Happenings in 2023 and how they may shape our future UX work

Ketut Sulistyawati
Somia CX Thoughts
Published in
3 min readDec 13, 2023
Illustration created using Dall-E
Illustration created using Dall-E

Just when the pandemic transitioned to endemic, and we might thought that finally things were going back to normal, the world has proven us wrong. From financial slowdown, tech winter, air pollution, and war, to advancement in new tech…. 2023 is surely not a mundane year.
How would these happenings shape our profession and what do we need to be prepared for the years to come?

Here are our top 6 observations — some are more relevant to the context of South East Asia, particularly Indonesia.

1. Calibration in the profession

It is depressing whenever we hear the news of layoffs and downsizing happening in our profession. But this does not mean UX is doomed, it is just a sign that the profession is going through some calibration, after a too-much-growth-too-fast in recent years.

Instead of mourning, let’s ask ourselves — what lessons can we learn from this? How can we adapt to the changing landscape and needs?

2. The rise of new tech

This year, we have seen the accelerated growth of Generative AI and immersive hardware like the Vision Pro. As researchers and designers, we need to navigate how to incorporate them into our work.

How would this tech shift the previously established design patterns and principles? What new variables do we need to consider in our research & design?

3. Beyond craft

Although conversations around how-to’s, crafts, and tools are still lingering, we observed more conversations arising around the topic of strategic UX, business acumen, stakeholder management, and systems thinking. This is not surprising as maturity in the profession is advancing.

How might we increase our capacity & capabilities in these areas? How can we collaborate and better integrate other’s expertise when required?

4. From private to public

Although hiring is slowing down in the tech sector, we have seen increasing demand in traditional corporations, government, and public sectors. As the organizational culture in this space is quite different from tech startups, it requires different ways of interacting and managing diverse stakeholders. Also, the nature of work can be more complex as it touches on services & systems with inherited legacy.

How might we build versatility for this transition? How should we navigate in an organization where design is not yet deeply rooted?

5. Being responsible

With so many social issues emerging this year, from air pollution, and waste issues, to war — it triggered deeper thinking in our design community. Topics around inclusive design, ethics, sustainability, and humanity, became important — beyond just business profitability.

How might we consider the unintended consequences of our work, include non-usual / underrepresented target groups, or incorporate longer-term thinking & sustainability?

6. Self-awareness & mindfulness

On the “softer” side, we also observed emerging discussions around self-awareness, defining our scope or practice, and aligning work to personal core values.

When the world is moving so fast, and FOMO is no longer mentally sustainable — instead of letting the external forces control us, how might we look into self, reflect, and consider what is meaningful and aligned with our purpose?

Mindfulness, illustration created using Dall-E