2010 seems like a turning point for user experience professionals. The decade has seen success stories like Amazon and Zappos that have made businesses sit up and value the power of understanding customer needs. There has been a surge in people
across generations using online media for everyday activities and some of the trends in social media, mobile applications and technology have opened new doors for user experience professionals. At Evantage we have started experiencing the impact of some of these trends.
Moving up the value chain
A decade ago the biggest angst the user experience community had was convincing businesses on the ROI of our services. Thankfully this has changed. The Harvard Business Review mentions listening to your customers as one of the biggest management ideas of the decade. There are other articles in the marketing blogs surfacing about the rebirth of usability. While I don’t think usability ever died, I certainly sense a growing need for user experience professionals to play a leading role in gaining customer insights and helping businesses make decisions. Recently, I led a project at Evantage Consulting that gave me the opportunity to identify customer insights to formulate the go-to-market strategy for a new medical device. There have been other instances where I and my colleagues have been involved in defining the next generation products for our clients. My understanding is that this trend is here to stay.
Designing real-life experiences
One of the hottest trends for 2010 is an increase in real-time applications. This does not surprise me. Real-time applications can create delightful experiences that meet the functional and emotional needs of people. The four
key enablers for these experiences are augmented reality (AR), mobile, GPS technology and social media. Combining these together can help create real-life experiences. A few examples are:
- AR, Mobile and GPS Technology: Tokyo’s N Building is covered in QR codes that can be read by an iPhone to get information on sales/deals inside the stores or read twitter feeds to learn about the conversations that are happening
inside the building. While this use of technology is still in its early stages, it sets the stage to design extremely desirable experiences.
- Mobile, GPS Technology and Social Media: The Yelp mobile application is probably the most popular one in this category. It can recognize a person’s location and suggest restaurants based on it. Customer reviews provide rating information on the best restaurant nearby.
- Social Media: The social media growth in 2009 surpassed all expectations. Facebook and Twitter have given people the ability to share everything from their child’s birth to graduation as it happens. Businesses have started using these networks to track customer feedback and build customer relationships. The innovative application of this media has the highest demand right now.
At Evantage we are seeing an increased demand for projects that require or benefit from real-time information and interactions. We, the user-experience team has started developing criteria for determining if the integration of social or mobile technology makes sense for our clients. It might be a matter of time before we will get the opportunity to integrate all these tools to create real-life experiences.
Do any of these trends hit home for you? Are there any other trends you are noticing in 2010? Please share your thoughts and experiences.