User Experience in 2020

| by Jakob Biesterfeldt
Crystal ball

Taking a peek into the future

Usability and User Experience (UX) have just grown up. Any serious online business knows that UX is an important quality criterion. Mobile UX may still be in its adolescence phase, however, it is on a good way. That’s where UX stands in 2015.

Where are we heading? What will UX look like 5 years from now and what part will UX play in corporations? We dare to forecast, taking into account all of the uncertainties inherent in the fast-paced online world.

What will UX look like 5 years from now and what part will UX play in corporations?

Fast-Forward to the Year 2020

July 1st 2020, a Wednesday, the beginning of another workday at RetailOnline.com. Viola F. makes coffee and then takes a look at the current performance figures of the online store. A well-arranged, interactive online dashboard displays the current UX data to the CXO (Chief Experience Officer). The success rate has once again increased over the last 4 weeks. For the key tasks which users perform on the website, the success rate has now reached an average of 93%. Time on Task, user ratings and the Net Promotor Score (NPS) are also on target. Viola compares the quantitative UX-KPI performance indicators with those of various countries, devices and user groups and correlates the data with other business metrics of the online and stationery market. With a couple of clicks on the dashboard she compares her own key figures with those of competitors.

UX Benchmarking of the Future

And then, a shock: a major competitor has exceeded RetailOnline.com in terms of several quantitative UX values. Viola immediately clicks further into the UX dashboard and, by way of user videos and screen recordings, clickstreams, quantitative metrics and community feedback, she is swiftly able to discover to which new feature of the competitor these values can be attributed. The experience team immediately constructs an interactive prototype, which incorporates the positive aspects of the competitor’s feature and invites their own user community to test it and provide feedback.

4 UX trends become visible in this short story:

  1. CXO – Chief Experience Officer

    Corporations have acknowledged (at the latest, by 2020) that UX will be a top priority. Within a huge range of websites, mobile websites and apps of all kinds, experience, in other words, a customer’s user experience with the company, has evolved into the last remaining unique sales proposition. The focus of online retailers has moved away from the acquisition of new customers by way of online marketing, SEO and SEM and the measurements of pure performance/analytics data, towards in favour of regular customers and recommendation rates. It’s about pleasing customers and motivating them to return. This is the only area offering growth potential. Every major online business operates with in-house experience teams. The role of external service providers will change significantly.

  2. Experience Dashboard

    User Experience is assessed continuously and quantitatively, just like everything else in the company. A company’s success is partly based on experience KPIs. Experience data fills a separate chapter in each annual report. Software tools and processes to continuously assess experience are mature and established. Experience management is largely automated. Purely qualitative usability tests are fully incorporated into a general approach for user experience assessment, which is quantitatively-focused and statistically-valid. Quantitative standards, which are valid throughout the company apply to all of the company’s customer touch points, online and offline.

  3. Data Integration

    Experience will not just arrive at C-level management. Experience teams will also be more extensive. They will be fully integrated with online marketing and business intelligence, and will cooperate with sales, acting as an integral part of corporate strategy. Experience KPIs are embedded in the cross-company collection and analysis of data. Competitors’ data will be tracked and evaluated, just as the company’s own touch point. The effectiveness and ROI of experience measurement & management can be traced at any time.

  4. Agility

    Experience data is available in real time. It can be responded to changes in the market immediately and with agility. New features and design changes will be submitted to feedback sessions with users within a very short timespan.

Additional UX trends for 2020

Apart from these predictable trends, there are a number of other developments, which have already cast their shadow forward and will significantly impact the future of User Experience Management:

  • Technological Diversity:
  • New touch points such as wearables, smart watches, smart or VR glasses embedded in augmented realities, as well as other modes of interaction, such as language, gestures or automations, result in additional complexity and therefore an additional requirement to standardize and automate experience management.

  • Integration:
  • Nowadays, talk about mobile shopping merely represents the tip of an iceberg in terms of the future possibilities of interaction available to a customer when dealing with a seller. The variety of user contexts and possibilities to interact with customers will continue to increase. Complexity will increase: whether users are browsing on office computers, on smartphones in the subway or by way of a smartwatches, while they are standing in front of a product in a brick and mortar store.

  • Research Technology:
  • Already today, new research methods are being developed with varying degrees of success. An example would be the fully automatic recognition of a user’s facial expressions – is he stressed, happy, or annoyed? They can eventually be supplemented by physiological and neurological research methods. A smartwatch could easily measure the pulse or the resistance of a user’s skin. Additional smartphone or wearables-based measurement data could play a role, such as ambient noise or geo-local data.

UX in 2020: Taking a peek into the future of UX