UX Designers have been around for centuries, just not in the context we relate to today. A UX Designer essentially creates or modifies products to improve usability, accessibility and the overall experience of using the product. This could be any type of product from your house to a pencil. However, in today’s day and age the term UX designer has gradually come to refer to professionals who focus on one’s experience with a digital or technological product or service. Up until a couple of years ago, there was no such thing as a UX designer (at least not officially). So what changed so drastically the last few years that made UX Designer one of the hottest jobs in 2018?
The User Is King!
To begin with, users are gradually becoming far more involved with the products they use. The information age brought with it the consumers who demands immediate and exceptional service. Today, we don’t go to a restaurant which doesn’t have favorable reviews. If your Wi-Fi doesn’t work you start to panic. The UX designer understands user behavior and patterns and prepares for untoward situations. In a market that is all about constantly evolving expectations, the UX designer is the bridge between the user and the brand.
The Age Of IOT (Internet of Things)
The age of technology is also gradually changing our physical world into a digital one. Devices are being connected to one and other like never before. This offers new paradigms for design, interaction, and manufacturing. The Internet of things -How these devices are connected and how we interact with them opens up a whole new avenue for UX designers.
Experiences Are Crafted Both For The User & The Business
It’s one thing to satisfy the user, it’s another to create business sense. In a world of cut-throat competition, the UX designer must be able to create products that are relevant to the customer and therefore make business sense. Companies are no longer providing just a service. In order to build customer loyalty the concept of Narrative Design has developed. This takes the view that the company is the product or service that they provide. Customer service is no longer limited to problem solving; it is about creating an experience.
Devices Are Getting Smarter!
The other development that is gradually happening is Intuitive Design. It’s like your cell phone telling you your coffee is ready even before you’ve thought about it. That may be a bit of an exaggeration but the day is not far when this will become a reality. We already have search engines understanding what we like to read and watch. UX designers today need to design experiences that are personalized for each user.
Not just that, but the way we consume products is also evolving drastically and it is the UX designer who sees the overall picture. Screen-based interactions are slowly being replaced by voice-based interactions. Brands need to keep the voice and tonality uniform across all their collaterals. Even the personality of chatbots needs to be in line with the brand identity. With evolving technology it is the senior UX designer who will be in most demand in 2018.
And Consumers Are Becoming More Aware
Emojis that show different skin colours or finger print scanners that can be used by the physically challenged. The world is growing smaller and more inclusive. Understanding cultural connotations of colours, symbols and designs are extremely important. A product designed in South America needs to be relevant to someone sitting in the sub-continent. And that’s where the UX designer comes in.
Design Builds Brand Loyalty. UX Designers Build Brand Design
The UX designers of 2018 don’t just focus on websites or mobile applications. The scope of their work is far greater. A UX designer with a bent towards International Development can help build infrastructure for healthcare, education or even public transport.
Humans are being replaced by machines in almost every sector. The UX designer however, will not be replaced in a hurry. Their job is what makes this infiltration of technology in our workspace possible. Even Artificial Intelligence needs to be instructed on what to do!
Large companies have been focusing on a design-centric ethos for a while now. Apple of course is one of the most famous examples of this. But the trend is picking up pace across companies. The fact is that there are an equal amount of developers and UX designers being hired.
The landscape of design is evolving rapidly and the UX designer of today needs to constantly evolve with it. It is a challenge! But those who can manage it have a world of opportunities opening up for them. We are heading to a future (or rather our present) where experiences are what will sustain a business. Active engagement with customers will be a business’s main focus. How you sell something will be more important than what you sell. And who better to answer these questions, than a UX designer?