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Top Trends for User Experience Professionals

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p>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

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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.

Turning Point (Image taken from noraxx's photostream on Flickr)

2010 for User Experience Professionals


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 levitra cost 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 viagra alternatives of people. The four

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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

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thoughts and experiences.

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6 Responses to “Top Trends for User Experience Professionals”

  1. Kurt Morris says:

    One trend that I’m seeing is a rise in hoaxes and pranks that rapidly take hold due in large part to the viral nature of social media. While “real-time” apps have a lot to recommend them, and are the obvious next-step, there is a downside that we,as technicians, programmers, and user experience designers haven’t been able to adequately address: how to give our users the tools they need to verify the sources of their information.

    Just today, one Twitter user was caught re-wording — then re-tweeting — messages on ballot measures being voted on here in Oregon, changing “vote for it” to “vote against it”. And of course there was the recent (untrue) rumor that UPS would ship any package under 50 lbs free-of-charge to Haiti.The rumor was spread so quickly via Facebook and Twitter that UPS had to post a correction on their website.

    I think the spread of social media has been terrific, but it seems to be coming at a cost these days that no one seems prepared to address. I often wonder if there’s anything we can do for our users and visitors that can help them navigate the confusing world in which everyone is an author and no one is accountable.

  2. Sheetal Dube says:

    Kurt, You bring up an excellent point here. ‘Real-time’ applications can be misused and can cause much greater harm. It is definitely our responsibility to make these experiences scam proof. You have got me thinking on this one.

  3. Prasadd Bartakke says:

    Sheetal thanks for a good post. I guess you mentioned few important points. After reading your post here are some thoughts that came to my mind. They don’t add to media and technology list you have.

    I have noticed in two cases where the word ‘User’ in User Research or User Experience Design is being replaced by the word Customer. This tells that companies (these are ecom giants in the US I am referring to) want to understand the customer in the user in-depth and inform their work. User is probably superficial now.

    I see 2010 opening more doors for the experience designers who base their strategy on innovation, business goals, research, analytics, behavior trends, collaboration and so on. I also feel, 2010 will show a shortage of such talent who can really drive design. So 2010 is a year for planning ahead. (I am talking about global talent).

    Hopefully, 2010 might be the year were product idealized by a designer became most successful – simply because he knew how to read his customer the best.

    Design might be the ‘leadership’ economy is looking for in 2010 and beyond. : )

  4. Sheetal Dube says:

    Prasadd, I like how you see 2010 :) The skill set you have described for use experince designers (ux) is potent. I hope more ux professionals take the leap and turn the economy around with Design Leadership.

  5. This is churning some fluids in my mind.
    Yes, we as in designers have climbed many ladders and achieved a lot to distinguish our skills in this decade and the process of evolution is looking forward to next decade.
    In fact 10 years back, when I entered in professional world, there was not even a clear segmentation between a graphic designer, interaction designer, interface designer or user experience designer. Very few organizations knew that we are capable of much more than pretty up things :)

    However, we are at the milestone, where we have set the ground and ready for leap. Some key things to target are -
    Innovation not only by industry specific benchmarking but going all across – While there are some customer experience best practices in each industry, designers should look beyond. If not, you are not offering anything significantly extra than your competitor. Your design strategy is almost similar and so will be your customer pool.

    Continue listening and publicizing customer’s voice – Make informed decisions based on clear customer feedback – this includes analytics data as well. We the UX designers need to stress on it at every occasion in “time-line driven, roll-outs after roll-outs” IT world. Use wikis, forums and share points to make a buzz. Make UX activities a part of process. Follow your company culture and prepare UX model for own needs and later advertise the results.

    Reach to the next level of experience design – Watch for trends, in this word of highly communicative world, it is very important to be current and connected to what’s happening around. With the continuous evolution, the user’s needs are getting upgraded too. It is not enough to just bring user-friendliness in your design but also “joy” factor as well as brand personality in every interaction.
    Off course with some variations, our journey is crossing “interested”, “invested” and for some perhaps “committed” phase and now it’s moving towards, engaged, and embedded.

    We are already seeing some of such cool innovations like “Sixth Sense” by MIT student rising from horizon.

  6. Sheetal Dube says:

    Shipa, I looked up your profile on Linkedin to see if you were from IDC and it seems that you are. Great! I agree we need more designers to take lead and lead projects like ‘Sixth Sense.