In September 2023, Umbraco 7 will reach end-of-life, having entered the security-only phase in July 2021. Whilst this doesn't mean that your website is going to suddenly vanish overnight, there are some significant negative implications to consider.
Digital Transformation Series
The X Factor: User Experience in 2022
In our last blog, we kicked off the X Factor Digital Transformation series in which we gave a broad overview of User, Employee and Customer Experience. In this blog, we’ll be delving deeper into User Experience and the trends we can expect to emerge and develop in 2022. Mastering UX basics is fundamental to engaging customers online, but to compete with the best, organisations must stay on top of evolving digital trends. Continue reading to find out some of our UX predictions for next year and beyond.
What is UX
User Experience, as most of us already know is a design concept which focuses on developing a deep understanding of not only who your target users are, but what they need and what they value, too. This deeper level of perception allows you to heighten their digital engagement. A UX designer will therefore aim to maximise the quality of the users’ interaction with services and products. On a website for instance, the application of good UX principles will ensure that those visiting your site will have an enjoyable experience, obtain all the necessary information they required, and leave with a good impression of the digital site and of the brand itself.
How has UX evolved in the last 10 years
UX has transformed over the last 10 years in many ways, especially since the introduction of Smart Phones and Big Data.
97% of households now own a smart phone, up from 47% in 2001. This has reshaped consumers’ preferences for how they consume information and interact online. The demand for mobile functionality means organisations have had to create omnichannel UX strategies that optimise the end-to-end user experience across all devices, with mobile accessibility being the central focus. Apple have dominated the mobile market and proved that applications didn’t have to sacrifice form for functionality, transforming the grey and boring interface into a visual masterpiece.
The ability to access information anywhere at any time has also contributed to the explosion of user data which organisations can use to continuously improve their digital services and consumer engagement. May-Li Khoe, former VP of Design at Khan Academy shared this; “Smartphone adoption and data usage have totally changed what design even means in the last 10 years." Product teams can now run A/B tests on UX and UI variations to see how design changes impact user interactions and other behaviours. Design, although a creative process, is increasingly driven by the numbers.
UX trends for 2022
Amongst the big trends for UX such as mobile accessibility, omnichannel UX design, and GDPR compliance, there are several brewing trends which are expected to take 2022 by storm.
- Dark mode for PC
Dark mode has been growing in popularity since almost all mobile phones and tablets introduced the functionality a couple of years ago. UX and UI designers are therefore having to accommodate and design with dark mode in mind, providing light and dark mode options for their clients. Designing UX with dark mode in mind will ensure organisations meet personalisation requirements of all their users. The growing trend of dark mode for PC will present a number of obstacles, especially for branding, but also some great opportunities. In terms of accessibility, dark mode has shown to improve legibility for those with normal vision and certain visual impairments. As organisations strive to be inclusive, designing for dark mode is a great first step.
- Data visualization
Fintech companies are leading the way by designing with Data in mind, providing customers the ability to visualise data in the form of charts, columns, and to be able to personalise the scope of data they can see.
Voice as a search function has been growing in popularity but has failed to gain mass traction, mostly due to the fact it often misunderstands what we want. As General Artificial Intelligence improves its natural language processing capabilities, so too will its ability to retrieve the information we wish to procure. Whether it will become a frequent user behaviour is another question.
- Design personalisation
Content personalisation is an essential feature to provide a personalised user experience. This is now infiltrating the design world, where in 2022 organisations will start to personalise colours, buttons, fonts, and other elements of the page based on user behaviour.
- Augmented reality
Augmented reality for E-commerce is a versatile and interactive UX tool. Current examples include IKEA using AR to place furniture in your own home, L'Oréal’s real-time colour matcher for foundation, and Dulux Paint for showing paint colours on your home walls. These are just a few examples of technology which allows businesses to provide customers with an almost real-life user experience. Although AR is certainly exciting, we predict that only the big e-commerce giants who have the power to leverage augmented reality will be able to use this technology next year, with this trend trickling down to lower levels in a few years’ time.
We believe that these trends will challenge UX designers to push the limits of their digital designs, ensuring that users stay central in mind. The focus should always be to design applications and websites that are easy, intuitive, and enjoyable to use for anyone. User Experience is arguably the key to project success, hence why it is one of our core services at ClerksWell. We’ve worked with clients such as Baker Tilly International and Smart Energy GB to make the complex simple deliver many intuitive and streamlined User Experiences. Our overall aim is to build websites that encourage customers to engage, to return, and to build loyal relationships with clients.
We develop with the future in mind.
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Web accessibility is the practice of ensuring that people with certain impairments and/or disabilities can use the web, whether that’s internal usage (digital workplace), or external (audience-facing public website).
The UK government required that all public sector organisations make their websites accessible by September 2020. Now that public sector websites must be accessible, what does this mean for the private sector?