It’s that time of year again — that strange in-between when everyone’s looking back and looking forward at the same time. Agencies around the world churn out lists about the best of last year or try to predict what we’re heading into. This year, however, there’s been an eerie absence of these lists in our feeds. Is it too early to tell? Was 2017 such an overwhelming year that no-one can bear to look at it, now that it’s over? Does 2018 feel so uncertain that the crystal ball is just fog and nuclear buttons? Who knows. Luckily for us, we’re neither looking back nor predicting the future.
Instead, we made a little wishlist of things that we hope will happen in 2018.
Who knows, maybe you can help us make some of these wishes come true?
P.S. If you haven’t read our wishlist from last year, it’s pretty fun to skim through and check what came true and what didn’t.
Our wishlist for 2018
- An overhaul of the iOS home screen
- Fewer buzzwords
- More “human” digital services
- The end of the silent web
- Smart “dumb” TV
- More personality in visual design
- “Accept cookies” popups disappear
- Better prototyping tools for using data
- More inventive ways of interacting with websites
1. I wish for an overhaul of the iOS Home screen
The heart of iOS, the home screen, has hardly changed since it was first introduced in 2007. And while 90% of you are probably yelling “DON’T FIX WHAT AINT BROKE” right now — we’re beginning to feel that maybe, just maybe, the iOS home screen has played its part.
Look at your home screen — how do you interact with it in your daily life? Is the current solution really the best one? Maybe it’s time for apps to escape the confines of their icon and find new, more useful homes in the interface. We’re ready to let go of the comforting blanket of familiarity —here’s to hoping the winds of change blow in 2018.
2. I wish for fewer buzzwords
Every year we think we’ve reached a saturation point in empty regurgitation of buzzwords, and every year we’re proven wrong. Articles, reports, presentations, even conversations seem to follow the same trite formula:
- Pick a buzzword (blockchain! machine learning! augmented reality!)
- Choose a stance (for! against! ambivalent!)
- Add some numbers or an industry (10 reasons why blockchain will fail! How machine learning will revolutionise the sofa industry!)
A bunch of robots could be writing these, for all we know. We get it — new technology is exciting, it’s not surprising that everyone wants to talk about it. But maybe it’s time we stopped picking the buzzword first, and focus on substance over hype.
3. I wish for more “human” digital services
2017 has seen a lot of discussion about the digital services that we use. From the unforeseen consequences of fake news to the tragic, distancing effects of algorithms, the digital landscape seems much more cold and cynical than before. It’s almost hard to remember that services like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram started out with the mission of connecting people.
The focus on human connection has shrunk as other aspects of the services have grown — and we’re missing the value that drew us to them in the first place. But maybe this is a golden opportunity for new players to get into the market? Or will the giants to reinvent themselves? Regardless of how it happens, it would be nice see digital services returning to a happier place this the coming year.
4. I wish for the end of the silent web
We’re the first to admit we give sound way too little thought in our work. Unless you’re building a game or campaign site, adding sound to a design just doesn’t come to mind. But subtle, well executed audial feedback can be one of the most satisfying elements in an experience (Great examples: typing in ommwriter, “waiting for user to type sound” in messenger, the “woosh” when you send a mail in the iOS mail app).
Facebook has even released an open source kit for adding sounds to your prototypes — there’s really no excuse for us not to be playing around more with sound. Lets pave the way for a noisier 2018!
PS. check out this podcast episode for an inspirational dive into sound and digital experiences
5. I wish for a smart “dumb” TV
Being able to choose what you want to watch and when you want to watch it is why streaming is so awesome and so successful. Being able to binge 10 episodes of a masterpiece like altered carbon on demand must truly be one of the highlights of living in the 21st century.
However, there is something to be said about the benefits of it’s predecessor — good old “dumb” linear TV. There is something in the effortlessness of zapping through a couple of channels that can feel a bit comforting in the age of endless choices. The popularity of the stories format suggests that there is an interest in this kind of personalised video “feed”. Would it work for longer format shows? Maybe not. But it would be really interesting to see some of the streaming sites play around with the format.
P.S This article from last year delves deeper into this subject.
6. I wish for more personality in design
For a long time, we’ve focused on making experiences as usable as possible. While that’s a wonderful thing, it’s often come at the expense of expressing individuality. We’re not talking about big, boring projects where designers weren’t allowed to have a soul: even personal portfolios and smaller sites, where there should be much more freedom to experiment, seem to play it really safe.
There’s a reason why the Gucci Gifts website is our favourite site of the year — it’s gloriously bananas, it’s unique, it makes us feel. There’s something to be said about that. So maybe the question of 2018 shouldn’t just be “is it usable” — but “does it move you?”.
7. I wish that “accept cookies” popups disappear
With the advent of GDPR regulations, it seems like we’re on the verge of another onslaught of popups, with dense conditions or descriptions that few of us really understand.
I mean, we thought we understood that cookies save info about us, yet somehow the “accept cookie” popup forgets that we’ve accepted it AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN. There has to be a better way than just shoving information in a user’s face and expecting them to take a stand.
8. I wish for better prototyping tools for using data
Designers have gotten a lot of interesting prototyping tools in the last few years — a revamped Framer, Invision studio, Origami. And while these are great, it feels like the focus for these tools is often on being able to show cool animations than testing out different flows. There is still no straightforward way of saving user choices from one part of the prototype to another, nor an simple way of testing out how a design will look with lots of different data(though the craft data plugin comes pretty close). And what should you use if you want to design a push notification framework?
While we’re sure a lot of these possibilities are being explored, at the current stage they feel too complex or too inadequate. But with the current rate of progress, maybe we’re not far from seeing something like it in 2018.
9. I wish for more inventive ways of interacting with websites
Ok, this is really just a thinly veiled wish for people to stop with the scrolljacking already. Really. Just stop. Please. If you’re gonna do some “cool transition” — think up something new. What other aspects could you use? The microphone? The sound? The spacebar? I would rather navigate a site by screaming at my computer than sit through another tired ass parallax floaty image “inventive” full page scrolljacking “experience”.
So there you go, all our wishes for 2018! What was your favourite part of this list? Let us know in the comments!
I work as a UX Designer at Apegroup where I help companies create beautiful digital things. We are a design and technology studio in Stockholm. Want to know more about how we work with design? Read more at our website.
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