Every year, trends within the UX industry change. Just like our country pauses to watch the State of the Union address each year, it’s good for you to take a minute to step back and look at the trends within your industry. It’s easy to get zeroed in on your work and not take much time to look at what competitors or thought leaders are doing or saying about your industry. Keeping an eye on developing trends keeps you from being blindsided by a wave of changes.

Without further ado, here are our 2016 State of UX observations:

Looking Back

To know what’s coming within the UX industry, you must examine where we’ve been. In the last couple of years, the industry has experienced a distinct shift as industry leaders have begun placing emphasis on great user experiences for their products. UX companies see this shift as a huge advantage; leaders are catching on that the products that are easiest to use win the race.

That’s not the only way the UX industry has shifted in recent years. When you think about UX, your mind might automatically imagine a software product. But today, user experience doesn’t stop with software interfaces. UX is being considered with every product in your life, from the dashboard of your car to the checkout at your neighborhood grocery store. Companies are considering how their staff interacts with customers and thinking about how spaces make customers feel and the effect on buying choices. Not only that, but businesses clearly see that the ways in which a product is physically delivered, from packaging to the customer experience, are all a part of UX.

What’s Ahead

So if we know where UX has been, where is it headed?  We are seeing several defining trends that are now taking the center stage of UX.

Voice Controlled Interfaces:

Siri is not the only one who is listening to your voice anymore. Products like the Amazon Echo have hit the market with the goal of simplifying tasks and making lives easier at home- and it’s all voice controlled. See all the tasks Echo can do for you here.

Your home isn’t the only thing that you can control with your voice. Mercedes Benz Audio Voice Control is changing the way you can control your car. It allows you to control the navigation, phone book and audio system with minimal distraction.

Even your remote controls can be voice controlled! The Savant Remote consolidates all of your remotes into one smart remote that controls all of your gizmos. It can learn your favorite channels, control your music, your Apple TV activity and even the lighting in your home. And when you’re ready to shut all of your technology down and go to bed? Simply click the microphone button and say “goodnight.”  

Vehicle Usability:

Even when you’re on the move, user experience is making your travels easier. This year, auto user experiences will continue to improve and become more integrated into the driving experience. You might not even need Uber anymore, because Tesla is making it possible to have your vehicle arrive wherever you tell it to pick you up!

Tesla isn’t the only car manufacturer which is changing the game. Mercedes Benz just introduced a futuristic concept car that will detect pedestrians, stop the vehicle and create a projected, laser outline of a crosswalk for pedestrians to cross safely in front of the vehicle. Not to mention, it won’t be long before cars are connected to each other, and if one vehicle begins to drift into another lane, that vehicle could automatically nudge the offending car back into it’s own lane.  

In Closing…

From now on, user experience will be taking a bigger role in the marketing spotlight. Customers see UX as an important product differentiator, and companies are beginning to allocate advertising resources to call attention to the user experience. This trend is causing change within companies. Many are realizing that happy customers will purchase their products again, recommend those products to friends and even be willing to pay higher prices for well-designed products that have great customer experiences.

It has never been a more important time to get UX right. We’re excited about this trend, and users should be too. Products that are built with user experience at the core become more functional and more valuable to the businesses which supply them as well as end users.  That means the “State of UX” in 2016 is strong, and becoming even stronger.