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UX Design Trends For 2018

Flashback — 2017

When it comes to UX, the year 2017 saw quite a bit. The hottest buzzwords last year included smarter personalization, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Virtual Reality (VR). Besides these, there was one term that stood out from the crowd — Digital disruption. After all, it’s next to impossible to reminisce 2017 without thinking about the infamous Bitcoin. The UX trends last year also saw an incredible rise in a minimalistic approach in terms of layouts. Wherever one looked, there were videos that partnered pixel-perfect illustrations. In addition to this, the animations we saw were extremely delightful, as well as functional, and gradients were very popular. Personalization, Gamification, and Conversational interfaces were also all the rage.

With 2017 seeing so much, it’s quite clear that last year was all about technology and interface design alike, and was nothing short of exciting. If you’re looking to know more about these trends, why not check out our blog on UX design trends in 2017?

What’s in store for 2018

Right until last year, people wondered what UX was really about. But while they wondering what it’s truly about, and second-guessing its lifespan, UX was slowly evolving.

With all that said, we can’t be more thrilled to announce that this year gave birth to UX 2.0! It’s brand new and is a better version of yesteryear’s UX. UX 2.0 comes with a number of new trends that can provide a friction-less experience, smarter personalization, and technology such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and voice assistance.

Without further ado, let’s delve into what you can expect from the newest, coolest kid on the block, UX 2.0:

A new partnership: Business and Design

In 2018, UX designers will be required to — and they should — understand more about the business they are designing for. The design field is maturing, and along with it, budgets are getting larger, which is why the design landscape is gradually becoming a lot more competitive, as well as complex. One of the latest UX trends of 2018 involves an accelerated shift from UX design to Product Design. For this very reason, the roles and responsibilities of designers will begin to grow, and the need for designers to understand more about design, as well as business strategy will become inevitable.

Unlike 2017, wherein UX designers struggled with entrepreneurs when it came down to adopting a design-first approach for a digital product. This however, will change this year — in fact, it has already begun to. UX designers have started to wear different hats — not just the design hat; UX design practices of 2018 also includes re-engineering, and not just redesigning. A simple reason lies behind this — UX designers should be improving people’s lives with design, but these designs should also help meet business goals. Trending UX will prompt designers to be more strategic about features, screens, and experiences they create. And so, it’s about time designers accept the fact that they aren’t just artists, but are also business persons — it’s for the best, really.

Designing for new-age consumers

The popular apps of today and real-time social media experiences have made today’s consumers spoilt for choice, and have changed their expectations about how long it should take for products and services to deliver what they’re looking for. This is why, UX designers of 2018 will have to start designing for these consumers, who aren’t exactly the easiest lot to please. Let’s take a look at what these consumers look like:

Today, consumers are making decisions faster than ever, which is why they expect to be able to act on those decisions instantly — no waiting, whatsoever. Moreover, these consumers also expect brands to know what they need, and when they need it.

Thanks to the Internet, consumers have unfettered access to a wealth of information, and users have been taking much-informed decisions based on their research.

When people go online for information, they expect every experience to be tailored just for them. To make sure companies are truly there for their consumers, they must offer more than just customized products. It’s the shift from user experience to product experience.

Telling stories through UI

With customer journeys becoming more and more fragmented, it’s now the responsibility of UX designers to ensure brands are telling a coherent story across all channels. It’s also vital for them to make sure these stories are convincing, interesting, and human. This is why, this year, UX designers have brought written content in the spotlight. 2017 marked the beginning of a new relationship — the collaboration of UX designers and copywriters. This cross-pollination will only continue to grow this year, as the term “UX writing” — one of the latest UX trends of 2018 — starts to be used to describe not just a technique, but job titles too.

Browsing through a well-designed interface is just like reading a wonderful story, which is why every designer is basically a storyteller. Whether it’s designing a landing page, a product page, a signup form, or a chatbot — a story is told everywhere. So, forget modules, column grids, iconography, and all that jazz for some time; and begin thinking about the core of what you want to communicate to the user. What if you created a simple story outline using a text editor before jumping straight into a design software to create a wireframe? By stripping away all kinds of visual clutter, you’ll be able to better focus on the core message you are trying to communicate. When you’re going this ask yourself this question: Does the page still tell a cohesive, clear story even after all the styles have been removed? If your answer is yes, then you’re good to go!

A time of collaboration

As mentioned before, UX 2.0 brings with it the use of a number of technologies, such as voice assistance and VR; and for many designers, these technologies are in uncharted waters. However, as this is one of the latest UX trends of 2018, designers are required to adopt new approaches when it comes to designing, as well as effectively communicate these requirements to developers. It’s precisely for this reason that teamwork is gaining more importance in the world of UX design. Developers and designers will need to work extensively together in order to ensure that these new technologies are ready for adoption by the users. This is why, UXers will need to make sure that their skills are up for the challenge — designers who have knowledge of coding, will be the leaders of innovation in UX. Moreover, having knowledge of frontend development will streamline the collaboration process, and make it seamless.

Collaboration isn’t just of one type, however. It includes the following:

Real-time collaboration eliminates the time-consuming barriers formalities and closed iteration cycles came with, and this is something that is extremely valuable to remote teams. Google Docs was the first of this kind and was followed by Freehand by Invision, Figma, Mural.co, Stickies.io, Pixelboard, and Slack.

Git is a great system to keep track of changes and keep the work open to new ideas and explorations. Moreover, not having to sit and figure out what in the world “final_alt_v02_04.sketch” is, is sort of a blessing. Popular problem-solving tools include Folio, Abstract, Kactus, and Plant; but we can surely expect a larger variety next year.

You should note that collaboration isn’t limited to only live sketching and file management. The most significant opportunity collaboration brings with is the sharing of knowledge gained from research, discovery, and workshops. Great insights that are collected from users shouldn’t be left to die on a Google Doc. This year — although it can be quite challenging — creating a repository with the learning’s from a project, and making it accessible to all, will become extremely vital. As of now, WeWork is sharing research data internally with Polaris; Milanote lets you create boards to organize different kinds of data; but a robust, effective tool to collect and share data is still required.

Voice-activated interfaces

With the growth of fragmented, less visible interfaces, branding is slowly starting to go beyond pixels — it’s now a lot more than how the brand looks and what it says. Non-pixel based experiences are encouraging designers to rethink a brand’s personality, actions, as well as signifiers — of the new UX trends of 2018.

VUI will play a major role in keeping users engaged, in this chaotic world that is full of distractions. The recent developments in natural language processing and machine learning, have ensured that VUI and chat bots are able to comprehend complex conversations and predict your responses.

This may seem shocking, this UX trend is making UI redundant. Screens will start to go away, and interactions will primarily take place via voice, gestures, glances, or even thought.

AI… but, why?

Trending UX design includes the heavy-use of artificial intelligence. These days, a number of people have started to experiment with AI, which is why we’ll see an upsurge in applications that will open doors for users to tech advancements. It’s hence advisable to learn the platform well, understand its limitations, and basically get your hands dirty. Every service we know of will add the label “AI-powered” to it. This could include AI that creates bodega vending machines; AI that controls your meetings; AI that checks on your pets and kids for you; as well as AI that could replace you at work. You probably haven’t noticed this, but there’s one thing that’s happening here — we’re using a buzzword without really knowing what it actually means. And so, to avoid this, here’s what you need to know:

  • AI is not a new channel like mobile, connected devices, and chatbots — it is an aspirational term that reflects a vision that can be executed in a multitude of ways
  • Calling anything and everything AI does a disservice to our industry. It’s common for designers to pretend they know exactly what AI is and how it works, and end up using the word incorrectly, when in fact, all they’re trying to say is “smart algorithm”.

Therefore, before attaching this new UX trend to your product or feature, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How is this different from a simple algorithm?
  • What exactly is this intelligence going to learn to do by itself?
  • What is the user’s need for this “AI” feature? Could these needs be met differently?
  • What are the three ways this intelligence could benefit users?
  • Does the user really need to know that the product is “powered by AI”?
  • If the answer to the previous question was “Yes”, how does one communicate what AI is with clarity and simplicity?
  • How much visibility, transparency, and control will the consumers have about how the intelligence operates?
  • What if this time, we leapfrogged into thinking why we’re creating these AI-powered services, and what it means for the users?

Final thoughts

UX design, with a strong focus on accommodating emerging technologies, will dominate the user experience space in 2018. At the same time, enterprises will pay more attention to the evaluation of ideas, and then designing products that users need. For this reason, design thinking will find fame, and those who indulge in it will be the ones who want to create human-centred designs.

Source : Lollypop Design Studio via https://uxplanet.org/ux-design-trends-for-2018-a65476b0bdde

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Piloting the first project with the UX process

Do you work in an organization that doesn’t have an established UX discipline, a clear owner of UX in the upper management and any shared design practices? Do you try to advocate for Users and their needs and start the conversation about the User-centered design process? Bringing the UX process into a project is the first step in that direction.

I’m confident that if you’re looking for information on how to bring UX into a project, then your organization is at that exact stage of UX maturity level I described above. It is because every stage of growing and maturing has its defined signs (and symptoms! :)) and the whole process follows specific progression steps. Jennifer Fraser & Scott Plewes in their white paper “Introducing UX into the Corporate Culture: A UX Maturity Model” describe those stages in detail and with clarity.

Piloting the first project with the UX process is a step toward enabling User-centered design process in the organization and moving it from “being aware” to the “adopting” stage.

So what are stages of the UX process and how to plan and estimate for each of them when you are walking the walk for the first time? UX process is flexible, but in general, it consists of the following:

1. Strategy.

What are the goals of this project and how this project fits into the company’s strategy?

Companies at the low levels of UX maturity may not have a user-centered approach set as a strategic goal. However, good Customer Experience (CX) influences the success of other high-level business objectives: innovation, lower cost of development and support, higher quality product, customer satisfaction.

Why this stage of UX process is important? When you know how this project fits into the business strategy you will also know what are the most important features, and what will be the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for this product or feature.

Interviewing stakeholders and subject-matter experts will help to learn about business goals and to gather initial information about the users. This information will help to plan for the next stage of the UX process — the user research. And, as I already mentioned, this will also be needed during the later stages of the UX process: you will be choosing and prioritizing the right metrics to evaluate if the business goals are met.

Conducting Successful Interviews With Project Stakeholders by Steve Baty is a thorough article with a lot of details and valuable info.

2. Research and analyses.

Who are your users? What are their needs, motivation, values? How will they engage with your product or application, what steps will they take to complete their task?

At that stage, you will develop User Personas and their Journey Maps. User Persona is a representation of your user, it’s a model of your audience. There are a lot of online resources regarding research and creation of Personas and Journey maps. I would recommend an article by Steve Baty on User Research for Personas and Other Audience Models where he describes the purpose, research process, and methods for creating Personas, but also gives bits of advice from UX professionals on creating Personas and translating the information into user scenarios, and end-to-end user experience journey maps.

Neil Turner’s Step by Step Guide to Scenario Mapping is a must-read resource. “Scenario mapping is most effective very early on in a project to help flesh out user journeys, likely product features and possible screens for a UI. For Agile projects, it can be useful for helping to put together the product backlog and for more traditional projects (i.e. more waterfall in nature) for defining the functional requirements.”

Additionally, there is a step that is more often considered an object of market research but could also be the part of UX process as well — Competitive analysis.

You will evaluate a competing product’s usability, design, and any interesting or new functionality. “A competitive analysis can give insight into what their competitors are doing right, and what they might be struggling with, leaving opportunities available”, — says Sarah Khan in her article “How to Check Out the Competition“.

Personas, User Scenarios, User Journey Maps, and Competitive analysis will inform design decisions in the next stage of the UX process — the design and development.

3. Design and development.

In this stage, design concepts are developed and validated. The process is iterative, it starts from whiteboarding to card sorting to sketches to high fidelity prototypes to usability studies. UX activities of this stage fit seamlessly (or sometimes not so much) into the Agile process.

This stage often has the most amount of UX work. I think that in an organization where the UX process is not established, the UX tasks are sometimes seen as “adding an extra time”, or resulting in “bringing more work”. Those views come from not understanding the value that UX Design brings, and how investing into user-centered design results not only in better customer experience, and customer retention, but helps to save money on development and re-development. A great article by Emily Grace Adiseshian “How to calculate the ROI of your UX activities” talks about how measuring and presenting the return on investment (ROI) of UX activities as the key to successfully introducing user experience into enterprises.

4. Measurement and validation.

Using quantitative and qualitative methods of gathering information will help to inform if the new product delivers value to both customers and the business, and meets business goals and expectations. This stage of the UX process will illuminate areas of improvements.

Recently I was researching information about Systems of Records, Systems of Engagements, and Systems of Insights. There is an interesting article “Systems of Record, Engagement and…(Hint: It’s ultimately bigger than content services)” by John Mancini, who talks about the importance of information management and shift to Systems of Insights (Systems of Understanding): “We are moving truly into the era of Information Management. Not data in isolation. Not content in isolation. But data + content.”

The data gathered helps to measure KPI as well as informs further product improvements and changes. In this stage, UX blends with Business Intelligence — the path to becoming a data-driven organization.

5. Different UX process concepts.

As you can see, the UX process is not linear. Different schools of UX Design present the UX process slightly differently, but the concept and cycles remain: the user-centered design process has the user at its core.

There are many tools and techniques UX designers use at each stage of the process. For more information and more details, I would recommend the very thorough articles by UX Mastery: UX Process and UX Techniques.

Conclusions.

Bringing UX process into a project is a sign of the developing organization’s UX maturity. The process is scalable and could be applied to other projects with the next goal to enable UX at the organization level. This will require different UX capacities, leadership support, and the advocacy of UX professionals.

Resources:

Via https://uxplanet.org/piloting-the-first-project-with-the-ux-process-46e0179e34d6

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Why redesigns don’t make users happy

It’s easy to think that users hate redesigns because they don’t like how the new design looks like. While users can actually have some preferences for the visual design style, the problem lays deeper, in the human psychology.

Redesigns are changes and people don’t like changes. People don’t like them for two reasons — changes require efforts to make and people don’t know what to expect from changes.

Two types of thinking

Humans have two types of thinking — intuitive and reflective. Intuitive thinking is automatic and quick. It operates with mental shortcuts and forms habits for quick usage. The reflective system is slow and self-conscious. It needs time and efforts to get involved. These systems don’t compete, they work in a collaboration.

When you start learning or using something, you do it slowly, concise — the reflective system is involved. But with time and practice, you do the same things easier and faster — the intuitive system starts working. It saves your mental energy, so you don’t have to use all your brain power for everyday things.

When people use your product they build automatic actions to use it faster and easier. With a complete redesign, these rules-of-thumb may not work. Users have to build the new habits that requires serious motivations for them. In the worst cases their habitual actions don’t lead them to their goals anymore, they may lead to mistakes or even errors now. And users will blame designers and developers for making themselves feeling like fools.

In the older version of Skype, you have to click on the emojis icon to the right to pop up the emojis panel. This panel had several tabs — Recent, All emojis etc for quick navigation. The latest tab menu you used was automatically opened when you opened the panel again. That’s pretty useful to have a quick access to your recent emojis as there is a huge chance they will use them again.

In the new version, the emojis icon was moved to the left. The emojis panel shows you All emojis tab every time you open the panel. At least two rules-of-thumb were changed. And when you try to open the emojis panel, you automatically click the right icon which is “Show your location” now. This “Show your location” popup interrupts your flow every time, making you angry before you get used to these changes.

Skype redesign

Changes are unknown

The other point why people don’t like changes is that they don’t know what to expect from them. The Prospect theory by Kahneman and Tversky states that people make decisions based on the potential value of losses and gains rather than the final outcome and that people evaluate these losses harder than the gains. If you ask a user what they will choose — the current version of the product or a new one, in most of the cases they will stay with the current version.

Users make investments

If your product is something like Facebook or Reddit where users generate the content, you have to be especially careful with changes. Users’ content is the main value for them, they spent a lot of time and efforts to create it. And when users lost or can’t find their content anymore, that makes them really angry.

Let’s take the Kinopoisk redesign for an example. There were negative comments about the visual design. But one of the most popular complains was that users have lost their libraries of films and reviews they collected for years.

Image credit Meduza

How to make redesign less painful for users?

People don’t like changes but it doesn’t mean that nothing should be changed. Keep in mind these physiological principles of how people react to changes to make the redesign they will love.

Why do you need redesign?

If your redesign doesn’t make the product faster, fixes bugs, adds the functionality users asked for than think twice before you start it. Nothing is worse than a redesign for a redesign, just to be in trend. Trends are temporary, your solution for users is forever.

Know your users

Learn how and why users use your product, what’s important for them. That will help you to know the main automatic actions your users can use. Based on this you will better understand how to make a redesign using the existing habits or how to help users easier build the new ones.

Research what functions of your product are crucially important for your users. This will help you to understand what is important for your users in your product so you can save this importance in the new design. It’s especially important if you have to make a total redesign of the product.

Let’s do some math. When users are familiar with your product it takes them time T1 to complete the task. With a redesign, they have to spend T2 that includes the time learn the new design + time to complete the task in a new way. T1 is less than T2 and that’s why users prefer the fast familiar way to achieve the goal than a new one. You can reduce the T2 by making the design more familiar to users and making the new way of completing the task easier.

Make lightweight, progressive changes

In case you don’t have to make a total redesign, make lightweight, progressive changes that are similar to what the users are used to. Facebook does it well. Billions of users use it every day, their reaction to the changes will cost billions for Facebook. So the design team makes small chunks of changes that users can’t even notice.

News Feed cards redesign by Facebook

Leave the users the choice

Leave the users the option to go back to the old version. You can ask them why they are going back to the previous version to better understand what’s important for them.

Privatbank allows you to return to the old version

Sell your redesign

Prepare your users for changes. People take changes better when they expect them. Try so sell your redesign to make users want it. You should know your audience, their mood to understand what is the best way to present your redesign. Take Apple as the example — they can sell the changes really well.

It’s not the end of the world

And also prepare yourself for the users’ reaction to the redesign. It can be hard and painful to hear it. Users can write hateful messages, make jokes about your work. Keep in mind that it’s not their reaction to you like a professional. It’s their reaction to their own experience with your product.

The good news is that while people don’t like changes and redesigns, they get used to it. First weeks you will meet a lot of bad reviews, the fall of the rating. But they will return to the old place and can be even better if your redesign was really good. Remember that any system can’t change immediately, it needs time for it.


Source : Vitaly Dulenko via https://uxplanet.org/why-redesigns-dont-make-users-happy-f1b29cc940ce