do our chores, make our plans and invest our money. Now, as it has become clear that a distinguished UX Design of a product could truly be a differentiator for a digital product, it's time to explore how UX Design Principles could play a pioneering role in defining Product's roadmap.
So what does 2020 have in store? Let’s explore some of the top UX Design trends for 2020.
1. Multi-platform integration
In the last decade, we’ve all gotten used to multiple screen sizes and compatibility across devices. That’s a given. In 2020, UX will be imagined and manifested to form solutions for voice-based interfaces, gaming consoles, automobile dashboards, interactive TVs and many other innovations yet to come over the existing mobile, desktop and tablets predominant today. Till date User Experience Design has been largely restricted to Natural User Interfaces; 2020 will witness a departure towards auditory and even tactile interfaces. Voice User Interfaces (VUI) will be all the rage in the new decade with the rise and acceptance of newer technologies in home automation and security services. Tactile interfaces are increasingly finding use-cases in the fitness and pre-emptive healthcare industry for people of most age groups. The ‘Fitbits’ we love will give rise to more wearables that need intuitive user experience design thoroughly embedded in the product functionality.
2. Designing for truth-validation
The dissemination of information online is not a structured process. Facts and mistruths are circulated online with equal vigour with little to no consequences for distributor of the information. We have seen how election results can be heavily manipulated by unverified political ads. Online information has a larger impact on shaping the general public opinion compared to physical rallies and debates. As the premier digital-native generation, we will have to take stock of how technology shapes our life. Going forward UX Design will have to aid truth validation and provision for the creation of ethical User Interface to provide users with fact-checking and reviewing features to go hand-in-hand with viewing experience. 2019 has already witnessed an increase in disclaimer messaging on Instagram and Youtube on certain content, where signs of tampering and half-truth were prominent. UX Design will most likely incorporate algorithm-driven rejection of fake news and doctored images to cut out the noise and soothe the anxiety on social media platforms prevalent today.
3. UX design as a team activity
The era of the ‘lone-wolf’ designer is gone. In 2020, User Experience will require equal inputs from algorithm engineers, data scientists, illustrators and content creators alike. Since UX cannot exist in isolation, designers will need inputs from business strategy to shape a product that aligns itself with the business objectives. Collaboration in UX design will be dictated with different rules of the game as products of the Internet age mature. The design process will be refined with the creation of a more robust feedback loop to incorporate more dynamic User Research and comply with increasing legislation in the sector. As design creators and visionaries, UX producers will have to accommodate a broader framework of opinions and subject-matter expertise in the process to make enjoyable experiences for different users and society at large.
4. Community outreach in UX
Since a lot of professional work and personal dialogue is moving online, User Experience can’t be envisioned for the individual alone. We live our lives in the public eye, address our thoughts to the world at large and consume entertainment based on what public opinion declares suitable for our tastes. A lot of technology that we use today from search results to online networking is inherently social in nature. Search engines do not simply churn out query results based on the best answer to a question, but they do so based on the similar requests in the past and relevance of previous results. This social currency must be mobilised to create products and shared experiences that the society benefits from. User Experience Design must enhance this interaction in upcoming digital products to enrich not only the User Experience but also the communities’ experience as a whole.
5. Importance of Usability Testing
As a UX Designer, your entire focus of the ideating process is to add new, innovative features to aid the end-user. However, in 2020, you must stick to the ideology ‘More is Less’. The focus of experience design will no longer be to deliver a feature-heavy product; rather it will be to make the product leaner and to amplify the functionality. Keeping a product relevant and functional at the same time will not be easy. It is, however, the design team’s responsibility to cut through the clutter and try to ask discerning users what they really expect from the product. Reducing steps in the process to make the task simpler or faster can go a long way in creating a favourable experience. It’s better and more cost-effective to keep/add only those features that the users need.
6. Design Audit
A Design Audit can help businesses answer compelling questions regarding their business and user satisfaction metrics. If we check the usability and viability of the user experience, it’s important first to identify design bottlenecks that are hindering the cause. It can be anything that increases the cognitive load on the user and nudges them to bounce off the platform. What are users looking for, where are they getting stuck and at what point in the design interface do they leave without converting? A Design Audit can help you gather relevant answers to all of your process pain points. In 2020, audits will be the common diagnosis for most legacy businesses to optimize their online presence and increase their ROI.
7. Reimagine information architecture
The information architecture in a website refers to the structural blueprint that dictates the flow of information through the platform. Information architecture has two main components:- one that defines the site content & functionality and the other that forms the underlying organization, structure and nomenclature. The latter three components define the relationships between a site’s content/functionality and their inter-relatability. The UX Design needs to simplify the complex information architecture and make it easy for users to access what they need. This allows business makers to research and learn what information is important to the success of their product and be able to address the needs of the user by providing them access to what is desired. User Experience experts have to investigate how information is being consumed online, by whom and for how long. On the basis of these details, the information architecture needs to be rethought and brought out of the current stagnation.
8. Inclusive Design
User Experience Design must aspire to excel in filling gaps in user satisfaction where traditional products fail. Design must be inclusive and customized to suit the unique needs of every consumer group. UX must, for example, be customized to suit linguistic choices and accommodate how the difference that arises (English is written from left to right, while Urdu is written from right to left). User Experience Design must include focus groups with disabilities that have traditionally been left out of the digital revolution. These changes when executed will create landmark changes in the way our society functions.
The writing is on the wall. As the digital inclusion surpasses geographic boundaries and penetrates deeper into the different sectors of our economies, the clout of User Experience Design grows in relevance. The trends mentioned above are not going to be important just for 2020, these are going to be the highlight of the coming decade. Most ideas such as inclusive design across communities and the need for fact-checking platforms have been widely discussed but they haven’t yet been put into practice. 2020 will change all that. Companies that design for the shift to wearables and voice, for example, will find greater adoption in the market and earn an early mover premium in the business. Moreover, organisations that view user experience design as a team activity will go on to build more wholesome, well-thought-out products and yield a greater ROI in the process. Those that are slow to adopt these measures as a standard practice will find themselves at the lag end of the competition by the end of the coming decade.