Trends

3 UX Trends Brands Need to Know

By Kate Salkin, Senior Interactive Designer

March 15, 2017

Everyone wants to create a more robust digital experience for their brand. The best way to do that? Make sure you and your agency partner are up on the latest user experience (UX) trends and find a way to integrate these digital solutions into your brand’s portfolio now. Here are 3 UX trends happening in the digital space and how these trends influence what you should look for and expect from your agency:

 

1. Responsive is an assumption, not a selling point.

That’s right. Gone are the days where anyone should ooh and ah over a website’s ability to adjust content based on the device it is viewed on. It is 2017 and absolutely everyone should assume that a newly developed website will have responsive capabilities. Why?

  • According to the web analytics company StatCounter, mobile web usage officially exceeded desktop usage in the later quarter of 2016.
  • Google finds responsive websites easier to crawl and, as a result, gives responsive designs an SEO rankings boost.
  • Responsive design is future proof. No matter what size device comes out in the future, a responsive website will adjust accordingly for it, saving you time and money on website maintenance.

These three reasons alone suggest that developing a website for responsive is a key factor in the ongoing success of your website’s performance.

In fact, with the ever-growing trends of digital personalization and data collection, the term “responsive” is likely to take on a new meaning in years to come. There is a growing discussion about age-responsive design where the content itself adjusts based on the age of the person looking at it. For example, if an older user is visiting a text-heavy website, the site might respond by making the typeface bigger and removing the neon colors surrounding it on load, making the reading experience easier for the older user. Or if a younger person is looking at a music website, it might change the headline and imagery from a story about James Taylor to a story about Justin Bieber.

Agencies and clients should start to have these forward-thinking conversations with one another as new website opportunities start to move into development. Responsive website development as we know it today should be considered the rule, not the exception.

 

2. Build experiences, not websites. 

So often we expect to extend a campaign or brand message digitally via a website, app, or interactive tool. While these communication platforms provide powerful ways to measure user engagement in a budget-friendly manner, these are also the simplest and least creative two-way communication channels to create a digital experience. With the capacity to put Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technologies in virtually anything, we can create digital and interactive experiences that go far beyond the screen and allow us to tell a brand story or expand on a campaign’s message in immensely more compelling and unique ways. Why let the screen tie us down?

With some of the largest and most powerful companies heavily invested in virtual and augmented reality technologies—Facebook, Google and Sony, to name a few—financial trends suggest that digital experiences beyond your desktop aren’t going away anytime soon. A website helps tell and sell a brand objective, but we need to make sure we are open as both an agency and a client to creating experiences for our audience, not websites.

 

3. Let conversational UX methods do the work for you.

One of the known faults of a website is its inability to create a robust two-way conversation. You present content and if the user responds accordingly, you can assume that the site is doing its job. Regardless of what a company website is looking to achieve, it can sometimes feel difficult to create the engagement needed to produce desired outcomes. To solve this, many companies are turning to conversational UX methods. These methods include messaging platforms, digital assistants (think Alexa and Siri), and chatbots—all of which create an unparalleled sense of intimacy and customer service.

In physical form, chatbots are most often known as the chat screen that pops up when you first visit a website. This is usually accompanied by a friendly looking avatar and an invitation to interact with it. “Can I help you find something today?” it asks. While it is presented as though there is someone on the other end of the computer, these automated bots are programmed using rules to try and help you find what you are looking for.

Perhaps this doesn’t sound too impressive yet, but just think about the possibilities these bots could provide in the future. Imagine searching within a website for a certain pair of shoes and when you finally find the pair you love you see that your size is out of stock. What now? With a chatbot you could write “order the Brand X shoes, size 8, when they are back in stock.” The bot can return a receipt of purchase and the transaction is complete.

To see another fun example of the potential of chatbots, watch David Marcus, Vice President of Messaging Products at Facebook, speak about how conversational UX will transform the future of Messenger:

Conversational UX methods are also a fantastic mechanism for immediate feedback. If a lot of people are asking where something is on your website, you know that your website needs a structural or content review. If people are asking if a certain ingredient is present in your product, you know that the presence of this ingredient is important to your audience. The opportunity for continuous improvement is endless.

So what does this mean for your brand today? While the growth of conversational UX methods—and chatbots in particular—are limitless, these technologies even today provide an opportunity to better know your audience as they engage with your brand’s digital presence. This results in unprecedented, valuable feedback as well as the opportunity to provide better customer service. At the very least, discussing how your brand can integrate conversational interfaces in its digital portfolio is a worth-while endeavor to explore with your agency.

Between the term “responsive” evolving to take on a whole new meaning, digital work moving beyond the screen, and the rise of conversational UX methods, a lot is changing in the digital space. At a time when technological capabilities are evolving at the speed of light, it is important to ask: is your agency ready?

Want to learn more about conversational UX? Email us at jjelak@stephanbrady.com. We can chat about this stuff all day long!


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