UX 2020 Design Trends 

As we welcome the new year, we’re also welcoming more User Experience (UX) design projects here at the agency, and we expect 2020 to be a year where UX only becomes more important in the world of marketing.

We sat our User Experience Director, Matt Montgomery, down to discuss what he believes are going to be the most important trends in UX in the coming year. But, before we get there, let’s recap what UX is and why it’s so important.

What is UX Design?

According to a study from the Oxford Journal Interacting With Computers, the goal of UX in business is to “improve customer satisfaction and loyalty through the utility, ease of use and pleasure provided in the interaction with a product.”

Simple enough. However, in terms of how UX design actually achieves that, it’s all about understanding how people interact with a brand and its products on its website and other digital platforms—like apps, software, tools and more—by analyzing their usage and optimizing through visual design for better results. Interaction design, visual design, usability and human-computer interaction are only some of the disciplines that make up UX design.

Because UX is a human-centered concept (putting the human perspective first in all stages of the design process), one of the key aspects of the discipline is performing research to understand how users think and what their needs are. To highlight what the process of UX might look like when redesigning a website, Matt offered three tactics typically used during the research phase.

  1. Interview the User: One of the best ways to discover a user's needs is to simply interview them. In an interview, you can dig into a user’s opinion of a brand or product, discover what it is the user needs and uncover what can be done differently to satisfy them. Interviews are a great way to obtain qualitative data from users, whether it be face-to-face, phone calls or even email interviews. The data you acquire will be more accurate than surveying.  

  2. Usability Studies: Usability studies are an excellent way to discover problems as they happen. Oftentimes, users are asked to go through the process of purchasing a product or navigating a website, which will reveal where they have their frustrations. This allows researchers to pinpoint the problem and use that feedback to better the product, site or brand. 

  3. Analytics and Heat Mapping: Today, the world of marketing relies heavily on data and analytics to better serve and to identify the “what over the why.” Analytics, provide quantitative information containing what social pages people interact with the most, website traffic, bounce rate, click-through rate, where users are, who they are and what their interests and behaviors are. Heat mapping is a unique way to track what content users are interacting with on a given web page. This includes how far they scroll, what elements they click on and how users are engaging with important calls to action. It is an invaluable tool in optimizing websites when every conversion matters.

Top 5 UX 2020 Design Trends 

Finally, Matt provided us with his top 5 trends for UX design in 2020.

  1. Personalization is Key: Personalization is a key factor in being able to reach users. In 2020, more sites will try to cater to personalized personas as a way to meet the user’s needs and wants. 

  2. UX is a “Team Sport”: Gone is the day of the solo designer. In 2020, great UX requires a talented team of cross-disciplined individuals and minds. It is imperative for teams to brainstorm together and develop impactful ideas, strategies and plans.

  3. Mobile E-commerce Will Continue to Rule the Day: 2019’s Black Friday purchases resulted in 2/3 of all sales on mobile devices. Therefore, it is critical for brands to have a strong online presence and not just be mobile-friendly, but be mobile-first. With more people purchasing on phones, social media will continue to dominate the way users handle the web. 

  4. The Rise in Inclusive Design: In 2019, 4.8 billion people actively used the web, which is more than 58 percent of the global population, so it is safe to say that the internet plays a major part in our day-to-day lives. With that being said, brands need to be inclusive and accessible for all. Even today, brands struggle with accurately providing accessibility for those with disabilities. With that being said, online accessibility and inclusive design will be a major factor for UX in 2020 to provide website accessibility for all, making sure anyone can connect. 

  5. Increase in Data-Driven Approaches: The process of creating a user-friendly product relies heavily on data-driven results to better understand the audience’s needs and wants. Modern technology and research methods allow us to analyze data from where one lives to their favorite hobby. In 2020, data-driven approaches will continue to increase, not only in UX but agencies and corporations alike. UX can fold in data results to develop and guide specific business strategies that are tailored to answer the question, “What are users asking for?”

Importance of Teaching UX Design 

Matt will take these design trends into the classroom this year. In his third year of teaching Interaction Design to graphic design students at the University of Tennessee, Matt aims to share what he has learned through his years of UX to create an energized experience for all of his students. The class focuses on teaching graphic design for new technologies, which in turn, provides skills on how to develop designs that work for other people. 

Students are exposed to human-centered design approaches and how to take data results and improve designs to what the user wants and develop patterns that work. “The most rewarding part of teaching is when students reach that ‘ah-ha’ moment,” Matt said.