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The 4 UX Trends Shaping Digital Interfaces Today

Designer team drawing website ux app development application for mobile phone.

Today, so many digital initiatives are driven from the perspective of enabling technologies for the sake of using them. Working in the Experience Design practice here at Perficient, I’m on a constant mission to remind everyone about the true value of design. How it looks is, of course, important, but what it does is without a doubt the real value being created.

This is the third blog in a series I’ve written about digital trends. I’ve previously discussed how different generations use technology and a few of the newer technology trends I’ve been seeing.

UX Trend #1: Personalization

Personalization is no longer an option. We just expect things to be smart and adapt to us. It will be necessary to anticipate that the bar for personalized experiences will continue to rise even higher for younger generations.

So how are we going to keep up? Customers expect you to personalize experiences based on what you should know about them. They’ve shared information about themselves and their preferences with you.

We must look beyond simply showing the facts – predict what users will want and help them be more efficient with their engagements with you.

73% of consumers surveyed said they prefer to do business with sites that use personal information to improve the experience.

Consumers, especially those in the younger generation, are more comfortable sharing personal information as an opportunity for the software, site, business, etc., to serve them in a better, more personalized way.

The key is in using a smart data approach. Consumers aren’t going to want to customize their entire portal. Information has to flow in on its own, or at least feel effortless.

TurboTax is a great example of this. The program remembers how you filed last year, so when you log in the next year, it remembers details such as marriage status. It will ask you questions such as, “Hey, do you still have the same job at so and so?” It’s a more meaningful interaction than saying, “Would you like to make changes?” It acknowledges you as a human and personalizes it in such a great way.

Personalization doesn’t always have to be a monumental feature powered by AI or machine learning.

It’s possible to use seemingly simple solutions in clever ways, such as an app that lets you virtually try on glasses or the Ikea <app> that helps you visualize what furniture will look like in your house. Explore your audience and find ways to personalize their experience.

UX Trend #2: Micro Interactions

This isn’t exactly a new topic, but it’s something that we are seeing executed in increasingly better ways.

Micro steps are really small super-focused steps that let users complete tasks more easily, such as adding their address. Micro steps enable a lot of other things we have previously discussed like preferred interfaces and personalization.

Interfaces using this approach have the modern feel we have come to expect. By design, they are streamlined and simple.

Another facet of this is the micro survey – tiny, single question surveys enable you to slowly collect profile information and tailor interfaces to customers’ needs. They allows you to collect information without it feeling intrusive. Micro interactions are powerful and can be done in real, intelligent, small ways to build a profile about your customers.

UX Trend #3: Multi-channel and Multi-user Interactions

This is a trend we tend to take for granted, but slowly we have moved into a world where we expect experiences that work across different devices and with multiple users. It’s interesting to see how common it is for users to leverage multiple channels in any given task. Experiences locked into a single channel are dated and fall short.

86% of shoppers use at least two channels while shopping.

What really matters is how experiences work across different channels as users move between them. Consumers expect seamless experiences across multiple devices.

EBay has an interesting and effective example of this. When you’re creating an auction listing on their desktop site, you can click “Add from mobile device,” and it’ll send you a push notification with a link to add pictures to your listing. All you have to do is open it, take the photos, and they magically show up in the listing. This functionality leverages each device for the things it does best.

The other side of this trend is user experience with multiple users. Just like with other technology, users will expect a seamless experience in shared apps. For example, my family uses Google Keep for our family shopping list. My wife, my kids, and I can all add things to the list – and we can do it from our Google Home, iPhones, iPads, and computers, which include Mac, Windows and Chromebook brands. We have 4 family members all accessing and working with the same list across numerous interfaces. This is the new normal.

UX Trend #4: Data visualization

Data visualization is certainly not a new trend by any stretch, but it’s one that is getting more and more refined and fits perfectly with what we should expect to engage those growing generations of customers.

We must consider how we can move beyond the pie-chart and think about how can we create relevant stories for our customers using their own data.

Data visualization is no longer just a business asset, it can become a product. For example, Intuit’s Mint app is not new by any stretch of the imagination. But what did it do? It provided visualization to your money. That’s it, that’s all they do. And yet, it’s a brilliant piece of software that helps people and builds customer loyalty.

Another interesting one is Spotify. Each year they release Spotify Wrapped, which is a personalized visualization of your music consumption for the year. It creates this super customized and relevant thing for you, and encourages you to share it. They may be some mega corporation, but they’re making it feel like it’s yours.

The younger generations have become prolific at turning isolated tasks into social media experiences. We can take guidance from them on how to create meaningful personalized experiences, delivered with clarity and simplicity, while being able to engage them across multiple devices with multiple users in a seamless and smart experience.

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Patrick McNeil

Patrick is a UX Director at Perficient. He strives to bring user-centered design practices to the most complicated business problems. Patrick's background is in Human Computer-Interaction, and has published several books on various web-related topics.

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