January 9, 2017


Last year was quite dynamic on the UX scene. And it’s bound to become even more interesting in the near future.

We’ve already caught a glimpse of technologies that are expected to revolutionize our daily lives. AI and machine learning are on their way to changing the face of software as we know it. Virtual and Augmented Reality have their moment. And voice controlled devices are becoming more and more popular.

These changes have a huge impact on interface design and user experience. And you can only imagine that a large chunk of these interactions happens on mobile devices.

If you’re about to design an app, you need to be aware of these critical UX trends which are turning the heads of everyone in the mobile tech industry. Here are 5 most important ones.

1. Chatbots and AI

AI is all the rage right now. And with it come chatbots. They have been around for a while, but the development of conversational AI algorithms rendered products like Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa smarter and more practical than ever.

Experts predict that chatbots of the future will be able to personalize their responses and adapt the content to the context of the exchange. But more importantly, chatbots are on their way to revolutionizing the way in which users interact with machines. They offer a brand new type of interface.

What does all this mean for your app?

User devices aren’t overflowing with apps. According to this recent study, most of us use only 5 apps a day and at least one of these apps is a messaging app. That’s why you should try to provide a service in an area you know most users are active. Capitalize on this trend by offering a smart platform enriched with an AI chatbot that brings user experience to the next level.

We’re seeing only the beginning of the chatbot area today, but the product is bound to explode in 2017.

2. Voice-enabled interactions

A related UX trend that is expected to bloom next year is voice-enabled interactions.

Many designers believe that the future of interactions won’t rely on buttons. Instead, interfaces will be designed to function like conversations – a Conversational Interface is basically a user interface that mimics chatting with a real human.

Now, you might think that contemporary interfaces are already like conversations. When you hail an Uber cab, you’re basically telling Uber where you are and where you’d like to get. But with Conversational UI you’ll have no buttons or menus to worry about. All you need are words. And most likely you’ll have to tell, not write what your app should do.

As expected, these interactions will be largely automated. WeChat which gained a great following in China is an excellent example. Consumers can communicate with friends, buy food, pay their credit card bills, or share their daily moments. All this on one platform, powered through conversations  and a selection of mini-apps that run inside these conversations.

The rise of chatbots and the Conversational Interface will spread voice-enabled interactions and render them a new standard all app designers should consider when creating new apps.

3. Virtual and Augmented Reality

Both technologies are showing a great potential today. Just recall this year’s Pokemon Go craze.

Experts predict that the huge success of the game will open the door for VR and AR to enter the app market.

App developers are today busy working on AR and VR apps for interior design, real estate, medicine, or automotive support.

AR is expected to additionally power the rise of technologies designed to extend the mobile experience.

Sophisticated image recognition software combined with 3D glasses will deliver an experience that will slowly become available to consumers all over the planet.

4. Design automation

What about the actual process of design? It will to profoundly change in the near future as well.

Design Automation sees AIs designing apps and websites. It sounds very optimistic, but automation is already feeding into design in many subtle ways. For example, workflow tools completely changed the way in which we design apps in teams. There also already exist add-ons that bring real data to mockups or easily develop several versions of a page in a seamless process.

Automation is expected to shift designers’ focus from tasks to more strategic thinking. In the future, we’ll automate design patterns and use them to create beautiful works with a fraction of current resources.

5. Ethics and diversity

Apps are used by millions, and sometimes even billions of users. They have a meaningful impact on their daily lives. And yet, the most popular apps – especially those coming from the Silicon Valley – are created by white, educated men.

Still, companies are realizing that their products have a huge influence on the transformations within the society. The problem of bias in software development is just one among the many issues that are part of the Ethics and Diversity problematic that is bound to affect app design like never before. Just look at these examples. Airbnb recently hired a Director of Diversity to help them develop their products and features while being mindful of diversity. Nextdoor introduced improvements of their products to fight racism.

In 2017, designers will feel socially responsible for developing apps which aren’t based on stereotypes or assumptions about the target audiences of these products. Breaking such misconceptions will add a layer of responsibility to their job. And designers will to embrace it in the near future – effectively addressing the bias problem and ensuring that their designs bring something positive to societies.=

These trends are likely to rule the UX scene during the upcoming year. Focus on them in your app and it is bound to become a very innovative product and achieve a huge success!

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