03 Oct The future of UX is here, and it’s taking personalization to a whole new level
UX is at the heart of all digital experiences and is the reason why people are so willing to stand in line for hours to buy the newest iPhone. Great UX is behind how you feel when you use your favorite products, and it’s coming to life in a way the world has never seen before. Your devices can already keep track of context like the time of day, location, or even your dinner plans, but what if they could also cross-reference that context with your daily routine and habits to customize your experience? The options for customized experiences will be endless.
The future of UX is…dynamic
When you’re using an app or site for the first time, and you’re not sure what a button will do, you’re probably going to hover over it for a split second. It’s almost like you’re expecting the UX to respond to you…even in that moment of hesitation before you really know what you want. Good UX would take that split second to give you more information before you even begin to ask a question. In this moment, the UX almost knows what you want before you really even had the chance to think about it; and that’s exactly where future of UX is headed.
This expectation for instant feedback and the growing number of connected devices can create a digital experience that is both dynamic and continuous. Asher Blumberg, UX mobile designer at StumbleUpon said: “It’s not just technological change that we have to keep in mind while designing the next breakthrough experience. It’s when offline experiences evolve and are taken online; when the digital domain enables completely new experiences — that’s when we’ll see the lines blur between tech and reality.”
So, what does that really mean?
Basically, experiences with technology will become so effortless that they’ll be easily incorporated into traditionally offline experiences. And what does that look like? Take the Sonos smart speaker for example. Each speaker can connect to Bluetooth beacons so your favorite songs start playing as soon as you enter a room, and without even having to push a button. The world is becoming a hyper-connected place, and eventually, connected UX can become a part of an offline experience as simple as what you expect when coming home at the end of the day.
The future of UX is…intuitive
Every time you interact with one of your devices, it stores information about your usage. Now, imagine how responsive design could be if all of that information were used for the goal of enhancing each interaction you have with your devices.
Let’s say you have a morning routine every day at work. You get to the office and spend the first 20 minutes at your desk searching for articles that you’ve missed overnight. Now, with responsive UX, after a couple of days searching, your device will have a feed of articles ready for you the next time you start your office computer. It might even include a TED talk on how to do a Jedi mind trick (because that’s exactly what would brighten your day on a Monday morning). According to Michael Greenwood, UX designer at Creative Factor, “The goal of this type of design is to use data predictively and make an experience progressively better each time someone uses it.”
The future of UX is…personal
Right now, interfaces are mass produced as one-size-fits-all. The site you’re reading this article on looks almost exactly the same for you as it does for me, with the exception of screen size adjustments and targeted ads (if your Adblock game isn’t on point). The same is true for menus and search results.
Let’s say you open up Yelp’s app to search for places to go on your birthday. Most likely, you’ll get a list of local restaurants and bars. Was that answering your question, or redirecting your attention to a set of limited options? What if you’re a really crafty person who would prefer something else entirely? You’re not going to see the business listing for that pottery studio 10 minutes away from you because the interface couldn’t interpret your subjective request (places to go for your birthday) or cross-reference it with your user history (like the insane amount of time you spend on Pinterest looking at DIY projects).
More often than not, the choices our devices present are very limited.The future of UX is going to help the user access the options that they truly want. Paths defined by designers could potentially recognize signs and identify opportunities to provide choices that align with a user’s needs. This will allow interfaces to adapt to people’s lifestyles and habits, and become fluid and conversational. The groundwork has already been set with voice assistants like Siri.
The future of UX is…(admittedly) creepy
In order to use conversational and responsive UX, you’re going to need to agree to give your devices free reign over a lot of your personal information.Your devices and apps already collect a lot of data about you, and it’s all going to be used somehow. Privacy policies are standard, but they’re more about protection from liability than informing you about how much information is collected and how it’s actually going to be used. And let’s be honest, are you likely to read it all?
The most important questions to keep in mind are: How much information are you willing to compromise for accessibility; and does your opinion change if the data is kept anonymous? Privacy definitely needs to be a huge consideration for both users and UX designers as UX becomes progressively more sophisticated.
The future of UX is…right around the corner
With the power of personalized data, each user can and will expect a tailored experience that gives them the best functionality based on the data they choose to share. An expertly crafted product, like your favorite e-reader, creates a personal experience and evokes a persona. That should be the goal of designing great UX: art with function. In the future, each person will experience digital in a unique way like an ID filter on the digital world, thanks to web design that’s intuitive, purposeful, and most importantly, informed.