User experience is a dynamic field at the crossroads of tech, design and human psychology. The way we practice it is defined by how society and technology evolve. Every new tech trend has implications for UX designs but which ones are to stay? Which ones should you focus on and study? In this article, we overview 6 of them, wondering how they affect UX professionals and what you can do to take advantage of them in your designs.
Inclusive and accessible design
Making a design inclusive and accessible is a priority for most designers, and yet we are still far from the truly inclusive digital space we strive for.
This is because making a product relevant and accessible to EVERYONE is very hard.
A first step you can take towards these milestones is wondering: how can you measure your advancement? If we study representativeness and inclusivity, here are two KPIs you can use to measure them.
Representativeness: Compare your users’ segmentation vs your target market’s segmentation (gender, disabilities, ethnicity or any other you study). For example, if you measure that your customer database contains 36% of women while your target market has 45% of women, you can identify that you still have work to do in making your product more inclusive for all genders. You can then track your progress by following this KPI.
Inclusivity NPS: Ask your users “Do you see yourself in this product?” and then segment your answers by minority/population. This will allow you to define if some populations feel less represented by your product than others. From this data, you can then prioritize your work towards inclusivity.
These metrics require your organization to have enough data available about your users for segmentation and comparison.
Many UX professionals complain about how hard it is to conduct research effectively and on a regular basis. Passive feedback is generated by users from their own initiative and tapping into it goes in hand with active UX research methods.
While passive feedback is generated directly by users, there are ways you can increase the amount you receive as well as its value and relevance. The ROI of these actions is very high because these small actions will create an automated cycle of incoming feedback in the long run.
Where can you find existing passive feedback?
- Customer support inbox
- Website Chatbot
- Social media
- Third-party review websites
How can you create more passive feedback?
- Adding feedback widgets on your website/product (Marker, EmbedSocial, Hotjar…)
- Adding links to surveys in the footer of all your transactional emails
How to use these feedbacks?
You might have to reach out to dedicated teams to access those different channels.
- If there are many sources available, you can map them, ranking them by priority, quality and quantity.
- A second step is to export and process the data: what type of feedback is sent (positive/negative, bugs/accessibility), by what type of users (leads, customers, VIC) etc.
- A third step is to analyze this data and prioritize the insights it brings.
This type of feedback is most valuable for two main purposes:
- Detecting bugs and severe problems that need an immediate solution.
- Passive feedback is a great starting point when working on a new active research project. They give you an outline of what you might find.
- Regular check-ups using dashboards or other automation tools if possible. Gather all stakeholders involved in user experience during regular check-up meeting with automated reports on passive feedback
Voice user interface (VUI)
We are familiar with voice user interfaces through connected objects (Alexa, Google Nest, Siri and Apple Pod). Their development is related to AI and will take years or even decades before their usage is widespread.
Not commonly directly integrated on websites yet, they h a huge potential, for e-commerce and Saas. For now, you might notice these vocal interactions are often commands that mimic a typed search or a button click. They don’t bring extra value yet.
However, voice interactions create new usages:
- they allow user to interact with a product while also performing other tasks with their hands
- they help make your product more accessible to disabled people
Typed searches and spoken searches are very different. Every business must wonder, “how do my clients search for my product through voice requests?” This then helps adapting your SEO and product development strategy:
- search queries have more question and long-tail keywords
- FAQ are very appropriate for search queries and increase the likeliness of a rich snippet
- some technical steps to take: adapting your schema markup and microdata to voice queries
- voice search is done on mobile and thus requires a mobile friendly webiste: responsive, fast loadtime
Gamification consists of using game mechanisms in your non-game product (website, app). It is used to create more engagement.
How can you address the child in all of us? Here are 3 types of gamification serving different purposes:
- Rewards, points, badges and stickers: give your users an extra reason to engage with your product by giving them rewards and appeal to their sense of pride and gratification
- Progress bars: give your users a sense of progression
- Challenges and competitions: create emulation between your users in a friendly way
Make sure to use appropriate frequency and relevancy of gamification in your product to keep the experience fluid and light-weight.
The goal is to avoid avoid falling into addiction inducing dark patterns. This is especially true for dating and gambling apps.
AI generated content
Among others, Dall-E 2 and ChatGPT have been much talked about and debated because they bring massive changes to the way we work (write, design, brainstorm etc).
Here are some of AI tools you can try to let the machines (help you) do the work for you:
- Written content: ChatGPT, copy.ai, Jasper, Copysmith
- Graphic content: Dall-E 2, Midjourney
What does it mean for designers?
We now have access to new tools for ideation and brainstorming. As their development is pretty recent, we (the UX community, and even humanity as a whole) still have to define ways to use them in our work. Some of these are still being tested and their pricing is not yet defined so we cannot yet know their ROI.
There is also a risk of content becoming overly standardized if AI is overused. It is not always clear how these AI learn and whether they will be able to provide fresh, actualized content in the long run. If many professionals use them in their work, it is possible more and more similar contents will be published, creating a cycle that reduces creativity and relevance that is detrimental to all actors in the market.
Overall, it questions the creative process itself and the role of a designer. It might spark debate both in the professional space and between individuals about how we can best use these technologies without harming employment and creativity.
As a designer, you might be reluctant to use such technologies. Consider you need to know your enemy to best fight it, if that’s your approach. We can also hope designers will be able to use AIs to their advantage as part of their toolkit and not as competitors.
A business target is very diverse and creating inclusivity for this diversity while maintaining consistency is a real challenge. One way to tackle this challenge is by creating a personalized experience for your users depending on their data.
Personalization is most common in e-commerce, social media and streaming platforms. Here are some examples:
- Your Netflix/Youtube homepage is curated to your taste to boost your video consumption and retention.
- Music platforms sharing your annual top songs/artists so that you are able to show your singularity to others and advertise their platform at the same time.
- Duolingo offers training that is based on past mistakes you’ve made, to help you learn and improve
In addition to personalization, customization - by letting users making their own choices - is also key : letting users pick their favorite topics, letting them set notification type and frequency, letting them choose their avatars, emojis, colors, fonts etc.
Personalization and customization increase satisfaction and retention by creating an experience that is specifically tailored to users’ need.
These trends show us that the recent field of UX and its different jobs might look completely different in a few years. They encourage us to reassess our role, the purpose of our work to create the future of user experience.
Do you see any other major trends affecting UX research?