The main focus of UX design is to adapt to ever-changing trends to meet consumer demands and boost user engagement and satisfaction. Here we’ll talk about five major UX trends you should be watching for:
1. Design thinking for the meta-universe
As the new year dawns, the UX world is preoccupied with the approaching meta-universe. The notion of an immersive virtual world, long imagined in science fiction, seems to be within reach of our current consumer technology.
Perhaps fueled by an escapist desire to transcend our endless pandemic-era limitations, demand for mixed reality headsets has surged, intensifying fierce competition between companies in the emerging tech market.
The design of user experiences for mixed reality is just beginning to evolve. This process will soon be accelerated because headset platforms will publish resources and design guides for the design community. There will soon be a market for design tools to facilitate faster prototyping of early mixed reality concepts for rapid testing and iteration. As UX designers move from two-dimensional (2D) to three-dimensional (3D) media, there is a growing need for UX designers to understand cinematography – understanding camera angles, scenery, and lighting – as well as the soft skills needed to collaborate with 3D artists and developers.
2. Effort-saving technologies
Even if mixed reality engages users in a paradigm of full-body and calorie-burning interaction, the pendulum will swing the other way in routine tasks. As time spent behind a screen increased in the 2020s, so did the constant muscular fatigue of small motor movements of swiping, tapping, and typing. Forget the “don’t make me think” approach-the future of transactional interactions is a quest for pure nonchalance that approaches stillness.
Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have finally allowed effort-saving technologies like voice commands and predictive input to reach a tipping point and move from mere annoyance to proper convenience. This year, UX designers will use more effort-saving input models in everyday interactions, prioritizing “save motion” for their users.
This trend is developing and promises to emerge in the years to come. Breakthroughs in assistive technology for users with disabilities will extend to better interaction for all. Eye movement tracking and facial expression recognition will make navigating a standard user interface (UI) a breeze without causing carpal tunnel syndrome. Imagine browsing through new releases on your streaming services and selecting them with a wink.
3. Real-time collaboration
In 2020, the browser-based Figma program overtook Sketch, a desktop application, to become the most popular UX/UI design tool. This shift surprised skeptics who believed that UX designers would prefer to securely keep their precious files under lock and key on their own computers so they could let their creative genius out in private.
In contrast, most designers not only chose the online collaborative editing model, but it also saved them from failure during the mass shift to remote work with the advent of COVID-19 locks. Now, for many, there’s no going back to the time when they saw their colleagues’ cursors in motion when entering a project, and competing tools rushed to keep up with them.
This year, we expect the same lesson to be applied to the user experience of professional tools in various project-based industries (think film editing, music, sound engineering, architecture, accounting, scientific research, and education). Proponents, of course, will lag behind in adopting a more straightforward approach because, after decades of struggling with disparate project files and complicated extraction and merging rules, a simpler future may be hard to accept.
The truth is that we’ve finally reached the virtual equivalent of mechanics working on different parts of the same car in a garage. With this change, version control will become more intuitive and commonplace. Soon even kids will understand how to roll back a project’s history before someone messes something up.
4. Increased Personalization
Hyper-personalization is expected to play a role in UX and take the field beyond just customer satisfaction. Instead, the focus is on creating a data-driven online experience that can address customer needs before they even ask for it.
AI classifies, organizes, and rationalizes vast amounts of data every day. While the scale, purpose, and approach may vary, the aims are broadly consistent: find patterns, make connections, and draw conclusions. Over time, actions in the digital world can be analyzed to deliver intelligent insights about people’s behavior, creating a valuable image of the person behind each click.
Localization also plays a role in this. For example, users in specific regions might want different login options.
UX designers should create products that let users control their own experience, from dashboards to notifications to checkout options.
5. Non-Contact Customer Experience.
The lesson is that digitalizing the customer journey creates a more sustainable business model. Too many businesses worldwide have been caught off guard by the dramatic shift in customer behavior from predominantly in-person to contactless shopping. Even those stores that already had contactless customer service services, such as curbside pickup, found themselves unprepared to handle the surge in demand. Service-oriented businesses have had to quickly rebuild the customer experience for the remote environment and all of their internal operations.
In 2022, the world will be a little more challenging, a little wiser, and a little more tech-savvy. Emerging companies will design their services and operations to use contactless technology first, and face-to-face interaction will create valuable benefits that will never be taken for granted again. User experience designers must consider all the touchpoints in the customer journey, digital and personal, to optimize the best of both worlds, but always have a backup plan in mind for the following massive change in consumer behavior.
UX design trends are ever-evolving, and while the ones we mentioned above can help, you need the advice of experienced design experts today to get the most out of creating a human-centric digital experience.