All the signs say 2017 is bringing us into an era where UI:s no longer will be UI:s in the traditional sense.
As the explosion of mobile devices and content chunking has rendered it nigh impossible to anticipate how a person will digest your message, content has — once again — taken its rightful seat on the throne. It looks as this reign will become even more critical when text and short bursts of words is all we will use to trigger purchases, downloads, news and entertainment.
New relationships will be formed with chatbots, voice-controlled agents and data-powered assistants acting on our behalf. This has the potential of bringing us even closer to those people we endearingly refer to as users, hence the question every modern-day cyborg designer is pondering: are we ready for this?
This forces us to realize that each and every user in fact is an individual human with all the quirks and emotions that this entails.
Inadvertently using someone’s middle name won’t cut it anymore, you need to be on solid buddy terms. What we build must appeal not only to needs but build trust in the form of a long-lasting friendship — all the while making it a point to never overstep boundaries that we still not have defined.
Listening, reacting and adapting in the moment to feedback will be increasingly crucial. Failure to do so will result in anxious humans questioning the validity of the relationship.
As our datacenters overflow with insights about user behavior it is not in our best interest to mine this data to perform manipulative actions on the very people who provide the information. Misusing data, overstepping, will lead to tearful breakups with technology and services.
Many of these new devices are no longer ones we carry around but devices that move in with us. They are in still our house when we leave home, all the while acting, performing, listening. Alive. Making assumptions about our best interests.
Can you build it?
We may be entering an era when your design skills will depend on your willingness to truly connect with the people you rely on for your daily bread. To learn their language and their everyday fears. Which begs the question: are you as a designer comfortable enough in your intentions that you would delight in sitting face-to-face with the very person who trusts them? Not as a researcher. As a friend.
This post was my e-mail contribution to an article on whatusersdo.com entitled 22 Expert Opinions on UI Design Trends for 2017. Needless to say, they just used a small piece of it, because words… 😉