The UX Playing Field In 2019

This post appeared first on HolaBrief’s Community blog.

With January almost behind us, I hope you still going strong with your New Year’s Resolutions. Whether you want to enter the field of UX, or are a seasoned expert looking to up his or her game, here are the latest trends you need to be aware of:

UX gets more specialized

When I first entered the UX job market several years ago, most business opportunities looked something like this:

  • UX/UI Designer, X company, Location

    • Key Responsibilities:

      • Information architecture

      • UI design

      • UX writing

      • Research

      • User testing

      • Front end / back end development

      • Content marketing

      • SEO

      • Social media

      • Google Analytics

Instead of looking for a UX or UI designer, many companies were also looking for a marketer, developer, researcher, and PR specialist, all in one. In other words, they wanted a “UX unicorn”. I am happy to report that 2019 will be the year where we start to see more specialized roles. A quick search on LinkedIn for “UX Writer” or “UX Researcher” is evidence that this trend is slowly, but surely, gaining ground.

“Hello Google” – UI meets Voice

This past holiday break, my grandparents came to visit. My grandpa has many talents, but let’s just say that using technology isn’t one of his biggest strengths. Every time he gets a new phone, computer, or gadget, I am usually the one who helps him learn how to use it. He recently got an Android phone and had the hardest time using Google Assistant. After several attempts, he was finally able to ask for the weather, only to end up mispronouncing the city where my parents live. Although my grandpa isn’t tech savvy, voice assistants aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, Deloitte Global predicts that the smart speaker industry will be worth $7 billion by the end of this year.

What does this mean for the UX industry? It means that in order to stay competitive, not only will UI designers be tasked to design screens for mobile applications, they will also be expected to dominate the topic of voice user interface. Design tools, like Adobe XD, even allows users to create prototypes that can be controlled by simply saying a few words.

“Mobile-first” becomes a thing of the past

“Desktop or mobile” seems to be an all too common mini debate, especially at the beginning of a new project. The answer often depends on the project, but generally speaking, UX/UI designers design mobile first. After all, by the end of this year it is expected that there will 2.5 billion smartphone users. However, with the plethora of technological devices that we have at our fingertips, UX designers need to create products and services that are device agnostic. Designs need to be capable of being displayed on a wide variety of screens. We live an era where users expect to start watching a TV show on their smartphone and finish it on their laptop.

Experiences get even more personal

UX designers can no longer get away by simply creating a product with a “one-size-fits-all” approach, they need to be able to create tailored experience for each and every user. Whether it is a new series on Netflix or a new song on Apple Music, I love how these platforms help me discover something new that is right in line with my personal tastes.

How does one make this happen? Machine learning, artificial intelligence, and research. After all, one cannot even begin to design personalized experiences if they don’t know for whom they are designing.

Swipes, drags, flicks, oh my

Tinder and its infamous “swipe right / swipe left” dynamic is the perfect example to illustrate what’s in store for this year. Our desire to consume content has caused the death of the home button on our phones, and in its place, has caused the rise of gestures. Due to this increase of screen space, the user is presented with more information than ever before.

UX designers will need to, in the right moments, use common human gestures to make as smooth of a digital experience as possible.

What trends are you most excited about and why? Share your comments down below

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Ethan Parry is 

... a Service Designer + UX Researcher at Hanzo. Parry frequently leads workshops around the world on topics such as Google Design Sprints, UX research, and service design. Parry also teaches UX and service design in several universities and bootcamps in Barcelona.