User experience (UX) is fundamental to the consumption of digital media. In an ever-evolving digital landscape, users expect to be able to interact seamlessly with technology and for it to deliver outstanding experiences all of the time. First and foremost, ease of use will continue to be at the core of any piece of technology we produce, regardless of the device or interface. Users will be less willing to accept mistakes meaning that developers and designers will have to up their game. We’ve put together some of the top UX trends that will be a key focus this year.
Although users still want minimalism and structure, they no longer crave the crispness of flat design. Material design allows for more liberal use of grid-based layouts, animations and transitions. Material design has allowed user experience to become more engaging with responsive animations, depth effects and lighting and shadow.
Voice recognition technology has seen huge growth over the last year with the likes of Alexa, Siri and Google Home becoming commonplace in our lives. It’s no surprise that, as people are becoming accustomed to speaking to technology and the accuracy of voice recognition has hit new highs, UX will need to incorporate the technology. Designers will need to apply the same principles they do with visual interfaces to voice-activated interfaces.
Content will firmly retain its position as king on the user experience throne. Any digital experience needs to be founded upon compelling stories. The challenge is hitting the right mix of content and technology to make the user experience as relevant as it can be. Any story that is being told needs to be given space and to flow in a way that makes sense. Design will need to take on board learnings around user behaviour and preferences.
This is a dynamic user experience trend that aims to respond to individual customer needs. Learning from past interactions enables designers to deliver experiences that are personalized and ultimately more convenient for users. Delivering personalized experiences is guaranteed to increase the popularity of any piece of technology.
The popularity of video as a form of content is no new thing. It is the easiest way to grab attention and deliver an experience directly around content. With the average attention span at a mere eight seconds, making a quick impression is paramount. While video is not new, placing it intelligently can make a huge difference to traffic.
With attention being pulled every which way, time is of the essence. Making navigation as simple as possible for the user will save them valuable time and make them much more likely to stick with you. Navigation needs to be clear and simple with an intuitive flow of features and functionalities.
Last year saw the development of prototypes and proof of concept projects. However, with the advent of the latest generation versions of Android and iOS available, it’s time for those projects to become a reality. Augmented reality is paving the way for new tools that perfectly fit users’ needs. We are about to truly find out the commercial potential outside of the world of gaming.
Unlocking our phones with our fingerprints is no new thing but it is an incredibly useful user feature. Biometric authentication is set to replace passwords and pins in a an incredible amount of use cases. Whether its iris scanning, voice recognition or facial recognition, the trend is coming our way. With security as a key concern for businesses and individuals alike, not only will we see more biometrics on our phones but also on our web browsers.
For any brand that wants to interact with a mobile user base, being able to provide the same great experience regardless of platform is vital. UX designers need to consider not only the operating system but smartwatches and even foldable devices. Mobile needs to truly come first, meaning that regardless of the way in which you’re mobile, you still get the same experience. Device-agnostic designs are going to be the only way to compete.
Screen sizes of our smartphones are growing faster than we are these days. The challenge for user experience is that accessibility for thumbs is more and more difficult. Due to the large sizes of screens our thumbs are only able to comfortably reach a small percentage of the screen. Bottom navigation is a design trend aimed at the evolving thumb zone with even split interfaces becoming more common to separate the interaction and viewing zones.
Another result of increased screen sizes, navigation gestures are bound to be on the rise. Gestures allow for more space on the display for apps. The tricky part is that, as there is no universal language for gestures, they may seem confusing at first. The only way around this, in the short term, is to provide a user guide.
There’s no doubt that 2019 is going to be a big year for user experience design and human-machine interaction. The way in which we interact with apps and consume content will continue to evolve with more interactivity, augmented reality and personalisation. These are just some of the changes that are coming our way to challenge designers and create even greater experiences for users.