CX Insights

What’s Next in UX: UX Design Trends for 2017

4 min read

2016 brought some great innovations to user experience. So, where is the industry heading in 2017? We can expect some bold moves this year: From time-saving design to smarter personalization, metrics measuring life-impact, niche areas of specialization, and UX as a management practice.

UX Design Winners 2016

UX Design Trends 2017_Winners of 2016

While we look forward to some great developments in the world of UX design in 2017, there were some outstanding examples of companies creating fun, valuable and innovative experiences in 2016. Here is a shout-out to the three best performers:

The true meaning of experience: Airbnb Experiences

Airbnb has always been putting the user at the center of its design, by creating a community that offers more than just a book and stay hotel service. The launch of Airbnb Experiences builds on this in two ways; deepening the interaction for a guest and their travel experience; and allowing hosts to monetize the service. Win, win.

Taking gaming to the next level: Pokémon Go

A successful reboot of a game that’s nearly two decades old could have been a tough gig. But by using new virtual reality technology, Pokémon has managed to update its product into a new, exciting and market leading product for the masses. Just mind where you’re walking.

Seamless integration of digital: Snapchat Spectacles

By creating a wearable accessory (that’s fashionable too) Snapchat has successfully integrated its product into everyday life and removed the, albeit small, barrier to using its App. Hats off to them – and Spectacles on.

As for what’s next?

UX Design Trends 2017

1. Time-saving design

UX Design Trends 2017_Time saving design

Great UX is intuitive and saves users time – often seen in linear designs that allow just one action to be taken at a time. Uber is a great example of this, making a clear transition through the booking system with simplicity and convenience. But with increasing technologies in the areas of chatbots and artificial intelligence, we’re going to see more and more interesting ways of time-saving design. Things like basic customer service interactions being handled by artificially intelligent chatbots will not just save users time, but also save the time of the company’s employees – time that can then be spent on innovation.

2. Smarter personalization

UX Design Trends 2017_Smarter Personalization

Companies and users both love personalization. But in 2016, personalization of information brought some unpleasant surprises. Many people found themselves completely stupefied by the results of Brexit and the US election, as their social circles gave the perception that the whole world shared the same opinion. While there was mixed reactions to the recommendation of articles blinkering a truly unbiased view, the next generation of personalized experience must change. Expect more options to be able to opt out of binary reporting, or consciously add in opposing opinions to places like Facebook’s news feed and news sites’ recommendation of articles.

3. Metrics beyond the interface

UX Design Trends 2017_Metrics beyond the interface

Traditional methods of measuring user experience include how long a user spends on a site, their movement through the pages, or where they drop off before purchasing. But as more and more experience goes beyond the digital – and the experience becomes the product – businesses will start tracking more experience based metrics to track the engagement impact, such as the positive contribution to the customer’s life. Snapchat Spectacles is a great example of a company creating a seamless integration of a digital product into the user’s life; creating a fashionable accessory that streamlines the way users interact with Snapchat, without the need for the phone platform. It positively impacts the user by supplying them with a multi-purpose object that is a simple and easy way to share experiences with friends. Expect some interesting insights here.

4. Broader UX roles and specialization

UX Design Trends 2017_Broader specialization

UX has always been a broad category. Even though many job posts still look for the UX/UI designer, companies will increasingly look for specialized talent. Whereas in the past, specialization trended around UX disciplines such as CRO or IA, in 2017, specialization will trend towards new technologies and industries such as virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and industries like automotive or health and fitness. As the experience becomes the product, companies must learn that UX is not just the role of the UX designer, but that everybody needs to learn it to take ownership of different goals during UX development. Everyone who plays a role in developing a user-facing element is part of the UX team.

5. UX as a management practice

UX Design Trends 2017_UX as a management practice

Many companies are seeing the benefit and importance of UX design in product and service offerings for their customers. But what will become more prevalent in 2017 – and beyond – is the importance of UX design for companies’ employees. This practice will see leaders putting themselves in the shoes of employees and really going through their user journey: Critically questioning an employee’s experience of what happens when they bring forward ideas, start executing on them, and even what happens if they fail. This experience will have a big impact on motivating employees to bring innovation into all aspects of the business.

The growing area of UX is an opportunity for a complete mindset shift for companies in 2017 – away from selling products and towards selling experiences. So we’re going to see smart use of new technologies, as companies use UX to build a sustainable competitive advantage.

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Raffaela Rein
Raffaela Rein is the CEO and Co-Founder of CareerFoundry, one of the leading online schools for UX training. Raffaela is dedicated to educating the next generation of digital talent, helping people build a career they love and promoting why "UX-led" companies build more successful products. Prior to CareerFoundry, Raffaela built companies for Rocket Internet and Axel Springer and worked as an investment strategist for BlackRock.