The Next Big Thing in Design: UX Design Trends of 2020

A new design language? Fancy animations? UX of self-driving cars? Or chatbots augmented in a virtual reality? :) These are cool things, and many people will list them as the hot UX design trends of 2020, but I think there have to be more out there. I think the next big step in design is product (or service) design.

Designers have to be able to find out what will be a successful product or service. As they mentioned in the Design Disruptors movie, it is not about how to design stuff (with the lean UX method it’s already solved), but what to design. What functions does a winning product have?

In the early days of web design, we were the guys who could draw a pretty skin for websites. Then the usability and UX revolution came, and we learned how to create easy to use interfaces, with iterative design and user testing.

With UX, we became a more important part of the product team, because we can help people to understand the product, and use it more often. It is a huge added value compared to a nice skin.

The new UX design trends: what to design?

Now that we are the guys who know the audience well, we should also tell what to build. What are the products and services that people really need on a given market? After usability comes usefulness.

Product design should mean more than the way we design a function. The most important part of product design is to find out what to design. What are people’s problems and needs? How can we find people’s pain points?

How can we identify these needs? If we can answer these questions we can generate more business opportunities. And that is the next big thing in design. To have a more strategic effect and help our businesses to build better products based on real human needs.

UX strategy, service design methods and Google Venture’s design sprint are a few answers to that question, but we don’t have a clear method yet.

This thing is the most important from the UX design trends I see now, and I’m happy that at our UX companywe are already working on these issues. We do a lot of interviewing and field research, competitor research, and UX strategy workshops.

UX trends 2020

  1. Research will have even more important role, but it is not enough to check the design’s usability, we should discover people’s problems and needs too.
  2. Until now we just gave advice about how to design something. From now on we should also talk about what to design.
  3. Design will have even more added value, and designers will be more respected and more important players. That also means we have to care more about organisational and communication issues. You often need to change the organisation if you want to build a great product. Building a product design team and establishing design culture is a good example.
  4. Designers will have to learn how to talk about strategic questions and take part in making the big decisions. We can’t keep our mouth shut any more.
  5. Product people, and managers on different levels should listen more to their designers, and let them use these new methods. We know our customers better and we are ready to create a huge competitive advantage for the company. Let us do that.
  6. Designers have to find a way to articulate our added value. It’s a problem for the whole design community. Besides the trendy look and feel (which is still a must have) we have to demonstrate how else we contribute to a project.

Did we miss any trends in this post that lie close to your heart? Let us know in the comment section!

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Dávid Pásztor

Founder and CEO of UX studio. Author of the book Product Design, TEDx speaker, one of Forbes 30 under 30. Enthusiastic about self-managing teams, new technologies and human-centered design.