Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

UXPA - Trends: What can we expect from design in 2019?

It has been ages since I have managed to attend a UXPA event, but this week our schedules aligned to allow me to attend Trends: what can we expect from design in 2019?

Speaking were Dominic Gregory and Giulio Fagiolini from Fjord, whose lovely offices we were using, and Alexander Baxevanis from Webcredible.

I was a bit worried that we were going to spend the time listening to chat about AI or Blockchain or some new design fad, but as it was I was pleasantly surprised as they spoke round themes and mindsets for the year instead.

Apparently each year everyone at Fjord comes together to workout what they think the trends for that year are. This year they had seven but they only discussed four in detail.

The first was 'The Inclusivity Paradox'. As people want to be seen as individuals more, with each of us special and unique, big brands risk excluding people as they try to engage us as individuals. They miss the real world context of people when dealing with their bubbles of data.

The second was 'Data Minimalism'. With people being much more aware of their data now companies and brands need to be asking for less data not more. But what people probably are not so aware of is that it is not individuals data that companies want but the aggregate of many people’s data.

The third trend was 'Silence is Gold'. As big brands realise that people want quiet in a very noisy world, shouting will no longer get people to listen to you or to buy your product. Brands need a new way to communicate with consumers.

The forth trend that they spoke to us about was 'Synthetic Realities'. It is now possible to fake people on film and in speech, seeing is no longer believing. And while there is fear around how this could be used and the consequences for the future, there are amazing possibilities for drama and entertainment.

The last three themes were; 'The Last Straw?', 'Ahead of the Curb' and 'Space Odyssey' which can all be read about on their website.

After a quick break Alexander spoke to us about emerging technologies and how to think about them.

He suggested that we should start with a critical mindset and use history to show us how technologies can impact society. We should stop thinking with buzzwords and think about capabilities instead.

We should then do research, although we should be aware of who had sponsored the research we look at. But what is really important is asking the right questions, so rather than 'can people use it?' try asking 'who will use it and what for?'

He then spoke about the prototyping these types of technologies need and how 'wizard of oz' prototypes can be a great way to check things will really work before putting too much time into building something.

This was a very insightful event which really got me thinking about how we approach the future, and reminded me how important understanding the problem is before worring about the technology to solve it.

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