When nearly everything we own is a computer, the idea of what is and where we find UX design expands geometrically.
Add to that connectivity, context sensitivity and data-driven personalization and you have a recipe for what any technology-focused marketer or I.T. department can tell you is potentially budget-breaking complexity.
But as we all know, the first step to maintaining control of scope is creating an inventory and setting priorities.
So here’s a rundown of what we think are the most important technology trends that every UX designer or brand marketer should be thinking about in the coming year.
1. Ubiquitous computing
It’s not simply that computers are almost everywhere, it’s that almost everyone has a computing device with them at all times. And those devices are connected and location aware. UX designers who can tailor experiences by device type, size, location, and context will be able to improve the relevance of the experience they place in front of users.
2. The Internet of Things (IoT)
And regardless of whether or not product manufacturers are addressing, or consumers even care about any of those concerns, IoT is coming in a big way. With these “things” comes alternative methods of interaction, like voice recognition, control and output (e.g. The Amazon Echo), as well as sensor-based automation (e.g. the Nest thermostat).
Increasingly, these things don’t simply connect to the Internet or your mobile device, they connect to each other. They connect to the Web. They connect to data aggregators.
Whether that means something as simple as creating an Amazon Echo-readable data stream for their web sites or utilizing users’ available data streams to personalize a more standard screen-based user experience, this trend will surely complicate the marketing and design landscape in ways none of us has yet imagined.
3. Analytics. Analytics. Analytics.
Historically, we used retrospective analytics (Where did users come from? What did they look at and for how long? How quickly did they leave?) to help optimize UX designs.
But the scale and pervasive nature of analytic data available will make real-time UX customization and personalization a viable option, if not a competitive mandatory.
4. Contextual Responsiveness
Increasingly, our devices “know” where we are, how and if we are moving, what time of day it is, whether we have plane reservations or a meeting coming up. Progressive UX designs should take into account that contextual information and supply the most relevant information (and as important, hide contextually irrelevant information).
Better yet, as Google Now so deftly demonstrates, a great UX would, with a bit of conservative caution, proactively present relevant information to users before they know they need it.
5. The Cloud
Definitely the buzzword of the past few years, Cloud computing has permanently altered the client/server equation on the web. But what does that mean for UX design?
It shifts the priority from maximizing the value of information delivery to maximizing the value of a service delivery.
Performance trumps ornamentation. Think of moving from page-load times to activity-completion times and service reliability metrics.
Whether it’s a smartwatch or the ill-fated Google Glass, we will all either adopt our own flavor of wearable, or, if the industry has its way, have some type of wearable thrust upon us.
And this, more than any other category, will be made or broken by the quality of the UX at both the OS level and the application level. Unprecedented restrictions on scale and complexity will challenge UX designers' ability to maintain a coherent UX and brand experience across platforms.
7. End-to-End Security
Users have historically traded security for convenience.
But increasingly, we should see greater demands from both consumers and service providers for greater security and user authentication across the OS and application stack.
However, consumers have rejected readily available security measures such as PGP encryption because the implementation was deemed too cumbersome. And the current state of certificate management leaves much to be desired from an end user perspective.
The market will be demanding a better, more secure, seamless process in the very near future and UX design will be critical to the ultimate success of this industry-wide endeavor.
No technology is too complicated if you have the right partner.
Since 1985, Magnani Continuum Marketing has made it easier for organizations selling in highly technical and complex markets to deliver the most effective and seamless traditional and digital brand experiences.
We’re more digital than your advertising agency. More strategic than your digital marketing shop. More creative than your management consultants. And a heck of a lot easier to work with than almost all of them. We’ve helped some of the largest corporations in the world, and some of the most exciting new startups. And we’d love to talk with you.