How is UX impacting our lives?

User experience or UX for short, is more than digital interfaces via mobiles and websites. Instead, UX refers to the human interaction with products and how such experiences are evaluated in terms of value, accessibility and user-friendliness. Today, UX is part of the service offering that aims to provide positive experiences designed to keep users loyal to the product or brand. In this article we will cover what you need to know about the UX space, trends for 2018 as well as the impact of UX on the banking and tech industry.

 

UX gaining importance in the banking sector

The term ‘UX’ was introduced in the 1990s by Don Norman, co-founder of the Nielsen Norman Group who said that he invented the term because he wanted to cover “aspects of a person’s experience with the system including the industrial design, graphics, interface, the physical interaction, and the manual.”  

Today, there has been a shift in banking with technology moving towards UX. Banks have realised that they need to provide more than a user-centred approach in their banking service delivery. “Digital used to be about coding and IT; now it's becoming a people business," said Mary Kate Loftus, Head of Multichannel for Retail Banking and Wealth Management at HSBC. Consumers today have higher expectations from their financial institutions and expect their experience with banks to be personalised across multiple channels. It is therefore important for banks to understand the type of UX to deliver to each user at every point of digital interaction within their banking service offering.

The UX category was introduced at the 2018 Fintech Awards for the first time this June with The Best Customer / User Experience title awarded to Look Who’s Changing – a data API company founded in 2017 specialising in intelligently matching card transactions to merchants. The Fintech Award was determined by a panel of both local and international judges within Fintech sectors including lending, wealth management, payments, crowdfunding, blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and Regtech.

 

The impact of AI on UX innovation

AI has been playing various roles across the UX by applying machine learning to personalise and optimise users’ experiences and predict the best possible outcomes. Recent research carried by Accenture Technology Vision 2017, has revealed that AI could double the annual economic growth rates by 2035 by changing the nature of work and creating a new relationship between humans and machines. With reference to the relevance of UX in business, the report further stated that “business leaders recognise that as technology shrinks the gap between effective human and machine cooperation, accounting for unique human behaviour expands not only the quality of experience, but also the effectiveness of technology solutions”.

The report used Google’s Alexa as an example of excellent partnership between AI and UX. AI and predictive analytics have in fact made people’s interaction with technology more seamless by matching users’ needs at a deeper level and creating an UX that is simpler and smarter. AI is expected to automate or augment research and analysis tasks to help UX designers better understand people’s needs and behaviours. Therefore with each customer interaction, AI is a step closer in taking over the UX and offering the customer a more personalised and effective experience with the product.

 

The future of UX according to Australian UX designers

Guy Ligertwood, writer for UX Planet, interviewed a number of UX designers to share their views on the future of their profession. Whilst some UX designers have mentioned that the demand for UX designers would decline faster than expected due to generative design and AI – based on my experience as a recruitment specialist within the field, UX designers are still well in demand in the Australian market.

Adham Dannaway, Senior UI/UX freelance designer in Sydney, shared that the UX profession is still in the infancy stage of its development and will only grow together with emerging technologies such as AI, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR). However, Adham noted that in order to succeed, UX designers should remain agile and focus on making designs simpler and more efficient rather than competing on the sophistication of a design.

“Just like back in those Photoshop days, I feel like UX designers now spend hours on end throwing hundreds of different UX techniques at relatively simple problems. Do we really need a competitor analysis, a contextual enquiry, a survey, user interviews, a heuristic review, a user journey diagram and a SWOT analysis just to change the colour of a button? I hope that we can start working on removing unnecessary techniques from our UX process to become leaner, more efficient, cost-effective problem solvers,” said Adham.

Buzz Usborne, Product Designer at Help Scout agreed that designers would need to better adapt their way of working with the evolvement of technology to produce an innovative and engaging user experience. Kylie Timpani , Senior Designer at Humaan added that the concept of UX will move beyond tech to a more holistic experience between the service and the user. “UX design will become a social skill rather than a design skill,” said Kylie.

Based on the above, the market for future UX designers seems to be evolving and maturing. As the field of UX takes on a more diversified role in 2018, the term “UX designer” is starting to dissolve with designers changing careers and specialisations. This opens up the UX market to other occupations as well such as front end developer and human-centered design that are now relevant to the UX profession.

 

What is expected of UX designers?

According to a paper released by Cindy Lu and Alice Preston for The Magazine of the User Experience Professionals Association, UX designers need to identify areas to facilitate further research in relation to users’ behaviour and experiences. The paper also advised UX designers to organise a platform that would enable better collaboration with other stakeholders and employ their soft skills to improve the strategic decision making process. The paper further reported that UX professionals and cognitive technology researchers need to co-create solutions together to ensure that the AI program is well adapted to the relevant target audience. UX specialists are also encouraged to learn more about the human psychology in order to be able to conduct proper research, ask the right questions during the planning phases as well as having a better interpretation of data findings.

 

What are the UX trends for 2018?

There has been an increasing trend in companies adopting alternative user interaction platforms such as Chatbots, voice processing and VR technology. As such technologies keep expanding into new industries, this may become a challenge for UX specialists in the near future. Humans have been increasingly using a conversational user interface such as chatbots for its replication of real life conversation. The challenge is to create a UX that is unique for each user based on how they interact with chatbots as well as their needs and preferences. Within the mobile app development, developers have to also find ways of incorporating the chatbot technology within their applications and improve on the user interface. Likewise, as VR technology advances, UX will also have to evolve and become more immersive within a fabricated 3D dimension. Prompting the user to interact with a 3D environment will become more intuitive than clicking around on two dimensional platforms such as websites or apps.

Collaborative interface design company, Figma, further made the following recommendations for UX designers:

  • Establish a more user-friendly design to make it easier for people to understand the content
  • Make ethical decisions that will be better received by users of the product
  • Increase reliance on prescribed design systems such as Material and Fluent
  • Greater development tools that will make design more efficient
  • Focus on people skills to reach optimal performance

 

What software/tools are popular amongst UX designers?

  • InVision, for interactive design and real-time collaboration
  • Sketch, for interface design
  • Axure, for interactive prototypes and specifications
  • Flinto, for prototyping on MAC
  • Prototypr.io, for prototyping on mobile and desktop app

 

We can help

At Progressive Recruitment, we specialise in finding the best UX designers to meet our clients’ business needs. If you are interested to know more about the current UX roles available or how other organisations are expanding their demand for UX designers, please feel free to contact us at +61 02 9285 1000.

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