According to this investigation and the project topics and challenges designaffairs faced in 2019 and the beginning of 2020, nine UX trends were established in the following three areas:
- Needs & requirements,
- Technology and
- Design & Experience
Each area is crucial for the different stakeholders involved in UX projects, whether we are talking about organizations, clients, customers, employees, developers or management to support the creation and implementation of innovation and to intensify the focus on the user and their experience.
Needs & requirements – Example of “File-less Cloud Collaboration”
Stakeholder needs and requirements build the foundation for any UX project. In the times of increasing use of home office (as experienced by many in the COVID-19 quarantines), international projects, travel restriction (due to health issues or budget) or working within decentralized teams, the sharing of information to create information symmetry is more crucial than ever. Therefore, the demand of users and organizations to take care of the content, but without the hassle of file-management, is high.
Working file-less means that one file is established within a cloud (for text, calculation, presentations, etc.), to which all relevant parties are provided working rights and/or viewing-access.
This further means, no more sending of files via e-mail, sharing links for ftp-servers, usage of different file-servers for different clients, buying of editing software, downloading and uploading different versions of files and still ending up with unmerged content, etc. The best examples for this kind of working is currently provided by Google Drive and OneDrive.
Technology – Example of “Situational Expert Mode”
As many products, services and experiences rely heavily on technology, it is crucial to investigate what technology can provide for UX projects and what consequences the usage of the latest technologies has on the user experience, especially when considering the tasks and behaviors of the users. This investigation is particularly relevant for application and software that is used 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 offers 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. This switching of modes supports users when 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, in perform their tasks in the sense of everybody, everywhere, everywhen (similar to the “File-less Cloud Collaboration”).
The main point is, to temporarily grant the user the interactions and data they need, to support them in their tasks.
Examples for the expert mode can be found in various digital areas, such as study portals (i.e. Pearson Education), airlines (i.e. United) and throughout the Google world (i.e. Chrome, Ads, etc.).
Design & experience – Example “Trust vs. 1 Click-Solution”
Though UX products and services are defined by the needs, requirements and previous experiences of the stakeholders, as well as technology, they are ultimately made experienceable for users through the tangible outputs created by designers, engineers, developers, etc. Yet, there can be a conflict between the needs and requirements of the users when it comes to their desired experience and their expectations about trust, decision power, information or handling of data. Users crave an uninterrupted experience when performing a task and require from UX an interaction stream and design, which is getting them as fast as possible to their desired destination – the fulfilled task (i.e. purchasing an item in 1-Click). Yet 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 itself is going in the online or offline world (i.e. selecting cookies, saving bank account data, using secure payment systems). The mentioned conflict arises when transparency is visually displayed and decision power is given to the user to create 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 walking a tightrope when dealing with this conflict and the current proposals (purchasing movies or tv-shows, ordering food online, renting bikes, etc.) show tendencies to either lay more empathy 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 the 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 crucial insights and support UX brings to the users (in form of interactions, fulfillment of desires and experiences) and to companies when aiming to develop compelling and competitive products and services. Check out all identified UX Trends for 2020 by exploring designaffairs 2020 UX Trends Poster here.
This Story is part of the Trends Poster 2020 series. Check out the Trending PX part.