Looking Ahead: 3 Big UX Concepts in 2016

As the calendar flips forward, we discuss the UX concepts your design team needs to focus on.

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So the New Year is almost here and as we look back on 2015 and look forward to 2016 there are a few UX concepts to think about for your future projects.

More Mobile

Over 2015 mobile consumption of content has continued to increase along with an increase in interest in how to design for mobile devices. Designing for mobile is more than just designing for smaller screens. The smaller the device typically the smaller amount of time a user is willing to focus on it (streaming movies for entertainment aside). Smart watches are for quick status updates, phones for slightly longer tasks, tablets longer still. Not everything done on a desktop computer needs to be accomplished on a smartphone, and trying to cram it all in there can worsen the experience. When the screen real estate is at a premium, when every pixel counts, you want to identify the most important tasks and give the users easy access to them. Designing for mobile BI means you must convey the most important information as easily and quickly as possible.

Slippy UX

Jake Zukowski at Frog Design, coined the term "slippy ux" as a reaction to the need for information to be easily digested, to be "glance-able." When you are driving a car your primary focus is the road, so reading warnings on the dashboard or controlling the music in the center console need to be accomplished as quickly and easily as possible. Similar to how the best film score is the one you don't hear, the best interface is the one you don't notice. Slippy UX design is where the user gets the information they wanted and then go back to the task they were focused on. Infusing BI data into a variety of devices, including wearables like Fitbits, require the data to be quickly digested, with real analysis easily accessible elsewhere.

Keeping it Simple

Connecting mobile design and slippy design is the biggest UX design trend in recent years: simple (ie. flat) design. Google's Material Design has been one of the best new design systems in this new style. Flat design was a reaction to the heavily skeuomorphic style of Apple and others. It is about realizing simplicity through the removal of unnecessary ornamentation. That said flat design can go too far. You want a clean, simple visual style while still maintaining the necessary visual affordances for users to know what is important and what is interactive. A smart, flexible, simple design style works just as well on a desktop PC as it does on a phone.

So look back, plan ahead, and good luck with your UX endeavors.

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