What the Unstable Future Holds for UX Design — It’s Good News | by Zacharia Curtis | Nov, 2022

Photo by Benjamin Davies

UX has become a critical part of business, and it only becomes clearer and clearer how much value it brings to the table. Technology is evolving rapidly, with groundbreaking changes happening more frequently than ever before according to Moore’s Law, and with this growth, investment in the User Experience is vital in order to continually provide usable products in an ever changing landscape.

With this changing landscape, comes new ventures that have the ability to entirely shift the groundwork of interactions and user experience — and the future of UX relies on understanding and preparing ourselves for these, enabling us to be adaptive designers in the face of change.

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UX is a child walking amongst giants like Marketing, Design and Engineering — A craft that has truly only existed since 1950 when the psychologist John E. Karlin was hired to work on the telephone’s touch tone keypad design.

Back in 1950, around ~10 UX professionals existed, mostly psychologists. In 2022, there are approximately 2 million, a staggering 200x more people solely focused on the experience of our users, designers like you and I!

According to Nielsen Norman Group, the foremost leaders in UX, by 2050 we’ll see this number reach approximately 100 million. This, in case you were wondering, is damn good news. With more UXers, the field becomes wider known and experience becomes a standard — Meaning UX maturity is gradually increasing from it’s initial birth in 1950, to what we can expect to see as a high level of experiential design across all industries, not just the ones that can afford to splash out a little!

This article by Jakob Nielsen of NN Group really goes in depth into the proliferation of UX

Photo by Mika Baumeister

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are the next steps in tech, this is indisputable. Whilst you may think of the clunky oculus that take up too much space, or the iffy UI, glitchy experiences and more issues — Doesn’t that remind you of telephones back when they first came about?

AR & VR is in its infancy, a brand new field that will completely shift the way we interact with the world, hopefully in a beneficial and fascinating way.

There is a good reason why Meta and others will be investing billions into these new technologies, and it’s because it’s the evolution of experience — They will change the world, and we’re in the exciting position today of being able to see it go from birth, to an essential technology, just like the mobile phone!

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Did you know there are Artificial Intelligence platforms available that can write entire articles, even about the most niche of topics? Even this entire article was pulled word for word from a £9.99 subscription platform! I joke, of course, a robot can’t write the way we write — Yet. But they are getting astonishingly close, and truthfully, many short form articles can be convincingly written by a machine!

Content writing is just the tip of the iceberg though, especially when you have publicly available software like Dall E 2 available — Did you know that an Ai recently won a digital art competition over its human competition? Not surprising truthfully, Ai has been beating us in games since Deep Blues inception in 1995, now 27 years later they are simply expanding their dominance 😉

Photo by Brandon Romanchuk

Each of these new technologies I’ve spoken of are each specialisations for UX Designers to follow, opening up more opportunity and more freedom for the designer to operate how they feel — and another interesting avenue of that, is in Zero UI & Voice Experience.

ZUI & VX tie in quite well with AR & VR, and I’m sure you can see the applications there with ideas such as gestures (Think about how deaf people could interact with the world around them using this technology!) — But those will be a little further down the line. Today, ZUI & VX already exist in widely used tools such as Alexa, Siri, Google Search and more.

If you used Siri back when it was first introduced, I’m sure you know the leaps and bounds of improvements in experience that have been made — Sure, it’s not perfect yet, but it’s improving rapidly. When you think of UX most people think about tangible, physical design, but that’s not what it’s about.

UX is experiential interaction, be it physical or non-physical — This is the glue that ties the craft together, and opens up new paths to the world around us!

Photo by Guilherme Stecanella

UX Design is, and will continue to be critical to the success of products, and over the next few decades we will see it become more refined as we learn more about how best to structure our experiences.

The horizons of UX Design look bright, and for anybody passionate about the craft there’s always a new niche or subgenre of UX to study, or even master if it strikes a particular interest.

What do you think?

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