Where are we headed? The future of UX design in a post-COVID world
COVID-19 has revolutionized the world of design. Companies continue to shift online as we look ahead toward a contactless, virtual future. The digital experience is now fundamental as firms are adapting new strategies to target ever-changing consumer needs. Luckily, UX design has been gaining more traction than ever. Here are some tips to keep up with the ever-changing design world and prepare for the future of the industry post-pandemic.
1. Research, research, research
As industries have shifted online, the future is virtual. It’s easy to cut back on research during this pandemic, especially since in-person approaches are no longer a viable option. However, this pivot to digital strategy is exactly why you should invest more time in research. According to a 2010 Harvard Business Review article, the companies that flourished the most after the Great Recession made “significantly greater investments than their rivals [did] in R&D”. Especially with the long-lasting economic effects of COVID-19, companies will have a higher demand for UX research than ever. By increasing both the scale and speed of your research, it will be easier to retain customers within your firm. As our future is headed toward more remote testing practices, it’s also important to consider small details such as time zones, consent forms, and browser requirements when collecting data. The more your organization transitions to virtual research, the more prepared you’ll be for our digital future.
2. Focus on digital solutions
Industries are now required to provide socially distanced, touchless options to their customers. The online experience is the foundation of all businesses, especially as e-commerce continues to grow. Through UX, focus on providing innovative solutions that match with a safer, more physically isolated future. Online services for essential items and telemedicine are booming and are therefore especially in need of more UX investment. Social media platforms are also the future as Facebook usage has increased by 50% during this coronavirus, according to The Wall Street Journal. The user experience for social media platforms, whether that is through paid or organic promotion, is another area that is becoming more prominent with time. Spending more energy on creating engaging social media experiences for customers will pay off.
3. Emphasize the value you bring
UX research means nothing without being able to effectively present your findings. As we all work from home, it’s become more difficult to clearly share results and communicate. By focusing on the impact on KPIs of the businesses you are consulting, it will be much easier to showcase the value your firm is contributing. Here are some overarching areas of importance to focus on when showcasing the effects of your discoveries:
- Overall revenue
- Operational costs
- Revenues from new/existing business
- Shareholder value
Analyzing UX KPIs can also showcase the added value your research is providing. Focus on both behavioral and attitudinal UX KPIs:
- Abandonment rate
- Task success and time
- Problems and frustrations
- Loyalty (SUS, NPS)
In short, behavioral UX KPIs focus on what the user does, while attitudinal UX KPIs emphasize the feelings and opinions of users. Combining these UX KPIs with general business KPIs will ensure your research is showcasing its impact. UX design is gaining more attention in this contactless world but is still commonly undervalued. However, as industries rapidly move away from face-to-face interaction, effective communication is highly appreciated. That is why compiling your findings concisely and showing the impact through KPIs will boost your business and increase trust in the UX design process in this virtual landscape.
4. Learn some new skills
The digital world we are progressing toward brings with it a change in necessary skills. Traditional design skills are no longer as valued as innovative ideas and design thinking. Adobe Creative Suite will not give you a leg up in the future. However, according to UX Planet, these skills will:
The technological future is slowly being built by the programmers of our generation. While coding may not seem necessary in UX design, understanding the software programming behind web design is critical. Learning a versatile language, such as Python or Java, will help you stay current in the workplace.
Version control is all about organizing software systems. Another technological skill that will prove to be useful, version control using Git or GitHub is a simple educational investment to make in preparation for the future.
The purpose of design systems is to answer the question, “how do we make ideas happen, faster?”, as stated in the UX Planet article. There are plenty of platforms to play around with, from MailChimp to Polaris. Big tech companies including Apple, Google, and Microsoft also provide resources to explore design systems.
As our world rapidly becomes more digital, we must prepare for the future of UX design. Incorporating more virtual research, finding digital solutions, effectively communicating value, and expanding your skill sets will help you keep up with the times. At Pixoul, we provide relevant UX design and research for a brighter future. Need help taking your brand to the next level? Contact Pixoul today!