Sound & Vision: The Essential UX Trends Playlist

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Union Digital Account Director and resident DJ, Andy Baker, picks out some of this year’s breakout acts in the increasingly critical realm of User Experience.

There’s so many similar ideas about things like user experience, user interface and consumer experience floating about. So, before we start, it’s worth recapping on exactly what we mean by User Experience.

Put simply, User Experience (or UX), is the term we use to describe and assess how someone uses your website, app, kiosk, phone call or any other way that they might engage with you as a brand or company. That said, it is more often or not used to refer to digital channels, which is where I’m going to focus today. It accounts for everything from how easy that person finds your ‘touchpoint’ to use to whether they achieve what they are trying to do and how enjoyable the process is. Generally their whole objective and subjective experience of interacting with you within a specific channel.

UX is a diverse, fast-paced and ever changing landscape. I’ve selected 3 hot trends for my UX Design playlist to give you a sample of this genre (thought there’s many more in the back catalogue). So in no particular order here’s my top 3 UX trends:

1. UX fundamental for driving business
Similar to how we have seen digital developers becoming entrepreneurial, UX designers are becoming a driving force in start-ups and transforming established businesses. UX design is an integral part of a business’s strategy, with the UX designer moving closer to the decision makers and chiefs by developing UX strategies. These strategies ensure design decisions are aligned and deliver the business’s goals.

Like we do with our digital marketing channels we need to accurately measure the effectiveness of our design decisions, not only when we put our work out in the real world but throughout the design process, right from the off. We need to understand the vision of how to implement or improve user experience, the metrics to capture, how to measure these and take meaningful action based on the data.


2. Storytelling and the UX Writer Let’s face it, people are busy! It’s a fast paced world, especially online. You’ve probably heard this countless times (backed up by many studies), we only have around 10-15 seconds to grab the attention of users. In that time we have to convince them to stick around and engage further. Facts usually aren’t enough to inspire users into action. Think about how you are motivated after reading a good book, listening to an inspiring song or watching a great movie, they motivate us to take action. Brands can do this by telling a compelling and memorable story to differentiate themselves from their competition. Finding the right, concise words to complement the visual design is key. My colleague Ross Macdonald reminded recently of the Mark Twain quote, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead” – reminding us of the difficulty of being succinct.

To support this design shift a new role has emerged, that of the UX Writer. It’s a role that will become more prevalent throughout 2019 I’m certain. Consideration of copy is just as important for user experience as the emphasis placed on wireframes and prototypes. Above all, you want your content to be structured, relevant and authentic.


3. Device-agnostic UX & journeys
For the last several years, UX design has been primarily focused on mobile-first and responsive design to cater for both the desktop and mobile device.

That’s not the case any more….. The future of UX is ‘device-agnostic’.

With the huge increase in wearable technology and voice assistants (or Voice User Interfaces) the holistic user journey has expanded over a plethora of touch-points. A recent study determined that by 2020 the number of ‘network connected devices’ per person is expected to be 6.5, double that from 2015. Mobile is only going to account for one of them (perhaps two when you account for business phones). We need to cast our UX net wider.

The challenge is to design a continuous, seamless journey for users, minimising friction and delivering the best user experience throughout.

Businesses now need to adapt to these changing behaviours, consumer choices and how and where users engage online. Businesses that invest in this multi-device driven design approach will reap the benefits.

If you want to find out more about UX Design trends and how Union Digital can help your business stay on top of them, you can contact me at