With the dawn of 2020, we decided to take a step back and look at the past ten years to visualize what this year and the future hands instore for us. During this time the internet has truly changed and reshaped how we interact and coexist with technology in our everyday life. We have witnessed change and seen the reign of mobile, the introduction of a chatbot, AR and VR. As breakthrough as all of these new technologies have been, we certainly cannot dismiss the role design trends played in the transformations. UX design trends over the last 10 years show no sign of slowing down and cruising, instead it’s always reinventing and innovating new ways to elevate their experiences for the users.
As designers, we haven’t always been receptive to the waves of changes, especially if it challenges our roles as designers and creative problem-solvers. Change, however, is one of the most challenging and satisfying aspects of a career in design and thus UX design for 2020 will focus not only on design being implemented into all areas of businesses, but it will also take on more mature role by intergrading cross functionality, inclusivity and specialization throughout the entire process. It’s safe to say the role of UX design will be huge in 2020, especially for Web Development in Sri Lanka, as we continue to witness aesthetics and technology come together like never before. In this article we will look at five design trends that we predict will have a significant role to play in the year 2020.
Before we delve into the trends, let’s first recap what all falls into User Experience. User Experience, also commonly known as UX is essentially about how we feel when we interact with a product, application, website or software. It is the practice of ensuring every human-computer interaction is a meaningful, experimental, valuable and practical one. Many different disciples such as information architecture, visual design, branding, functionality and usability have to work together to ensure every user experience is the best possible experience for its users.
In the past 10 years we’ve gone from cell phones to smartphones and desktops to tablets, and our lives have truly been altered when it comes to how we interact with these devices. Whether it’s to book cab rides, stream TV shows, follow current events, order meals, compare product reviews and prices, or last but not least how we invest our time on various social media platforms, it’s certainly nothing like how it used to be 10 years ago. As technology advances are made, UX design is constantly having to evaluate how to make these experiences more meaningful. And because it deals directly with how a client interacts with a company or their products/ services, it plays a significant role in deciding how successful (or unsuccessful) a business is.
Computation design is an integral part of user-centered design. Whilst an exact definition of computation design is still not readily available, it usually means that instead of using computer tools to only design a form, we can now propose a specific set of instructions which will tell the computer the series of steps it needs to take to make that form; thus a kind of computational ‘how to’ for creating a certain design in real time, at scale and on demand. If this is still confusing, to put it in layman’s terms, computation design basically mimics human decision-making processes and explores different options available within a list of pre-defined parameters just like a designer would, only it will explore all the viable possibilities and get it done faster.
In the past it used to cost companies a large sum of money, effort and time to design and test different options that fall within the project criteria listed on the brief. With this new wave of technology however, we have programs such as Rhino, Marionette and Dynamo that allows for companies to present more optimized options to clients at a much faster turn-around time. These programs allow our computers to draw up the design options that are in par with pre-defined parameters and constraints, which untimely frees up time for designers to tackle newer and larger design problems.
In 2020 we predict more designers will pair classical design theories and design thinking with computational design to find multiple design solutions faster. It will also allow for more innovative, insightful and personalized design as we learn to take advantage of mass computing power, machine learning and the copious amounts of readily available data.
Throughout history, humans have shaped the world with design. And every industry under the sun, from banking to media and everything in between, have begun to realize the power of design, design thinking is starting to be extremely critical component when it comes to shaping business strategies. This however is definitely a two-way street; it is not only the business minded people who are embracing the power of design thinking, we are noticing more and more designers are educating themselves about the business end to further connect data and design.
Business and design have always tried to stay out of each other’s way because more often than not it was able function disjointed. However, recent research indicates that integrating these two approaches allows for a much stronger end product. A business designer therefore takes pioneering, creative, human-centered innovation and pairs it with data to make it successful in the real world. They use strategy and financial modeling to turn their creative idea into a long-term business strategy.
The role of a business designer originated from an innovation-focused design company called IDEO but has since appeared in job listings for companies such as Ford and IBM. This role is not exclusive only for large companies, we’ve noticed its starting to appear more in the startup world job listings as well. In the year 2020, the relationship between design practices and business performance cannot be ignored because there are so many practical examples that illustrate its role as the new “power couple” of the UX world.
Accessibility, rightfully so, is a growing priority for businesses across a wide range of industries. Many are starting to see the need to bridge the gap between UX design (designing experiences for users) and universal design (designing for accessibility and inclusion). A good designer is one who has a good capacity for empathy and wants to create designs that are inclusive of all people. But more often than not, many companies design for the 80% of users who aren’t impaired and thus end up being inaccessible for vast number of people.
There are multiple reasons why inclusive design is important. First, over a billion people have an impairment of some sort and by creating inclusive products, you can grow your market shares and increase your revenue. It also helps protect you against lawsuits. Many countries have laws against discriminating against people with disabilities and that applies to websites as well. For example, recently Beyoncé’s website was involved in a lawsuit because it didn’t comply. We at Efutures also believe increases creativity. in Forrester’s Inclusive Design Imperative, he urges organizations to actually start the design process with the needs of the 20%, because it generates innovative solutions that even those in the 80% margins benefit from. Last but certainly not least, giving everyone the same opportunity in life is the right thing to do.
Traditionally, companies have hired firms to review and modify their sites for accessibility compliance. This process is time consuming, costly, and plagued by a major flaw. Sites that have been modified for accessibility immediately become non-compliant as soon as a new update occurs. However as digital product creators in 2020, we need to promote doing the right thing so that all people have equal rights and opportunities from the begining. If inclusive design is something, you’re not very familiar with, fear not. There are many resources such as 7 Things Every Designer Needs To Know About Accessibility or the book A Web for Everyone you can read. There are also plenty of guidelines available for you including: Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), VOX’s Accessibility Guidelines, Material Designs Guidelines for Accessibility, and Apple’s Accessibility Guidelines.
Today Design and technology cannot coexist without each other; design informs technology and technology in turn inspires design. We are seeing more and more companies deviating from product development cycles beginning with design and ending with development, to where both skills sets collaborate together to unleash the true creative potential. Data Driven UX, the term coined for when data and design are fused together allowing for us to explore the experience around data itself, is all about how to make data easier to work with, how to get more value out of data, and how to enrich our work and lives by exploring the true power of data.
Data Driven UX is proof that it is the future of UX design because when integrated properly it is able to elevate strategy, increase employee impact and increase market shares. This notion is further illustrated by the recent McKinsey report which calls for a stronger alliance between data and design because when they work as a whole, it’s a much greater outcome that the sum of its parts.
In order to do this properly, in the year 2020 you have let go of an island mentality which inherently resides in design teams and instead work as one integrated team with strategy from the start. Often a designer’s kryptonite is development and sometimes we design things that are impossible to implement within a specific timeline or a budget. Therefore, we recommend not to exclude your developers until it’s time to develop design concepts, instead get them involved at the onset of every project. A developer’s insight is actually crucial knowledge for the success of any UX project. Their perspective can also help uncover new feasible ideas and point out very early on if the idea can be implemented as envisioned.
Designs teams are getting bigger as more business devote more attention and resources to design. With the help of 17,000 design professionals, the latest global design survey released by Dribbble, paints a pretty accurate picture regarding the state of design in general: As design teams grow, the demand for specialized designers also increase. Some insurance and finance companies have design teams comprised of 150 designers or more. Companies like Google and IBM have more than 2000 designers on their teams. These growing numbers indicate a need for more specialized UX professionals.
Not too long ago, “webmasters” were responsible for everything from back-end development to front-end development to design and testing. Now however each of these responsibilities are handled by people who have studied and specialized their craft in order to keep up with the maturing industry. To work without separating user research, design and development into distinct specialties, companies are on the lookout for UX professionals who bring a new, focused talent to the product development experience. Especially because as UX evolves and new kinds of interactions emerges, the broad UX designer title is dissolving and morphing into roles with specializations as such UX writers, Voice designers and Usability Analysts. These kinds of roles are not only on job descriptions for large companies, but we are noticing a huge spark of UX specialist job roles in the world of startups as well.
As well look back at the last few years and into our future, it’s hard to ignore how fast modern technology has changed the field of UX design. UX designers are quickly learning that in order to avoid being replaceable or redundant, you have to adapt and learn new skills in a rather short amount of time. Of course, here at Efutures we look at this as a huge opportunity for designers who are get on board with specialized UX professionals to lead the way into the future.
To conclude, 2020 will be all about attaining new knowledge and skills as designers as well as business leaders. Designers have to make the conscious decision to include all of their users and seeking greater cooperation and collaboration across all areas. As we launch into the year 2020, the UX landscape will continue to change and evolve, but the lesson for our fellow innovators and creative thinkers is this: Instead of fearing failure, embrace it. One of the benefits of purposeful failure is a gain in resourcefulness.