UX design is more important than ever. Technology keeps evolving rapidly, making it more challenging for businesses to keep up with trends and utilize technology that grows with their business. Investing in UX design early helps businesses stay on top of the next wave of the technological revolution.
The future of UX may hold artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, and world-building projects. As adoption increases, UX design will be necessary to make these technologies approachable and easy to use.
Where Is UX Now?
The term “user experience” was coined in the early 1990s by Don Norman. According to the Nielsen Norman Group, the number of UXers has increased from 1,000 to 1 million since the 1980s. By 2050, the number is expected to grow to 100 million.
This is due to three primary factors:
- The PC revolution
- The web revolution
- Press coverage
In the past, the people who purchased computers weren’t the ones using them. Then, the personal computer came out, giving the general public the option to use a computer on their own. The usability of these products was important for getting sales and increasing adoption.
In the 1990s and early 2000s, the web revolution began and changed the way consumers purchased products. Consumers had to use a company’s site to get to the product and pay for it, and user experience became an important factor in making the sale. Companies began investing in their online presence.
The height of UX happened in the past decade. Companies began to understand the importance of designing an ideal user experience for their website, and the buzz grew. Startup founders, executives, and leaders all saw the value of UX and started to prioritize it for their company’s technology platforms.
Here are the upcoming trends in the future of UX design:
UX for VR/AR
Companies like Target, IKEA, and Home Depot are leveraging augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) to facilitate remote shopping experiences and create simulated environments that consumers want to interact with. This is especially prominent with eCommerce platforms, which help the buyer decide if the product will fit in their intended physical space.
VR and AR are developing fields. UX designers must understand these technologies and the target audience to design the best applications and bring them to clients. They must also understand the limitations of the platforms, such as camera resolution and screen size.
UX for AI
Artificial intelligence and UX design are strongly intermingled. While AI has the ability to analyze huge amounts of data to offer real-time insights and create prototypes, it lacks the human decision-making element that’s necessary to some challenges humans face.
Together, these two elements can create impactful, innovative products that can better serve customers. Designers can determine what problems need to be solved, and how, by applying empathy to the situation.
Human-centered design isn’t about an experience that’s tailored to one person and their individual needs. It’s designed with the user in mind with context for a community or social group. Putting the focus on the human experience allows UX design to come up with better solutions. Moving forward, UX design will likely include both systems design and human design.
UX for Motion Design and Gestural Interfaces
A useful website or app that solves a problem isn’t the be all, end all anymore. Users are expecting more from the websites they visit and apps they download, including an easy, engaging, and visually stimulating experience. Motion design is an important part of that, and UX designers are tasked with including ways to cultivate smooth and seamless experiences. This ensures that the user keeps coming back and forms a connection to the brand.
On top of that, users are relying more and more on mobile devices. They want access to the same things on a smartphone or tablet as a computer, but that has to happen on a much smaller screen with lower functionality.
With this in mind, gestures like pinching, tapping, swiping, and tilting a screen are key. Designing intuitive gestural interfaces allow for a seamless experience that doesn’t overwhelm the user.
UX for Voice Commands
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, voice commands and no-contact interfaces are becoming the norm. The public is concerned with health and safety, and more designers are creating technology solutions and experiences that rely on no-contact commands over touch.
While products today increasingly have modern features like voice command, websites having voice command en masse may be a feature of the future. One example of this is voice search and commands.
The challenge for UX design is to find ways to combine visual design and voice commands in a way that’s straightforward, relevant, and frictionless for the user. UX designers will need mastery of voice user interface design and elements like animations and confirmations.
UX for Zero UI Features
Along with futuristic technologies like VR, zero UI features and 3D interfaces will be important for enhancing AR and VR experiences. Zero UI is interaction without a screen, but with voice and gesture recognition features. Products and applications that use these technologies will need sophisticated voice and gesture-recognition features to allow users to control and interact with them instead of clicking, typing, and tapping.
It’s possible that this technology will advance to the point of getting a response through more subtle gestures, such as glances. In the future, we may have the ability to control technology with our thoughts and feelings. For an example on how this can work well anticipating user’s future needs regarding websites and apps, Dominos has a feature that can place an order for you within seconds of opening the app based on prior settings and customization, in this case, the screen becomes closer to being obsolete.
Particularly regarding these growing trends, we can expect to see more specialization in UX design to address the needs of websites and apps moving forward.
This is already true of UX design to an extent. Companies are seeking UX/UI specialists, UX researchers, interaction designs, product designers, and voice UI specialists. The future will favor master skill sets, rather than a broad range of UX design skills, particularly in these growing areas.
UX design is a necessary discipline in our increasingly technology-driven world, especially for businesses, and a key component of the new technologies that are becoming commonplace in everyday life. We may see these trends replaced with other technologies or evolved to different ends, but one thing is clear – there will be a growing need for talented UX designers today and in the future.