From time to time, every couple of years, a new generation of internet users comes along and basically dictates UX changes. Sometimes they’re subtle and unnoticeable and sometimes they’re huge and unpredictable. When it comes to 2018, it appears that this year will also introduce some new trends when it comes to user experience. Here is what you should keep your eye on if you want to offer the ultimate web experience to your users.
Content is one of those elements that never actually changes, it just drops out of focus once in a while. Well, in 2018, the focus will be back on this essential part of SEO because Google’s algorithms are becoming more and more intricate. You have to offer something genuine, informative and useful if you want Fred (the name of the latest core algorithm released about a year ago) to notice you.
In fact, content is such a lucrative part of UX that it has spawned a fairly new job title called UX writer. Though the name sounds attractive and new, it is actually the same old copywriting work except that it’s completely focused on user experience. As Kristina Bjoran from UX Booth states it is “the act of writing copy for user-facing touchpoints.” So, it’s all about the text that the user directly interacts with.
The next thing we’re going to look at is navigation. New generations of users seem to like obvious, shepherding navigation that will easily point them towards their desired content. It makes sense, right? This year, designers will still be focusing on creating bigger, more distinctive navigation buttons and clever, non-intrusive elements like the sticky navbar.
Simple, linear navigation is all the rage this year and this trend will, no doubt, continue. Take a look at how some of these best web designs approached the concept of navigation and managed to stay on top. Feudi di San Gregorio, for example, offers simple, story-driven navigation that is quite easy to maneuver, yet quite beautiful.
One of the most popular new technologies that is sweeping through the world of web design is conversational interface or, simply put, chatbots. So many web pages have their own, personalized chatbots on their landing pages and users seem to enjoy them. Chris Hughes from Chatbots Magazine (he may be a bit biased when you consider the name) believes that in 2018 chatbots will finally live up to their potential and become more useful in dealing with the users. He believes that they’re quite underappreciated at the moment.
So, what will advanced chatbots be able to do? Well, experts seem to agree that machine learning will lead to more human bots with natural conversational abilities. Xiaoice is a good example of an advanced 'social' bot that learns about the user and establishes an emotional connection. Further development of these bots will affect UX in ways we can’t even imagine.
Safety on the web is certainly a huge issue, especially nowadays. Big companies like Facebook are now being questioned for their data leak and more and more people are worrying about their online security. Right now, most authentication processes are time-consuming and not quite reliable. That might change in 2018 with new, simple UX ideas.
Near the end of 2017, Apple introduced one of their latest features on iPhone X - face recognition. In a way, this marked a new chapter in online authentication processes and triggered new ideas. Biometric authentication will become a new standard online as well as RBA (Risk-Based Authentication) that observes your behavior and decides what level of authentication is needed. These options will massively improve user experience in the future.
Augmented reality will also be making a comeback in 2018. AR is the ultimate UX, combining real world and virtual into one, according to the user’s desires. The technology became quite popular back in 2016 with the release of the Pokemon Go game that had people running around capturing little, virtual monsters.
Now, while the virtual reality has taken over the gaming industry, augmented reality found its place on the web. An article on Evening Standard cleverly notes that one of the main reasons why AR might beat VR, in the long run, is the price. Virtual reality demands complex and costly devices and the room to use them in. Augmented reality can be applied to any smartphone or wearable device. They predict that 2021 will be an even better year for AR than this one, so it’s clearly a promising technology.
In the end, we can conclude that the UX will become a lot more user-friendly in the future, carrying out numerous complex processes to come up with simple solutions. That seems quite normal as users don’t need to see the intricate mechanisms and admire them. All they care about is the final product. Results always speak for themselves.