What does 2018 hold for UX, and what does this mean for designers? Here are our top five UX trends to look out for this year.
01. The rise of voice-first
Voice well and truly made its mark in 2017, with an estimated 30 million households now owning a voice-first device. Alas, many of these gadgets remain underutilised. The technology is there and we’re willing to buy it, but it doesn’t yet blend into daily life as easily as it should.
In 2018, understanding and designing for voice will be absolutely crucial. By 2022, 55 per cent of all US households will own voice-enabled speakers, so making these as user-friendly as possible will be a priority.
The rise of voice also signals a shift towards 'screenless' design; essentially reducing the number of physical touchpoints between the user and their device. This will give UX designers plenty of room to innovate and experiment, but it’s not without its challenges. The big question in 2018 will be how to make voice-first and screenless design as comfortable for the mainstream as possible.
02. Virtual reality for the masses
But there’s a catch. Virtual reality can only work its way into the mainstream with the help of great UX. This places huge responsibility in the hands of UX designers – not to mention a steep learning curve.
For many design teams, voice-first and VR is uncharted territory. Not only do UX designers need to adopt new approaches; they also need to effectively communicate these to developers. When it comes to navigating this fast-evolving landscape, teamwork is more important than ever.
In particular, designers and developers will need to pull together to make sure this new wave of technologies is ready for mass adoption.
For UXers, this means making sure your skill set is up to the challenge. Communication and agility will be absolutely key... but this has long been true of UX. 2018 will bring with it a greater need to understand the developer’s work. Designers who are comfortable with code will be the driving force behind innovations in UX, and learning frontend development skills may be the key to smoother collaboration.
04. UX reaches the boardroom
The good news for UX designers is that user experience is finally getting the recognition it deserves. An all-too-common UX problem is a lack of internal understanding. Designers want to create the best possible user experience, but aren’t always able to convince management teams of how important this is.