It’s amazing how quickly tools and workflows in UX world can change. We may boldly say, it’s the most exciting time for designers and people connected with creating and designing User Experience. Let’s put it in a simple words: If you get on this train — you won’t regret, if you miss it — you’ll stay on a station for a long time.
Straight and fast to the goal
Times of content-heavy layouts, stuffed with graphic are gone and only my grandfather believes that music as an obligatory element of any website. Nowadays, clean, simple interface is a product that sells itself. Evolution progresses with key signals — promoting mobile-friendly websites in Google’s organic search results or Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), as a project that tells the future. We can say, we’re going in the direction of super-fast user interactions, which is soon-to-be determinant of a good UX.
Screen isn’t everything
2017 won’t be a year of Virtual Reality (VR). However, in 2016 we got a clear signals that VR can and will be powerful competitor for screens. Voice Communication Systems like Siri, Cortana, Alexa and Google Assistant constantly evolve. It’s a significant factor that can even eliminate screens out of business. Google I/O 2017 and Android Go confirms that shift to voice-driven UI.
This year, we will start to design more and more interesting interactions between users and glasses (let’s call out Spectacles), users and mall space (Estimote), shops (Amazon Go) and between users and their houses (Google, Apple HomeKit) or their cars. Gradually, our canvas (for example in Photoshop) will evolve to become spaces around us — houses, railway stations, malls.
I often hear that all modern interfaces look the same. Roboto is the most popular font, Material Design is everywhere. And you know what? It’s good. Interface should be predictable. Navigation should be consistent. Why? Simply because acting in a well-known schemes creates a good user experience.
On the other hand — content can be valuable and beautiful. It’s the content that should delight. Design Systems are more and more mature and still evolve. Fluent Design from Microsoft is a change that takes the nearest future on board. It’s the first system that comes out of the screen. Also, Microsoft’s Holo Lens has a huge potential. Potential that is at our fingertips.
Times when personalization came down to a name in mail’s header are gone. In UX design, choice of appropriate content for users will have a huge impact. The same goes for automatization of user’s activities that optimize their experience. The ambassador of this currently is Conversational Design (Lark) but it’s also affected by an increasing Chatbot’s popularity.
A long time in a galaxy far, Adobe stopped developing and supporting Fireworks and slept through Interace Design’s revolution. This space was quickly filled by Sketch, which systematically raises UI standards. In 2016, leading Photoshop was overtaken by Sketch. That’s something.
Features available in Sketch, like symbols and Nested Symbols or Plugins such as Craft, Auto Layout and Launchpad makes UI design incredibly effective.
There is also Adobe Experience Design (XD) — an attempt of taking at least a part of a kingdom back. For now, it seems that confrontation with the new generation tools like Figma or Subform will be a huge challenge for Adobe. Meanwhile, from designers’ point of view, this toolkit revolution can can lead to…
Designer as a Project Owner
Let’s risk by predicting, that revolution will happen in 2017. It will be the biggest change in history in favour of UI/UX Designers who will keep their projects. What do I mean? Sooner or later, in prototyping and UI designing tools there will be “build a website” or “build an app” button. At least for simple projects first. There has been a significant change of Sketch’s file format making room for better extraction of elements and creating HTML and CSS structure. Maybe there will be a similar feature for mobile apps soon?
On our way of publishing more and more complicated projects we’ll have to face a business logic and back-end. Back-end can be effectively replaced with front-end in many cases (new Smashing Magazine without Back-End). What is more, database issues can be braced with UI tools (it’s already available in InVisions’ Craft Plugin).
Static or responsive project isn’t everything. Using tools like Principle, Flinto or Framer, we are able to design transitions, animations — micro-interactions and hopefully there’ll be an “Export” button here soon.
Yes, 2017 will be a great year for UX/UI design and there is one more reason of this — maturing market. Few years ago, when we were discusing mobile or web application design process, „user experience” was usually not on the table. Worth noticing — my local market is far behind the US, but still, that’s the case for a big part of the world. When I asked about UX Designers, managers and even boards stared at me like I came from this far galaxy. “That’s exactly why I’m here.” — I was responding.
And nowadays? Event though companies may still don’t know exactly what they need, they know who they need.
They need an UX Designer who got on the train.
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