UX in 2019: Where is user experience heading the next year?

On the web, businesses that succeed are the ones that remain on the cutting edge of their industry.

Today, we’re going to take a look at some of the key features and trends we think are going to fuel the world of user experience design in 2019.

Increased use of “tunneling”

Less unusual than it sounds, “tunneling” is simply a matter of apps being more pro-active in guiding users step-by-step towards a specific goal.

Probably the best example right now is Uber, which is a simple 6 step process. The user enters their drop location, then confirms their pickup and drop locations, selects their cab type, details their pickup spot, searches for a cab and then the cab arrives. While there are other options at each step, the priority is to guide a user through the “tunnel”.

Another good way to think of “tunneling” is in terms of a traditional software installation wizard. Though the user does have options at each stage of the journey, the outcome remains the same: to install the software.

As competition in the app store grows fiercer over the next year, being able to engage users more directly will be invaluable: “tunneling” user journeys can be invaluable.

Continuing growth in personalization

We’ve written about the increased use of AI and machine learning in other blogs, but it’s worth highlighting why both are becoming more important in the world of design.

Machine learning means that you’re able to access more and more information about how the user engages with your app. The aim? To deliver a more and more personalized experience.

With more and more apps appearing on the app store each day, the need to give users their ideal experience – or as close to it as possible – is growing.

The more you’re able to send offers the user is interested in, give them features they actually need and even engage with them at the right times (through push notifications and the like) the better

Personalization has been growing in importance over the past couple of years. You can expect that to continue in 2019.

Single page design

This is more applicable to websites than apps, but it’s very relevant to the idea of UX and UI as a whole.

One of the reasons why single page designs are growing in popularity is the continued rise in mobile searches. Mobile search engines will always prioritize websites that load fast, and a single, uncluttered single page design will nearly always load faster.

Why? Because it simply features less of the design features known to slow loading down, such as excess HTML and CSS code as well as in-depth picture and large amounts of data.

Now, obviously it won’t be practical for certain businesses to have a single page design: e-commerce stores by design need to have product pages. However, for businesses that simply want to generate leads from their website whilst ensuring their page loads quickly, single page designs will certainly appeal.

Single page designs have also proven to convert well, simply because the reader has less to distract them and nowhere else to click through to: they either convert or leave the page!

The Rise of Chatbots

Another machine learning feature that’s almost certain to grow in usage in 2019, chatbots are already becoming more and more common.

Put simply, when used effectively, chatbots can be an effective way of offering customer service and of collecting leads without having to pay for staff in either discipline.

Of course, chatbots can’t offer the same level of customer service as a person, but for the more basic and routine queries the software can be an invaluable way of saving money without sacrificing the user experience.

Put simply, machine learning has grown in quality to such an extent that modern chatbots are now capable of providing a genuinely good service. Which frankly wasn’t something that could be said two or three years ago.

The chances are you’ve probably dealt with a chatbot over the past year or so. Expect it to happen more and more often in 2019.

More video content will take the place of text

Recent statistics from Hubspot showed that over 78% of people watch online videos every single week, with 55% doing so at least once a day.

In other words, users now expect video content to be part of their user experience. Naturally, how you use video will depend on the type of website or app you develop.

If you’re a B2B service company, video will be more useful in showing case studies or demonstrating your expertise. If you’re a media company and you rely on ad revenue, of course, video can be your way of keeping readers entertained and engaged. (And keeping them on your website.)

We’re also expecting live video content (such as Facebook live, Periscope and YouTube streaming) to become more and more common in 2019.

Continuous user journeys across multiple platforms.

A few years ago, one of the major priorities for designers was to ensure that their website or app worked on multiple devices – tablets, mobiles and the like.

However, at the time, it was generally accepted that users would go through the whole customer journey on one device. They might look at holidays on their phone, but when it came time to pay they’d do so on a tablet or their home computer.

Now, however, that’s not the case. To use Uber as an example again, it’s not uncommon for users to book their journey through a voice device like Google home or Alexa, then to finish their journey on their phone. One continuous customer interaction made through two platforms.

Expect more focus on integrating customer journeys across different devices, rather than ensuring every individual device offers its own self-contained device.

Because voice-activation has only taken off in the last year or so, multiple platform and device journeys are still in their early days, but voice recognition isn’t going anywhere, so this will become a key UX skill over the next few years.

And, on a similar topic…

Voice recognition integration

Right now, if you mention voice integration to anyone, the chances are they’ll think of either mobile devices (like Siri) or home devices like Alexa.

However, over the next year or so, we’re expecting voice recognition to become a more important part of website use in general. E-commerce, for instance, is an area where voice recognition is growing: being able to simply reel off a list of products to buy rather than actually having to hunt through the website manually is a real time-saver that more users are choosing to take up.

In some cases, specialists believe that by around 2030, up to 30 per cent of searches could be done via voice recognition. In other words, ignoring the increase in voice search is the equivalent of having ignored the rise of mobile browsing five years or so ago!

One thing you don’t want is to be late to the party and find yourself playing catch up.

And finally, speaking of mobile design…

Mobile design should now be a priority

In terms of improving search, mobile design should now be prioritized above desktop.

Why? Because that’s what Google is doing! Since the number of mobile users overtook that of desktop, Google started to index mobile sites first, and has begun to punish websites that aren’t mobile friendly.

What’s more, online transactions are now also becoming more mobile focused, with over 40% of all online purchases taking place on mobile devices

In 2019, you ignore mobile UX at your peril.

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