February 14, 2017

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Embracing the Paradigm Shift in User Experience

Co - Autored by:  Jitesh Jumani

The advent of high-speed connectivity and online media services combined with the rise in the adoption of smartphones in the last decade, has resulted in an enormous growth in “Digitalization”. Gone are the days when a product could be flaunted as Usable, Intuitive, and Mobile friendly. Today it is rather essential for a product to have these qualities.

User Experience has gone far beyond user interface (UI), the design teams need to embrace this shift in #UX

This change is mainly happening due to the emerging trends such as Robotics, 3D Printing, Internet of Things (IoT), Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented / Mixed Reality (AR / MR), and Conventional UIs. In such a scenario, it is the essential to adopt these technologies without muddling the User Experience (UX).

Do not re-invent for Mobile and Web

Although we have several emerging technologies, products are still being developed using Responsive Web Design (RWD) to be compatible with handheld devices like smartphones and tablets, as well as traditional devices like desktops and laptops.

Design teams can leverage various Design Patterns and Libraries such as Google’s Material design guidelines, iOS design guidelines, etc… to get started without any haze. These pattern libraries empower design teams to provide a delightful and memorable user experience.

Time to think beyond clicks and taps

Until recent years, interaction design focused heavily on clicks. With the inclusion of capacitive touch screens in smartphones, initially designers replaced the clicks with taps. Taking a step further, designers began to exploit gestures and multi-touch interactions. But now, we are transitioning from two dimensional interfaces to Spatial dimensions with Augmented / Mixed Reality (AR / MR).

In fact, technology is also moving towards conversational interfaces where there is no need for a display / GUI. Google has introduced Google Assistant with Android 7 (Nougat), to compete with Apple Siri, Microsoft Cortana, and Alexa from Amazon’s Echo line of devices. Mark Zuckerberg and his team at Facebook gave an impressive Social VR demo recently, indicating that the shift in trend is imminent.

However, designing Conversational interfaces through automated conversational experience needs more elaborate research on daily activities and user workflows of the product to deliver a targeted yet stunning user experience. Voice enabled interactions require a better understanding of humans, for example, how do they talk, how do they pronounce, their age and so on… All of these factors impact the product’s experience.

Similarly, while designing for Augmented / Mixed Reality (AR / MR), it is essential to understand how users use their hands, their body language, posture, and personality based on their cultural background.

Adapt to the growth in Omni channel experience

This December, Amazon revealed the world’s most advanced shopping technology, “Amazon Go”, which will provide an all-around experience for users to shop sans checkout. It will provide an immersive shopping experience using deep learning algorithms and Sensors.

The line between the software and hardware is getting thinner as devices around us get more connected (IoT).

As an UX Expert, the need of the hour is to study these different pieces of the puzzle and combine these fragmented experiences into one unified and delightful user experience. Design thinking tools such as user journeys and prototypes will help the designers to come up with an effective and efficient solution.

Sticking to basics

Understanding the users better will still remain the key principle for designing any product or solution. However, the factors to be considered will shift in order to get a better view of the social, psychological, and cultural aspects of users. To be social responsible will be an underlined statement, as technologies will become an implicit aspect of our daily life.

Reference:

https://www.digitalgov.gov/resources/mobile-user-experience-guidelines-and-recommendations

http://gizmodo.com/mark-zuckbergs-absurd-social-vr-demo-was-brutal-1787493402

http://alistapart.com/article/all-talk-and-no-buttons-the-conversational-ui

https://uxmag.com/articles/whats-different-about-user-experience-design-for-the-internet-of-things