UX Predictions for 2016 from yours truly and 6 UX gurus
UX Predictions again? Didn’t we just do this?
Yes, believe it or not a whole year has gone by since the last time we prognosticated on the elusive to see future. And sure enough, it’s that time of year again. Time for the annual UX Predictions from yours truly and from a host of UX gurus. Learn what we think the future has in store for UX and usability.
And importantly, if you agree or disagree or think we missed something be sure to leave YOUR predictions in the comments at the bottom of this article! Enjoy!
Craig’s UX Predictions for 2016:
- Further expansion of Central/Eastern Europe UX Entrepreneurs. Lots of coding is outsourced there already and this will increase in 2016. Well attended gatherings like MOBX, World Usability Congress and others are already a sign this is happening and will continue to gain steam.
- In-App mobile usability testing will become the norm. Many vendors are already offering it, and DIY models exist (such as lookback.io). As engagement continues to increase on mobile versus desktop devices, UX research of mobile will become the norm.
- Assimilation of UX expertise in Product teams will increase. Hiring for UX designers and researchers in large and mid sized firms has been on the increase. More and more businesses understand that including UX as part of an agile approach to product development and product optimization are key.
- New UX vendors will be entering the market in increasing numbers, as the cost to develop new online UX research apps and the ability to generate growth and scale number of users increases. Consider some of the more recent entries like UserBob, UserBrain, UXCam, UXGofer, UserSnap and plenty more. In my opinion, this is just the beginning of a much larger wave of customized UX research solutions coming soon to a mobile device or desktop (or wearable!) near you.
- Investors will get wise to this expanding UX research tools marketplace and will increase their activity in existing and new UX tools and services. The recent announcement of the UserZoom $34M round of funding is an example that savvy investors see UX tools as a viable business. I’m also betting that M&A activity will slightly increase as the market matures, although M&A may pick up speed in future years once maturity in this space kicks in.
UX Predictions for 2016 from 6 UX Gurus –
“I think that UX will continue to expand and mature in Latin America.
The same growth pattern that we saw across Asia about 10 years ago is happening again in places like Ecuador, Mexico, and Argentina.
UX has already caught on pretty strongly in Brazil and Venezuela, but it’s now expanding to other countries in South and Central America.
The local presence of UXPA and IxDA chapters, some great regional conferences, and an issue of UX Magazine published entirely in Spanish are all signs of this trend.”
“A prediction or perhaps more of a wish, that business will continue to see the importance of sustainable ways of making and this will translate to this idea that time is a valuable resource as are resources in general.
This means that there will be greater care taken on why people and teams are working on products and services to begin with before we decide to inject monies into these ideas or to allocate budgets for the sake of winning budgets the next year or how reward systems need to be readjusted to move away from simply a deliverables mindset.
So perhaps this implies that business will need to get better at understanding the people they design for and to find creative and continuous ways, in the spirit of continuous learning, to get to that deeper understanding of people over time that help uncover assumptions, bias, motivations, behaviors and habits.
This is not about quantified self or machine generated analytics alone. A component of this will be examining how teams work together and the necessary skills to make teams work well as part of answering more questions to help determine value and focus on more of the right things that move us away from consumer mindsets and more to quality of life.So, how do we continue to promote the idea of “being human” and encouraging empathic enquiry.”
“As User Experience becomes more and more recognized as a relevant performance metric by the upper management, design professionals gain influence over strategic business decisions.
This creates the opportunity for HCD experts to leapfrog project managers on corporate ladders and become involved in the core process of marketing and innovation, which of course is: understanding user needs.
The ability to deeply understand problems customers face on a daily basis will push the practice of conceptualizing unmet market needs from an idea-based approach to a problem-based approach.”
“My big prediction for UX in 2016 is that there will be a move to decentralize the role of the user researcher. I mean to say, while this role will still exist, it will no longer be the only person who interacts with usability testing data and interprets it, they will be a manager who weighs team insights against the UX roadmap.
This will be because of the realization that studying the behavior of your target demographic user on your product does a lot more than help you optimize your user experience. As Dan correctly pointed out, It gives you a window into the proclivities, motivations, biases and desires of your economic buyer.
With the very same usability testing data, a product manager can think up new features for the product, a developer can re-create a certain product bug or notice and rectify inefficient code, a designer can notice and fix pain points.
More importantly, the impact of this data will be relevant to people outside of product. It will be relevant to the VP of Sales, as a convoluted/unusable sales or e-commerce flow will tell him what UX changes can potentially increase his bottom line. Advertisers will make sure that Ads augment, not detract, from the user experience (Facebook’s mobile app install ads are an example of this already happening).
Basically UX will be relevant to a whole team and won’t be viewed as a product only concern.”
“A/B testing will be influenced more by user testing:
Websites with a lot of traffic can finish A/B tests in a week. So their biggest limiting factor is identifying — and designing — new variations that will crush the control. Usability testing is one of the best ways to identify the biggest problems on your site (or mobile app). Once you’ve gained that insight, your new variation can fix that problem.
Imagine that you decide to start a restaurant. The good news: 100 people come to your restaurant every day. The bad news: only 3 of them stay and eat. 97 of them walk in, look around, look at the menu, and leave. What would you do? After a few days of this, you’d probably ask some of those who are walking out the door: “Hey, why are you leaving?” And maybe you’d hear similar themes, such as “You don’t have a gluten-free dish.” And, based on what they said, you’d work on fixing that.
Now imagine that you start a website. If your website is like the average ecommerce website, only 3% of the people that come to your website buy anything. But how do you find out why the other 97% are leaving? It’s harder. You can’t grab them and ask, “Hey, why are you leaving?”
But user testing lets you do that. You can intercept actual visitors who are live on your site and you can see and hear them explain where they’re frustrated and why they’d leave your site. Now that you’ve identified a major problem, you can design a variation to fix that problem, and then you can A/B test it to validate that the fix worked.”
“1. The hamburger won’t go away anytime soon.
There has been a lot of research suggesting that the hamburger menu is unintuitive and confusing, such as in this article and this one. There has even been one article that explained Why It’s Totally Okay to Use a Hamburger Icon. None of this research is conclusive, so I don’t expect this issue to go away anytime soon. What I expect to see is a greater proliferation and acceptance of the hamburger menu across both mobile sites and also desktop sites as people become more and more used to seeing it.
2. Growth of customer experience as a business strategy
Business strategy and customer experience haven’t always been on the same page. In fact, until fairly recently, they weren’t even in the same room. But things are changing. Strategy as a design discipline has taken its rightful place alongside senior executives, making good customer experience a strategic business advantage. While, in some ways, aspects of this trend have been around for many years now, the culmination of (senior) hiring, influence, decision making, acquisitions, market positioning, process adoption, and other fundamental indicators of the importance of CX to a company’s business model and strategy have never been higher. It is a great a time to be in CX.
3. UX testing budgets surge
Budgets to test interfaces and experiences will continue to grow as companies try to provide one customer experience across multiple screens and devices.”
Conclusion: UX Predictions for 2016 from yours truly and 6 UX gurus
So that’s the list of UX Predictions for 2016 from my and six UX gurus. What do you think? Do you agree, disagree or think something important is missing?
Make sure you leave YOUR predictions in the comments!
PS – Here’s last year’s predictions, so what do you think, how’d we do?
Photo via Flickr Creative Commons license courtesy @kevinv033