The start of any year is a great time to think about the direction UX might be going. UX is an ever changing area and one that can be different one week to the next. Here I share some of my thoughts on where I think UX might be steering towards in the coming year.
Firstly, content. Content is a critical factor in creating a great experience. An amazing experience isn’t just about showing the right information–it’s about showing the right information at the right time. It’s about showing the right content in the right context, without the user needing to work to find that content.
Today, users expect some type of personalization: they’re looking for an experience that is predictive and anticipatory without being creepy. The key to this is to make use of all the channels we have available to increase access to helpful information. This includes: better mobile notifications, more actionable emails, hyper-tailored content and recommendations, and doing things automatically for users (but always giving the user control to change).
Another trend that I hope takes flight this year has to do with training for UX designers. It’s not enough for user experience designers to know tools and processes. To really be successful, designers must also understand business.
Designers must be able to operate with confidence at the intersection of business and user experience design. This enables them to effectively collaborate and educate teammates and stakeholders, convey their ideas and insights with confidence, as well as lay the foundation for a design driven culture.
Designers must have the agility and adaptability to quickly read an organization, understand its business, and operate within its constraints. As larger and more friction-filled organizations seek to focus on UX, we as designers must become experts at navigating the dynamics of organizations — the soft skills — and operate at the overlap of business and user experience.
Finally, in 2016, I think that designers will redefine delight. We’ve heard the request over and over, “it needs to be delightful.”
But what exactly is delight? Is delight a user need?
When we’re interviewing users and doing research, do users actually say “I’d like it to be delightful?” Rarely, if ever. Instead of trying to design delight into our product experiences, we should create experiences that produce delight as a byproduct of the experience. One way to do this is making things more “user-friendly,” something people have come to expect. They just want things to work with ease.
In what direction do you think UX is going to go in 2016?