The UX design industry is developing faster than ever and this trend won't slow down in 2024. Technologies such as AR, VR, and Generative AI, are emerging. We're witnessing a shift towards more ethical ways of delivering a user experience.
If we could redefine UX for 2024, it would be just that. We’re using emerging technologies to develop a personalized experience for the users. In the meantime, be ethically correct about it. We are at the forefront of this transformative era. So, we must pause and contemplate more significant questions.
What lies ahead in the industry? What are the fundamental UX trends shaping the upcoming year? What’s happening in UX design in 2024? Are we doing the right things? What’s important to us as UX professionals?
UX design trends in 2024
While exploring ideas for staying ahead, delving into current UI trends is a valuable exercise. Maintaining the relevance of our products and visual language for the 21st century is crucial. Yet, we shouldn’t limit our focus to the UI. Contemplating the function of UX in 2024 is equally important. The insights gained will significantly influence our creative processes.
Here are 5+1 UX design trends that’ll dominate 2024
- Demand for Generalist UXers
- Generative AI and Its Impact on the UX Process
- Growth Design & Hyper-Personalization
- Ethical Importance in the Experience
- Inclusivity as a Mindset
- + 1 Innovation Design
1. Demand for Generalist UXers
In 2023, mass layoffs occurred in tech companies due to global instabilities. These layoffs continue to happen together with hiring freezes across different industries.
Consequently, there is a need for UX professionals in the market. Yet, current circumstances spotlight a specific kind of professional: the generalist UXer. It differs from specialized roles like visual designer, interaction designer, and information architect. UX generalists can understand and combine different aspects of user experience in their practice.
Generalists tend to succeed in UX due to dealing with wicked problems, defined as “a social or cultural problem that’s difficult or impossible to solve because of its complex and interconnected nature.”
As UX generalists, professionals can work on various design projects. They can gather more career opportunities and view issues from different perspectives. Thus naturally switching to a specialist role over time with accumulated practice.
At the same time, while professionals try to meet market demands, they have to make their mental health a priority. A study from last year shows that 42.1% of tech employees are working under the risk of burnout or already experiencing it. More responsibilities are attributed to one person. So, companies must ensure they can provide them with a healthy work environment.
2. Generative AI and its Impact on the UX process
With the advent of AI, computers are slowly showing they can replace human force in generating specific outputs. These include wireframes, copies, and even polished UIs. Although there is still a long way to go, we can expect to see more of that in the upcoming year.
Generative AI is a subset of artificial intelligence that focuses on generating data, content, or designs. In the context of UX design, Generative AI can impact various aspects of the UX process. Here’s an explanation of generative AI and its impact on UX:
Content Generation: Generative AI can create textual and visual content. For UX, this can be particularly useful in automating the generation of outputs. Placeholder text, images, or even entire user interface designs can be generated. This speeds up the prototyping process and allows designers to iterate more quickly.
Personalization: Generative AI can analyze user behavior and generate personalized content or recommendations. This is crucial for improving user engagement and satisfaction. For example, it can tailor the content and layout of a website or app based on individual user preferences and behaviors.
Chatbots and Virtual Assistants: Chatbots powered by generative AI can engage with users. They can answer questions and provide support 24/7. This enhances the user experience by offering real-time assistance and information.
Design Assistance: AI tools can assist UX designers. They can generate design suggestions, layouts, or even entire design concepts. Designers can use these suggestions as a starting point, saving time and promoting creativity.
Data Analysis and Insights: AI can quickly process and analyze extensive user data sets to uncover valuable insights. This can help understand user behavior, preferences, and pain points. So, it informs and helps to make UX design decisions.
In summary, AI and generative AI profoundly impact UX. They are transforming personalization, automation, and user interaction. They power adaptive experiences, autonomously create diverse design elements, and enhance user assistance. Future designers can integrate AI by embracing personalized experiences, using design automation tools, and exploring generative AI.
3. Growth Design & Hyper-Personalization
Growth design is a mindset and methodology. It focuses on driving user engagement, retention, and overall business growth. It works through continuous experimentation and optimization.
We had a related discussion in our recent episode of Design Aloud, our podcast, with Kate Syuma, a growth advisor and ex-head of growth design at Miro. She mentions that growth design will get more and more popular. Also, having the ability to start thinking beyond the regular product design process is vital.
We predict that in 2024, there will be a spike in the rise of growth designers. The focus will not be on being only a product designer. Aesthetics, prototyping, business mindset, and strategy will be spotlighted. One key element of a growth mindset is hyper-personalization.
Hyper-personalization is a crucial component of growth design. It allows designers to create experiences that resonate more with users. Thus increasing user satisfaction, loyalty, and, ultimately, business growth. Here’s how hyper-personalization aligns with growth design:
- User Engagement: Hyper-personalization can enhance user engagement. It keeps users more involved with the product or service. The key is delivering personalized and relevant content, features, and recommendations.
- Retention: Personalized experiences are more likely to capture and keep user attention. As users find value in tailored content and features, they are more likely to stick around. This way, they are more likely to continue using the platform.
- Conversion Optimization: Hyper-personalization can improve the effectiveness of conversion strategies. It presents users with personalized calls to action, promotions, or recommendations. These align with their preferences and behaviors.
- Iterative Experimentation: Growth design involves continuously identifying what works best for users. Hyper-personalization allows for the testing and optimization of personalized elements. Thus enhancing the overall user experience.
Here, you can see a quick example from the Netflix tech blog. It shows how hyper-personalization can dramatically impact the user’s experience. This way, it improves the overall business performance.
4. Ethical Importance in the Experience
The need to improve UX education was identified as a UX trend in 2023. The escalation of emergent technologies points to it again. Yet, this time, with slightly different reasoning. The cause is adapting our practice to a new reality.
Being able to follow a pre-established process or formula focused on generating outputs does not give UX professionals a competitive advantage in the emerging scenario. Machines can easily take over part of this job. Being able to reflect critically on the outcomes is the most expected superpower for UXers from now on.
While AI nails the “quantity” of solutions, it can only do so much to assess “quality.” It is crucial for thoughtful and mindful decisions to be made. Analyzing how the wide range of generated solutions affects users and businesses is vital.
It is more than critical to be fully capable of challenging the problem space, even before getting to solutions. It is also essential to ensure that companies tackle the correct issues. This has always been under the expected powers of UXers. Yet, we will take it to the next level thanks to technology.
As importantly, social responsibility and ethics are vital attributes expected from UX professionals. A big question to remember for 2024 is: how can we use technological potential while still doing good for the people and the environment? As much as we can try, a computer cannot learn humans’ capacity for judging and empathizing. That’s where we can show our value the most.
5. Inclusivity as a Mindset
Inclusive design is a specific approach to designing products, services, and environments. It considers all users’ diverse needs and abilities. The goal of inclusive design is to create experiences that are accessible and usable by the broadest range of people. Regardless of age, ability, background, or other factors, the product should be easy to use. It goes beyond compliance with accessibility standards. It does that by proactively seeking to include people with varying needs and abilities in the design process.
Here’s a short video from Microsoft explaining the importance of Inclusive design as a mindset.
Below, you can read about the key aspects of inclusive design and how it acts as a mindset shift to form better UX:
- Diverse User Perspectives: Inclusive design involves understanding and incorporating the perspectives of a diverse range of users from the outset. This includes considering age, gender, cultural background, physical and cognitive abilities, and more. The mindset shift here is from designing for a perceived “average” user to designing for a spectrum of users.
- Empathy and User-Centered Design: Inclusive design strongly emphasizes empathy. It encourages designers to empathize with users with different needs and challenges. This mindset shift leads to a more thorough understanding of user experiences. It informs a user-centered design approach that prioritizes the needs of real people.
- Accessibility as a Core Principle: Accessibility is a crucial aspect of inclusive design. Yet, it extends beyond meeting basic standards. Inclusive design considers a wide range of abilities and disabilities. It seeks to create experiences that are not just accessible but truly usable and enjoyable for everyone.
- Early and Continuous User Feedback: Inclusive design encourages designers to involve users throughout the design process. They seek feedback from diverse individuals. This ongoing collaboration helps identify potential issues early in the design phase. It also allows for continuous improvement based on user input.
- Consideration of Context and Environment: Inclusive design considers the various contexts and environments in which users may interact with a product or service. This includes considering different devices, network conditions, and environmental constraints. The mindset shift is towards designing for real-world situations rather than idealized conditions.
- Long-Term Thinking: Inclusive design considers the long-term impact of design decisions on users and society. It aims to create sustainable and resilient solutions that stand the test of time, accommodating changes in technology and societal norms.
“Wanna change the world? Maybe we start by looking each other in the eye.” – Poster campaign for the University of Massachusetts by Justin Kemerling.
+1. Innovation Design
Innovation design is more a creative and problem-solving process than a trend. However, we should keep an eye on it and mention it as a +1 trend. 2024 will be very much determined by it. It focuses on developing inventive solutions to address challenges and meet users’ needs.
An example of one of the best innovative solutions from 2023 is Waymo, a self-driving autonomous car. Ryan Powell, Waymo’s head of UX research and design, emphasizes building trust through technology. UX design becomes essential in establishing rapport without a human presence in automated vehicles. Powell underscores the importance of a “rich interface display, clear affordances, and voice feedback” to enhance user comfort. Waymo prioritizes transparency by offering a 360-degree view. It also showcases real-time surroundings, including cars, cyclists, pedestrians, traffic lights, and road signs.
What UX trends shaped 2023?
Before wrapping up our article, we shouldn’t forget how we got here. Let’s reflect on the year that has just passed.
In 2023, the demand for UX professionals reflected on the aftermath of global instabilities and widespread layoffs. These highlight the pivotal role of generalist UXers. These versatile professionals excelled in navigating complex, interconnected challenges. They also contributed to a diverse range of design projects. They recognized the strain of increased responsibilities in a dynamic job market. The growing demand for their skills came with a pressing need to prioritize mental health. Together with that, companies are often not well-educated about UX. They have unrealistic expectations about what the role of a UX professional is really about.
Moreover, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) emerged as a prominent trend in UX. It signaled a gradual shift in the industry landscape. AI’s capacity to undertake routine tasks prompted a reevaluation of the skills that set human UX professionals apart. These tasks include generating wireframes and copies, for example. This transformation placed a greater emphasis on soft skills and critical thinking. Professionals adapted to a changing paradigm where AI handled routine aspects. This allowed them to focus on more intricate, nuanced aspects of user experience.
Additionally, the design field saw a notable shift towards open-source alternatives. Particularly following Adobe’s unexpected acquisition of Figma. The attention turned towards the open-source realm, where design tools operate on principles of collaboration and community-driven development. Staying abreast of these changes became imperative for UX practitioners. They needed a proactive approach to exploring and adopting emerging open-source design tools. As the industry evolved, professionals prepared for changes. They sought alternative ways of working to stay competitive and innovative in the dynamic landscape of UX design.
Finally, 2023 was about continuous AR, VR, and Generative AI changes. For the relevant authorities, it was impossible to keep up with this fast-paced rhythm. This is why, in the coming year, we will need more consciousness, responsibility, and attention to how and for what we use them.
To Sum Up the UX Trends in 2024
The uncertainty brought by the 2023 events influenced what comes next for 2024. As companies have fewer hiring resources, the demand increases for generalist UX professionals. They can take over different aspects of the user experience, including growth design, where business, strategy, and design create harmony. UXers might adapt to this change, but they should prioritize their mental health. Also, companies should strive to offer healthier work environments and conditions.
Adopting and learning how to adapt to emerging technologies remains a challenge. One of the most vital UX trends for 2024 is that ethical considerations also take center stage. UX professionals must reflect on outcomes critically, challenge problem spaces, and uphold social responsibility and ethics in the face of technological potential.
Another significant trend is the impact of Generative AI on the UX process. AI’s ability to generate wireframes, copies, and polished UIs is slowly replacing human efforts. Generative AI, a subset of artificial intelligence, plays a crucial role in content generation, personalization, chatbots, design assistance, and data analysis within UX. Although it is still in progress, the upcoming years are expected to see a further integration of Generative AI in UX design processes.
We predict growth design and hyper-personalization will gain prominence in 2024. Growth design drives user engagement and business growth through continuous experimentation. While hyper-personalization tailors experience to individual users, enhancing satisfaction, loyalty, and overall growth.
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