I have often thought about this question. What defines the User Experience trends? Is it even a topic worth discussing?
A friend of mine (working at HFI) has started the UX Trendspotting group. The topic in itself intrigues me. I would presume that in the larger companies there would be dedicated groups to look into these trends and identify such things for their teams to create products for the future.
But how do small companies identify them. This is where I think a group like this could be really useful.
UX trends could be seen through different eyes. Is it defined by technology? Or does User’s needs define the trends? Or is it entirely business driven. The logical conclusion would be that it cannot be individually and it has to be thought of it collectively.
Point in case for the technology defining User Experience, could be seen in the rise of touch screen phones and tablets. With technology becoming more affordable and a lot of Open Source initiatives thriving, the notion of providing a better User Experience driven by technology is evident.
However many would argue that its not technology but the User’s needs that define the UX trends.
This user’s needs is often revolving around multiple things. One is the need to solve a problem that the user base is facing. A lot of the innovation happens around that. The other factor governing the User’s needs (which is more prominent these days unfortunately) is the peer pressure and societal norms.
What in my opinions are the UX trends that are being defined presently?
To answer that I think it is important to look more wholistically than to be looking into the specifics. It is important that one looks are the numerous issues that are taking place. Right from the behaviors to the cultural paradigms, and the acceptance of the technology to the state of the economy.
In the present day context, Social Media is taken over our lives, technology is become more ubiquitous, and we have moved towards a more connected world where sharing information is happening at a faster pace than ever before.
Another interesting trend that I notice of late, which Paolla Antonelli also mentioned in her lecture at the India Design Forum earlier this week is the constant endeavor of designers to work for the social sector. There is a great amount of buzz around the Social sector and people with varied skill sets are teaming up to create solutions. Design for Social impact, Social Innovation, Social Engineering etc. Terms that gain more prominence over this year.
I personally would love to see the same more UX trends being identified around this sector.