Five User Experience Trends I’ll be Watching in 2010

Posted on February 25, 2010


1.       Services as Software – The emergence of semi-automated usability testing services like and means that the market for some kinds of UX services is changing. It would be very interesting to track the growth of new ideas deploying the "services as software" approach over the course of the year.

2.       User Experience Analytics – Over the last few years the conversation around user experience has focused greatly on design. I think the next few years will be about measurement and analytics, and a more analytical approach to the UX discipline will emerge. This does not mean design is going away, but rather points out that the ideas and techniques from marketing, web analytics and even evidence-based management have started to take root among UX designers who are interested in understanding the measurable impacts of their design choices. Joshua Porter’s blog post "What metric are you designing to improve today?" is an early indicator of the coming change.

3.       Content Strategy – The one ongoing challenge our clients have faced since we’ve been in business is management of their content. Kristina Halvorson, the doyenne of content strategy, sums up the issues well in her article "The Discipline of Content Strategy":

·         Content strategy plans for the creation, publication, and governance of useful, usable content.

·         Necessarily, the content strategist must work to define not only which content will be published, but why we’re publishing it in the first place.

·         Otherwise, content strategy isn’t strategy at all: it’s just a glorified production line for content nobody really needs or wants. (See: your company’s CMS.)

4.       Return of the Mobile Web – While the iPhone is the best mobile computing device by just about every measure. When the fog of fashion lifts, and the iPhone isn’t the only sexy handset on the market, developers and business will get practical. Consider this: The iPhone has just 18% of the global smartphone market, compared to RIM’s 21% and Symbian’s 46%. Google is also making a play for this market and it has a strong competitor in Android.

5.       A Real Experience Economy – An article in the New York Times points to an emerging trend: people trading in conspicuous consumption for life-enriching experiences. What specific impacts will this trend have on our practice? The first might be decreased consumer spending, and a further lull in the economy. In the short term that’s not a good sign. But another possibility is the emergence of a culture that truly values experience–on the phone, at a kiosk, on the web, in person, at work and at home. That’s a culture where user experience designers will flourish.

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