UX design trends for 2018

4 min read
Raffaela Rein
  •  Jan 4, 2018
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One of the biggest UX design trends might surprise you—it’s a UX position we’ll see more and more recruiters looking to fill this year.

2017 was an exciting year for UX, with smarter personalization, artificial intelligence, and virtual reality among the hottest buzzwords.

Last year also brought several disruptive technologies to the fore. It’s impossible to talk about 2017 without mentioning Bitcoin.

As the initial hype dies down, 2018 will focus on accessibility—turning cryptic buzzwords into real products and experiences that actually make a difference to our daily lives.

Related: Our 10 biggest posts of 2017

Everyone is boarding the UX train.Twitter Logo This year more than ever, user-friendly design will be the driving force behind innovation and business success.

The Pocket design team

So without further ado, here are the top 5 UX design trends for 2018:

1. Usability engineering is the new UX

2017 brought with it some key disruptive technologies—with an actual potential for mass adoption. 30 million homes now have voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Microsoft’s Cortana. Bitcoin has risen above the $10k mark, and Blockchain is seeing wider and wider adoption—including rentals, gaming, and freelancer payments.

We expect big things from 2018. This could be the year that these technologies go from potential to actual mass adoption. And what does mass adoption require? You guessed it: usability that’s suitable for the masses. It needs to be so user-friendly that a preschooler could do it.

“Usability engineering is the new UX.”

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But we’ve got a long way to go. It took me more than 72 hours to get my crypto set up, and my Alexa is underutilized.

Given the technical nature of these technologies, it’s not enough to just understand experience design. More and more, UXers will need to get hands-on with coding in order to deliver outstanding experiences on these disruptive platforms.

2. User focus is high on the CEO agenda

Design-driven businesses have outperformed the stock market by a whopping 228% over the last 10 years. It’s no longer enough to just sell a product or service—companies must truly engage with their customers.

Time and time again, I’m told that one of the biggest barriers UX teams face when creating a great customer experience is a lack of internal understanding.

2018 may finally break this barrier down. I’m seeing a shift in this internal mindset, as we’ve been asked by several CEOs of multinational brands to come and train their entire management team on UX. I’m excited to see this UX mindset shift in the boardroom drip down into greater products and faster growing companies.

3. The UI/UX unicorn myth lives on

66% of job posts for UX designers require UI skills. Of course, for those within the industry, this only serves to perpetuate what we call the UI/UX unicorn myth. Despite much explanation and countless attempts to unblur the lines between UI and UX, companies just don’t seem to listen.

At the same time, few UX designers feel truly comfortable taking on the coveted UX/UI unicorn role. What does this mean for 2018? Well, this misconception clearly isn’t going anywhere, so UX designers will have to rise to the challenge.

“User-friendly design will be the driving force behind innovation and business success.”

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We’ll see an increasing need for versatility, and those UXers who up-skill and add new strings to their bow will be highly sought after. If you fancy becoming a UX unicorn, InVision has created the perfect UI for UX designers course together with CareerFoundry, which will get you up to speed in just one month.

4. The rise of voice and design without interface

It’s clear that voice is becoming more commonplace in our daily lives. As I already mentioned, the likes of Alexa and Cortana can now be found in over 30 million households!

At the same time, the rise of voice is driving another trend: design without interface. This concept is becoming increasingly popular, and we can expect to see it cropping up more and more in 2018.

Good UX eliminates friction points.Twitter Logo If you look at how technology has evolved, it’s all about finding the path of least resistance. In many cases, touchscreens have replaced the mouse. And voice is slowly eliminating the need to type, or even use your hands at all.

Related: Are these friction points lurking in your app?

According to Gartner, by 2020, 30% of all web browsing sessions will be carried out without a screen. As we lead up to this reality, 2018 will focus more on “interfaceless” design to create seamless interactions and user experiences.

If you want to prepare for the voice-first era, here are 5 actionable tips for your first voice design project.

“Design-driven businesses have outperformed the stock market by 228% over the last decade.”

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5. UX researcher: The hottest new job title

The fifth and final trend for 2018 highlights another shift in the UX job market. We’ll see more recruiters looking for UX researchers—completely separate from the UX designer role.

Generally speaking, research tends to fall under the UX design umbrella. However, as companies increasingly recognize the importance of UX, they’ll be more willing to invest in specialists.

As a result, we can expect to see more specific job titles emerging—especially that of UX researcher, which represents such a key step in the UX design process.

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