The state of affairs in the world of UX
Technology is a constantly evolving field and with it scores of brands that found themselves forced to do everything to keep up with the flurry of changing trends. The seemingly endless possibilities offered by the internet just went on to bolster successive evolutions in technology.
With the introduction of technologies like virtual assistants and motion sensors into our daily lives we are now able to automate daily tasks like playing our favorite songs or even switching on/off lights. If that wasn’t enough, in steps the marvelous technology that is facial recognition so users can unlock a locked device/mobile phone without typing the otherwise customary code or pin.
Of course, it just keeps getting better from thereon. For, would the ‘exploitation’ of technology be really complete without location-based augmented reality (Geo AR), which literally is GPS on steroids? So, now what we have are tools like Google Maps Live that you can access simply over the web without the need to install any app. Fascinating, isn’t it?
Where do all these come in UX? Simply put, UX design is about improving user experience across maximum areas of human lives and each of these technologies we mentioned are manifestations of that continuous endeavor, opening the doors to further possibilities that are being explored even as we speak.
UI/UX design is a crucial component of product success. It's no longer just about making an aesthetically pleasing look for your customers to enjoy, it’s also necessary in order to ensure that users can find what they are looking for easily and quickly.
The role of UI/UX designers
Don’t even think for a second that UX designers (the real heroes in this story) are forgotten amidst this explosion of technologies. They may be working behind the curtains, seemingly like mere shadows, but their efforts are definitely lauded and looked forward to.
Perhaps the most apparent development in UX design is that users can now build expectations on how a device or system will/should behave. This puts the onus on designers to create a meeting ground for user expectations and their own visualizations of what they believe to be products that the users would love.
As such, the usability heuristics pretty much remains constant, requiring them to pour over multiple iterations and usability testings to finally arrive at the perfect design.
UI design is a dynamic field of study with new trends constantly emerging to keep designers on their toes. However, over time there would come a period when too many design agencies would adopt the same idea at once making it more of a cliche than a novelty, which clearly isn't going to help any client who wants something fresh.
In order not to get stuck in this sticky situation we need to sample what's coming out now so as not to have our work stalled before it's even released. Meanwhile, design firms could also take advantage of these trends to leverage their own brand identity in a sea of such firms vying for acceptance or recognition.
With the browsing habits of users showing an ever-growing appetite for websites that can feed them with their daily dose of information, it provides designers with the unique opportunity to create innovative products that can turn heads.
UX designers are in high demand these days. Designing an attractive, user-friendly interface that removes user pain points and gives design agencies a fair advantage over competitors has never been more important than it is now with all the new technologies out there.
Unlocking newer opportunities
The emergence of new technologies, besides unlocking bigger opportunities, also throws trials in their path. Innovators are always exploring new ways to make their business more competitive, all the while assessing associated risks, including data privacy concerns or ethical questions about how they could impact our future workplace culture (or even just life).
This means these advancements also require adapting our skillsets so we're able to stay relevant as technology evolves around us. In order for the design process to go as smoothly as possible, there’s a need for design standards and best practices so everyone can start making use of these amazing tools.
The future is yet unwritten, but businesses are clearly in a favorable position to make a positive brand impression, given the outpouring of design ideas from all sides. Whether it is through technological evolution or innovation, or the combination of both, it’s time to be bold and to deploy newer tech whenever possible.
The top UX tech trends to look out for in 2022
In 2022, UI/UX design will be an even more important skill than it is now. It's never been a better time to invest in UX design. With technology rapidly changing, businesses need cutting-edge tools that can keep up with their evergreen needs and help them thrive as trends shift from year to year.
Good thing is, the future of UI/UX design is now more accessible, faster and immersive. These UX technologies have already been integrated into many businesses across all industries to improve customer experience as well as employee efficiency in work processes like project management or marketing strategies formulation.
The following are some of the major trends that businesses should consider when integrating these new technologies into their programs. Take an objective look at these tech ideas, and you might be pleasantly surprised by some of the new developments coming down the pipeline. Read on to explore more.
1. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
In the past, designers had to rely heavily on their imagination when creating graphics for print or digital projects. With the help of artificial intelligence (AI) they are now able to use powerful machine learning techniques that can create high quality designs with just a few strokes of the brush.
AI technology is revolutionizing not just how we communicate with one another, but more importantly with machines, and it's only getting more advanced. For example, recent advances in natural language processing (NLP) have led to more user-friendliness where machines can understand what you want them to without always having humans make decisions for your next move.
This automated decision making process, based on predictions of probable decisions, is the future of human-machine interactions in user experience that can be better explained by the principle that is known as anticipatory design.
As NLP gets better at interpreting user input (thanks largely from progress made by humans themselves), conversations between machines become increasingly seamless, letting these technologies do their thing while saving time by eliminating several steps from the workflow. The use cases here cover all kinds of generalized text analysis such as sentiment analysis or topic modeling alongside specific industries like banking and finance.
2. Augmented Reality
The future of UX design are intuitive and immersive interfaces that actually make the user feel like they are in a real world. Augmented reality (AR) has proved to be an effective way for designers to do just this.
These days, it isn't just about what you see on a screen, instead there’s a growing focus on authentic and natural interaction with objects around us. Interactions are more engaging when they are relatable to the real world and there’s a lot of development happening around that right now.
AR has steadily become one of the biggest trends in design technology right now and it's set to grow even further. It's an emerging field that uses computer-generated imagery and audio to make our actual lives more exciting by creating modified worlds around us.
Most notable among them are face filter apps like FaceApp and Snapchat - basically mobile apps and wearables that superimpose immersive graphics or animation out of anything you view on your device’s screen. Of course, who could forget Pokemon Go, the 2016 AR mobile game that had people doing some really weird stuff?
What kicked off as a kid’s game fast escalated to a full-scale AR madness of epic levels, with reports of people going crazy with catching Pokemon characters in the weirdest of places at the weirdest of times. Here’s an example of a UK man catching Pidget while his wife was about to give birth.
AR, however, is not just fun and excitement. There are mobile apps and wearable devices that have been developed to enhance education and learning at various levels. Leading companies like Unilever and Boeing have taken advantage of AR headsets and smart glasses in improving their industrial operations and problem solving to give a sharp boost to their revenue growth.
AR is clearly the future of technology as newer players are diving in to do their part in improving human lives through innovative ideas. Here’s a list of some of the most popular AR apps for your mobile devices.
Micro-interactions are the little things that make life better. You know, those events or moments when you're just going about your business as usual, and then BAM! There's a micro-interaction to delight us in some way: from getting an alert on Facebook to seeing our favorite football team score a touchdown.
It could be anything really but these single tasks done well can have such big impact on how excited people can get while using popular apps like Instagram or Facebook. Micro-interactions are a little bit of magic that you can find all over your device and within apps. They are designed to delight users in a way that is both engaging and human.
The best experiences come from products that allow users to be their own bosses. A fun, interactive experience means more than just being usable - it means giving users a sense of empowerment in a highly engaging manner.
Micro-interactions are irreplaceable because of how they contribute immensely towards better UX by announcing system status and error prevention confirmation actions (undo accidental touches), all of which start with a trigger that is initiated by a user of the device system itself.
And, just in case you’re looking for ideas to build an app or a website that’s high on micro-interactions, here are some of the most creative websites to inspire you into action.
4. Voice User Interface (VUI)
Voice user interfaces (VUI) have been shown as an effective technology in replacing the voiceless interaction between humans and machines with voice interaction. If you stop taking technology for granted for just a moment and think about it deeply, VUI technology is a momentous development in UX design.
After all, voice interaction with a device was just the stuff of fantasy and fiction that we’d watch in movies like Star Wars or read in Marvel and DC comic books. So, now when we can actually communicate with machines, even if to ask it to play some song or ask for directions, it’s still a work of wonder.
And the best part of it all, it’s another step towards better user experience since your tired eyes can now take a breather from that extended screen time you had to deal with. Some of the most popular virtual voice assistants like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana are glowing examples of how far VUI has come in the human quest for excellence.
Ready or not, the future of the technology is here and it's called Voice User Interfaces. VUIs allow you to control devices with just your voice, hands-free! The most well known examples being Siri from Apple or Alexa from Amazon Echo which can be activated by saying "Alexa." Not only do these intelligent assistants work on our homes but also some cars as smart devices are taking over market share too including Google HomePod launched last year along side other rival brands such as Ford SYNCHRONICITY OS5 in 2020 (announced at CES) designed specificallyfor users who want more than just entertainment while they drive around town
5. Touchless Gesture Recognition
Anyone who remembers the famous scene from 2002’s Minority Report in which Tom Cruise pans across an intangible, floating high-res computer screen, controlling the 3D information with mere hand gestures, would surely give a big ‘yay’ for this one.
Gesture recognition is a partnership of computer science and language technology that is behind the interpretation of human gestures. This field revolves around algorithms that can recognize any bodily motion or state from a person's face, hands or body in general to make an action on their behalf (such as waving hello), wielding the potential to bridge the gap between humans and machines better than traditional GUIs (graphical user interface).
Touchless user interface (TUI) is an innovative technology that grants control over your device without the need for you to touch it. TUI allows you to make gestures and move freely around a screen, all the while not touching the device so you have more ease of use as compared to traditional input methods like keyboards & mice.
Variably referred to as natural user interface (NUI) and rightfully so, it affirms the intuitive theory that humans shouldn’t need more tools than what they are naturally bestowed with to initiate an action - in this case, their hands and voices. It’s therefore the most innate form of interface that would not require any training or getting used to.
Now, club TUI and gesture recognition, and what you have is the future of interaction design that is known as touchless gesture recognition. The design of this interface makes it easy and intuitive for the user. They don't need to learn how to use it because everything just looks like what you would expect.
Technically speaking, contactless technology already exists as we have seen in public restrooms where faucets give out water and soap dispensers flush out liquid soap/foam when you hover your hand in front of the motion sensor. But, taking this technology to mainstream life, such as helping educators teach in universities, surgeons using it during surgeries and navigating cars through traffic, would take a lot more R&D before fruition.
The introduction of gesture recognition in the last few years has been a big breakthrough for product design and allows designers to create new solutions that were never possible before. BMW’s gesture control feature in a select range of its cars, which allows drivers iDrive control through a 3D camera, is a glaring example of such solutions, more of which we expect in the future.
As opposed to other technologies, this one will take a while before it becomes more common, but it’s definitely happening and we’ll be here to witness that historic moment. Meanwhile, here’s a quick read on the affects of gesture on UX for you to ponder on.
What’s in store for the future
UX designers evidently hold the key to ushering in a brighter future for humanity, provided they are tuned into the present state of society and the need of the hour. The more time spent learning about these issues now as opposed to later will help them serve those around them by understanding their needs first-hand through research-backed designs rather than putting consumerism before everything else.
With so much going on in the world and within our society, it's easy to feel like we're tuning out. But if you want your voice, or that of any design ethicist for that matter, to be heard then there are certain qualities UX designers desperately need -- empathy, knowledge, creativity and most importantly critical thinking skills.
Of course, there’s a whole lot of other UX design technologies out there right now, some still in their nascent stages but with great promise. But, we believe these five have made groundbreaking developments through continuous improvements and will have long lasting effects in the lives of human beings.
By following the latest trends in user experience design, organizations have the unique opportunity to make their apps, websites and devices more appealing to their target audience. This not only boosts a company's brand image but also takes their conversion rates higher.
Of course, the trick lies in tiptoeing the line between following a fad and giving their consumers good user experience through enhanced user control and freedom. At 0707 Inc, our design approach has consistently been one based on empathy, which is why we give precedence to users than mere fashion and consumerism.
If you have a design idea that you’d like to discuss, we’d be more than happy to help you bring it to life. Just drop a line and we’ll respond at the earliest.