3 UX Design Trends to Watch For in 2016

By: Risto Lahdesmaki, CEO of Idean

The idea that creating a great user experience (UX) is the single best strategy to drive sales and/or build and maintain a loyal customer base has gained currency across the business world over the past few years. While the term “UX” is often used to denote excellence in the way users interact with mobile or desktop apps, an important part of the meaning, the definition extends to all other aspects of the user and customer experience as well.

As technology evolves, it is becoming increasingly clear that achieving excellence in UX will require a design strategy that goes beyond the on-screen customer transaction to encompass all aspects of the interaction between a user and a product or brand. Here are three UX design trends to watch in the coming months:



  • Design that transcends screens: User interactions within apps or on screens have been the focus for designers, but as technology evolves, designers will need to deliver a great UX beyond apps and screens. Wearable products and artificial intelligence provide developers with new ways to interact with users. Machine-human interactions that were once fodder for sci-fi entertainment like “Her” and “The Minority Report” are fast becoming an everyday reality as the consumerization of technology grows. User demand is closing the gap between leading-edge concepts and marketable products at a faster pace.
  • Creating a narrative by design: Before innovators can bring a new concept to market, they have to find a way to tell their story effectively. In years past, research and development houses existed to bring new ideas to fruition, identifying concepts, developing ideas, testing prototypes and then selling investors and executives on the promise of the concept. Today, innovators are more likely to pitch their ideas directly to investors or executives to obtain development support, which means the onus is on them to create a compelling narrative. Design has a crucial role to play in this process: User-driven storytelling that allows users to experience cutting-edge products in a virtual context can be incredibly effective.
  • Design skills for all: Design is baked into human DNA — the ability to conceptualize and create is what allows humankind to survive and thrive on a planet that presents many existential challenges. And as design becomes more central to business success, company leaders and HR visionaries will increasingly understand that it is essential to virtually any role and start treating it as a core skill that employees require in order to express themselves effectively. Just as presentation skills are widely taught to help employees in non-sales roles, employees who aren’t primarily designers will learn the fundamentals of design so they can do their jobs better and communicate more efficiently.


The common thread driving these UX design trends is the increasingly prominent role design plays in delivering a great experience for customers, colleagues, investors and any user who needs to understand a new concept or use a product effectively. In the coming years, more companies will realize the importance of excellence in UX beyond the context of apps and screens, which will mean more challenges — and opportunities — for design teams.


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