If you don’t like change, you’re in the wrong business.
Digital Design innovations are changing rapidly, and it’s important to keep an eye on what’s just a passing trend or what actually becomes tomorrow’s mainstream. We need to know the relevant new UI tools and technology that can help us creatives solve business problems in the most useful way. There is a huge opportunity to use any and every new technology tool out there to support innovation and truly transform our future world for the better.
1. Big Data, AI, Machine Learning:
A deeper level of personal analytics through IoT products will explode in 2020. From sensors to wearables and smartphones, more data points about humans will be collected. Being able to utilize effective predictive analytics will have a profound effect on every industry. We will see wider adoption and a growing list of affordable providers that will start offering more tailored applications and services for specific or specialized tasks. This will mean no company will have any excuse left to not use AI. What does this mean for creating the next-gen User Experiences? The opportunities are endless: More helpful chatbots, customized personal AI voice assistants, robust actualized health monitoring devices, digital twinning for predictive analytics, smarter SaaS products….the list is endless. CTO of a very successful data management company, Ettienne Reinecke, said, “With real-time analytics, pattern matching, and the computing power we now have, we can look at words, we can look at sentence constructs. We can even look at someone’s tone, the frequency of voice dips, and, to find problems, start matching that up with things like sentiment analysis. We can detect them by just listening to the words, or analyzing the tone of a conversation, that we’ve got to inject a senior person into a contact center interaction.” I like the sound of that.
The physical world will start to blend with the digital in 2020. VR (Virtual Reality) and XR (Extended Reality) will finally move away from just being a fringe technology towards a mainstream interaction. My Facebook friend, Robert Scoble says, “The 2020s are gonna be whack!” With companies like Varjo driving innovations with a compelling vision of “revolutionizing reality,” we are excited to see what the next form of more immersive digital experiences will feel like and if they will help users find what they are looking for more easily. We’ve heard of users testing platforms that allowed them to control the computer with just THINKING about interactions. Crazy. The opportunities for the next-gen VR/XR platforms are endless: Take any physical space – a meeting room, office, shop, a seat in a stadium – and plug in a limited series of technologies to transform it into a virtual environment that can create any range of experiences. And training can have a whole new set of emergent interfaces. VR/XR is predicted to be a $160 billion industry by 2023 by Statista research. Sign me up for that.
3. The blurring of SaaS and marketing platforms
Cloud computing, aka software as a service, has been on the rise and, in 2020, is very likely to continue this trend. But even looking beyond this, the antiquated idea that marketing should be separate from SaaS products will fade away. A deeper understanding of user experiences will show that these two platforms need to blend together into a cohesive, unified platform. Users will demand more completely connected environments and functionality. The tech industry has been talking about different technologies, including the cloud, data, AI, and security in unique, separate silos. But 2020 is the year that will change that. Reinecke said: “Next year, we’ll see complete, end-to-end computing come to the fore, bringing to life fully intelligent environments that are completely connected and that will have a huge impact on the world we live in.”
4. Email designers ignore Outlook
The glut of rendering issues for email on Outlook has held-back email designs to front-end table-styled code used a decade ago. We see an incredible need to evolve email design to be on-par with digital design techniques used throughout the web. This means that email designers will start ignoring the Outlook users of 2.5% and create a non-table styled email design with the overall goal of increasing engagement from the predominantly modern email client. Let’s take a lesson from Steve Job’s tactic on ignoring Flash, and let’s successfully evolve email design to overlook Outlook (pun intended!).
5. Personalized and Predictive medicine
Tracking and cataloging characteristics about individual patients, analyzing that data to predict the patient’s individual risk, predicting which treatment in which individual will be most effective, and then intervening before the outcome occurs is essentially what predictive medicine is about. Unfortunately, traditional medicine and drug companies’ success has been built by treating issues AFTER they have been diagnosed. So the idea that we can prevent medical issues does not jibe with the current medical community. 23 and Me was legally prohibited by the FDA from allowing genetics-based risk functionality to be used in their product. Luckily, they have been able to allow this in their product since 2015. But think about how much data has been collected by healthcare companies on a titanic scale; every vital sign, medical chart, and radiology image from every clinic, pharmacy, and hospital collectively represent only a tiny fraction of data points available for analysis. We are looking forward to seeing how data-based medicine will shape user experiences with tracking devices and how that will increase the role of data security.
I’m excited to see a new wave of innovation in action over the next year and beyond. And I am even more excited to be able to design interfaces that help users discover, learn, and find what they are looking for in more evolved, next-gen experiences.