7 More Controversial Usability and UX Predictions for 2015


7 more controversial usability and UX predictions for 2015, including predictions from usability and UX gurus Rich Gunther, Jan Jursa and Daniel Szuc

Usability-UX-Predictions-2015-UsefulUsability-326x235My very first set of usability predictions was originally posted 5 years ago. So how did I do? And what are my more even controversial predictions for 2015?

Me and my UX guru friends Rich Gunther, Jan Jursa and Dan Szuc will provide our predictions for 2015. Will you agree or disagree with them?

Five years ago I posted my 7 Controversial Usability Predictions for 2010 article. It’s been a while, but I feel it is once again time to go out on a limb and make 7 more controversial usability and UX predictions.

And for those keeping score, my next blog post will have my self assessment on how I did with my last set of controversial predictions.

So dear reader, grab a hot chocolate (or beer, wine, or whatever drink makes the most sense at this time) and curl up around your computer screen. Below are my 7 controversial Usability and UX predictions for 2015.

Bonus! Predictions from Rich Gunther, Jan Jursa and Daniel Szuc

And partly because I like adding bonuses for you, but mostly because I’m not as smart UX-wise as these experts, I’m adding several Usability and UX experts 2015 predictions, including:

Rich Gunther UX Predictions for 2015

Rich-Gunther-Photo-New-from-UsefulUsabilityRich is the former President of the User Experience Professional’s Association and Principal of Ovo Studios, The Usability Team, and Principal Interaction Designer for Oracle.

“I’m not a fortune-teller, but I saw two interesting things happen in UX in 2014, and I wonder if that’s going to continue.

First, here in the US, CapitalOne bought Adaptive Path.  Capital One is just one of a number of financial services companies who have built extensive customer research facilities in the last year.  Presumably their in-house workload didn’t increase that exponentially, which begs the question of whether we are about to see the dawn of the UX Super-Consultancy.

More fuel for the fire, and my second thing from 2014: PriceWaterhouseCoopers purchased Optimal Usability in New Zealand, a decidedly more regional firm, but still with some clout and reputation in the industry.

Click here to view latest job postings

So why are traditionally “financial services” businesses all of a sudden buying UX consultancies?  My guess is that UX is beginning to reach a level of awareness and maturity that these companies are seeing the same opportunities in it that they saw in say, ERP integration in the late 90’s and early 2000’s.  I think it’s a good sign that so far they are buying best-of-breed companies, so hopefully that will translate to no loss of quality.  My fear is that they could, over time, begin to commoditize UX work, which would be bad for the industry as a whole.”

Thanks for sharing Rich!

Jan Jursa UX Predictions for 2015

Jan-Jursa-Photo-150x175Jan is a highly active IA and UX leader and among other things is co-founder of the German IA Summit, MOBX Conference, MEDLove Summit and Editor in Chief of UX Stories. He tweets voraciously at @IATV.

“In the past years a new Design maven appeared on the scene: Google. The advertising business has always used creative ways to communicate its point (or sex for those not design-savvy). As a byproduct of Google’s attempt to generate more profit, we (aka the-ux-community) received new tools from Google to help us create and design beautiful and usable products (Lollipop and Material Design, Google Web Designer or the Polymer Project to name just a few). Google will continue to travel on the design highway in 2015. And once on the fast lane, we will see Google shifting gears and pushing the pedal to the metal (punishing bad design or bad usability in search rankings for example).”

Thanks Jan!

Daniel Szuc UX Predictions for 2015

Daniel-Szuc-Photo-171x200-from-UsefulUsabilityDan is the co-founder of Apogee, a top-notch design and UX firm in Asia. He’s a co-author of the book Global UX and was founder of the UXPA China Hong Kong branch. He’s a frequent speaker, lecturer and expert on usability, UX, CX and how they interrelate with businesses.

1) The term, language, tools and practice of design will both fascinate and confuse business at the same time. Other cross over terms like UX, CX, service design, design thinking etc will also confuse the market place so business will need practitioners to make sense of this for them.

2) Project teams will continue to be measured on speed, meeting project dates and deliverables but not on meaningful impact on its customers. We will continue to make more crap than quality.

3) Business will continue to be distanced from customer understanding but there will be some signs of openness at new tools to learn about customer’s basic needs and deeper motivations (including storytelling)

4) Continued interest will increase in how to create UX/CX programs but UX/CX programs will face ongoing challenges in business until legacies that work against integrated and holistic ways of working are removed on brick at a time.

5) Digital will replace IT but suffer from the same separation as IT until silos can be broken down and redesigned one team at a time.

Thank you Dan for your very interesting predictions!

Thanks Rich, Jan and Dan!

It’s great hearing from experts, and only time will tell how accurate they are, but I’m betting they will be pretty accurate.

So now without further ado dear reader here are my…

7 More Controversial Usability and UX Predictions for 2015:

  1. Usability, UX and Entrepreneurs providing these services will rapidly expand in Central and Eastern Europe. I’ve seen tremendous interest and growth in usability and UX in Central and Eastern European countries, and I believe this will evolve into many new entrepreneurs in these countries creating new and exciting businesses focused on usability and UX.
  2. Conducting usability testing on mobile devices will become a mainstay of testing methodology. Most websites I test these days are experiencing at or near 50% access from mobile devices. As more users engage with businesses using their mobile devices, the need for businesses to test and optimize the mobile user experience will require increasing amounts of mobile usability testing.
  3. In-App usability testing tools will become more available. There are currently a limited number of mobile usability testing tools available that record a mobile session, including recording the face and voice of the tester along with the mobile screen interaction. But I believe there is lots of room for growth in this area and that we will see increasing numbers of in-app mobile usability testing platforms that capture and playback the entire user experience. Gone will be the days of testers using their cell phone on a table with a webcam hovering ungainly over the phone.
  4. Certification Will Continue to Elude our Industry. The UXPA’s continual failure over the past years to initiate formal Certification of Usability and UX is in my opinion a big disappointment in an otherwise exemplary organization. Yes, I’m aware that nature abhors a vacuum and so HFI offers Usability Certification (I am a proud CUA), including a newer UX Certification track, as does Nielsen Norman Group with their UX Certification. But in my opinion an Industry-wide Association like the UXPA needs to step up and make this happen in the U.S. How come the person who cuts your hair has to be certified and licensed, but the person conducting a usability overhaul of a major public website with millions of visits per year that can impact hundreds of thousands of people does not? Seems odd to me. Does it not seem odd to you?
  5. Large enterprises will Grok usability and UX and seek to add it to their skill set in increasing numbers. Ok, this one is admittedly taken from recent headlines I tweeted about in which Capital One acquired the top UX design firm Adaptive Path. But the reality is that in the past I’ve worked at great-big companies that were pretty much clueless about usability and UX, and those very same great big companies are now very busy building their internal or outsourced teams of UX experts. Seems more and more business executives are getting the message that UX IS their business.

    I expect more large firms will follow Capital One’s footsteps.

  6. Hackers will not quit with trying to kill just ‘The Interview.’ The news about hackers successfully getting Sony Pictures to temporarily stop release of the movie ‘The Interview’ and recent news about Google agreeing to stream The Interview are tops in headlines right now. At issue is the threat to a business from hackers, and a business deciding whether to deal with hackers, or acquiesce to their demands. We all face this threat. Every day this very website is attacked by hackers trying to gain illegal access to my WordPress files. Hackers routinely steal sensitive data from companies. It’s a safe bet that hacking is only going to increase in the coming year. Being aware of how to strengthen websites and applications, and the usability issues around those affordances, will be paramount in the coming year.
  7. Wearables will increase in prominence. Apple watches, Google Glass, Nike Fit bands and other objects are just the beginning. As wearables become more tech fashionable, fashions will become more tech wearables. Ralph Lauren is taking the lead with a true wearable, a smart shirt, known as the Polo Tech Shirt. It’s a shirt with built-in sensors in the fabric that feed real-time biometric data directly from your body to your smartphone or tablet. And this is just the beginning, more tech clothing will become prominent in 2015. Usability and UX practitioners will be testing and designing on a whole new level, the wearable level!

Conclusion: 7 more controversial usability and ux predictions for 2015

OK, so those are my 7 more controversial usability and UX predictions for 2015, along with Rich Gunther’s and Jan Jursa.

How do you think we did? Would you add to that? Be sure to add your thoughts in the comments.

And, be sure to check back here next year to see how we, and you, did!


  1. A recent tweet from @aarcouteil (http://twitter.com/aarcouteil) said: “Certification Will Continue to Elude our Industry”… Certification for UX sounds so bureaucratic !”

    I think actually the opposite is true. A Certification from HFI or NNG is hardly bureaucratic, rather, it’s a sign of someone who takes their profession seriously, and wants to learn about it, and apply those learnings in a professional manner.

    My recommendation is not that the UXPA make certification mandatory, rather that they offer it as an option. An option which represents a true mark of someone who’s really interested in learning how to apply usability and UX in the right way.

    This certification would separate the wanna-be, get-rich-quick con-artists hanging their shingle as a ‘ux expert’ from those who truly want to practice the art and science of UX and Usability.

    Why do I believe that’s necessary? Because as a website owner, every day I receive dozens of spam messages, many of them about either SEO or some sort of UX or Usability audit. These are from companies with no website, no business address, and sometimes not even a valid return email address. What I’m saying is that anyone, anyone can set themselves up as a UX expert. Why not enable those that really do care about UX to demonstrate their knowledge, abilities and professionalism via a Certification?

    Finally, I’m hearing that there are other UX organizations in other countries who are actively pursuing Certification courses. If they can do it, why can’t the good ‘ol U.S.A?

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