From 2019 and into 2020, we uncovered nine UX trends that really matter to our clients. They can be divided into three areas:
- Needs and Requirements
- Design and Experience
Each area is critical for the various stakeholders involved in UX projects ─ from organizations, clients and customers to employees, developers and management ─ in order to support the creation and implementation of innovative ideas and to intensify the focus on the user and their experience.
Needs and Requirements: File-less Cloud Collaboration
Stakeholder needs and requirements are the cornerstone of any UX project.
In a time of widespread working from home and international travel restrictions ─ as experienced by many during the global COVID-19 pandemic ─ the sharing of information to create greater symmetry is more crucial than ever. As a result, organizations and end users want to take care of content, but without the hassle of file management. Working file-less means that one file is established in the cloud (for text, calculation, presentations, etc.) and all relevant parties are then provided with editing rights and/or viewing access. This means no more sending of files via e-mail, sharing links for FTP servers, using different servers for different clients, buying editing software, downloading and uploading different versions of files and still ending up with unmerged content. The best examples of this kind of online working is currently provided by Google Drive and OneDrive.
Technology: Situational Expert Mode
As many products, services and experiences rely heavily on technology, it’s crucial to understand how tech can help UX projects and the consequences of using the latest technologies for the user experience, especially when considering the tasks and behaviors of said users. This understanding is particularly relevant for applications and software employed by diverse user groups on multiple devices in different situations and environments, while using only one account for all devices. These users require flexibility when it comes to performing tasks and are not supported by the division of interactions and profiles through the used device, such as “laptop or tablet = expert profile” and “smartphone = light profile”. The trend of “situational expert mode” provides this flexibility, as it allows the user, through one simple toggle in the main menu, to switch from a lighter version of their profile on their device (in terms of displayed interaction possibilities, data, visualizations, etc.) to an expert version of their profile and back again. This switching of modes supports users that may be unwilling (i.e. configuring your router with your smartphone when lounging on the sofa) or unable (i.e. a consultant stuck in the subway, with no room to open a laptop) to switch devices and enable them to perform tasks in the spirit of “everybody, everywhere, every time” (similar to File-less Cloud Collaboration). The key point is to temporarily grant the user the interactions and data they need to support them in executing their tasks. Examples for this expert mode can be found in various digital areas, such as study portals (e.g. Pearson Education), airlines (e.g. United) and throughout the Google world (e.g. Chrome, Ads, etc.).
Design and Experience: Trust versus One-Click Solution
Although UX products and services are defined primarily by the needs, requirements and previous experiences of the stakeholders ─ as well as technology, of course ─ they are ultimately made experienceable through the tangible outputs of designers, engineers, developers, etc. Yet there can still be a conflict between the needs and requirements of the users when it comes to their desired experience, and their expectations relating to trust, decision-making power, information and the handling of data. Users crave an uninterrupted experience when performing a task and require a UX interaction stream and design that gets them to their desired destination as quickly as possible – the so-called fulfilled task (e.g. purchasing an item in one click). At the same time, users also crave transparency when it comes to the necessity of entering their data, the handling of their data and where the user themself is going in the online or offline world (i.e. selecting cookies, saving bank-account details, using secure payment systems, etc.). The aforementioned conflict arises when transparency is visually displayed and decision-making power is given to the user to build trust, which results in the creation of an “interrupted path” that opposes one of the main desires of the users (the uninterrupted experience). Currently, UX designers are effectively walking a tightrope when dealing with this conflict, and current proposals (such as purchasing movies or TV shows, ordering food online, renting bikes, etc.) show tendencies to either place more emphasis on fulfilling the desire of an uninterrupted experience or the desire for transparency.
Given the growing online-purchasing market, UX designers will continue to tackle this challenge in order to provide an experience that meets users’ expectations and desires.
Creating innovative, sustainable and user experience-enhancing products and services continues to be crucial for UX designers, users and companies. This year’s identified trends highlight the areas in which UX is desperately needed, as well as the critical insights and support that UX brings to the user (in the form of interactions and fulfillment of desires and experiences), as well as to companies aiming to develop compelling and competitive products and services.
Check out all identified UX Trends for 2020 by exploring the designaffairs 2020 UX Trends Poster here.
This Story is part of the “Trends 2020” series. Continue reading the Trending PX part.