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5 UX design and research trends to look out for in 2022

The future brings new technologies, inclusion, and more flexibility for the UX landscape.

As we embark on a new year, it is important to keep an eye on the development of the UX field and the trends that will impact the work of professionals in 2022. Although it is hard to predict what exactly we will see happening in the future, it is possible to see some topics that have gained special attention recently and will most likely be in evidence during this year.

If you work with UX design and/or research, here is what you can expect:

Remote user research

Online testing can be very advantageous (Source)

Remote research is not exactly news in the UX field. However, many researchers were still attached to the idea that you need an in-lab setting to conduct usability tests and focus groups. It all changed in 2020, when the pandemic started and there was no option but to work from home and explore the remote options to get feedback from users and customers.

Now that we are already a couple of years handling both personal and professional tasks remotely, there is more confidence and expertise in using the tools available for remote research. Conducting research online is more attractive than the traditional in-person research for many reasons. It saves time, the results can be accessed almost immediately, and you can go global testing with users all around the world. Remote research is really here to stay.

Gen Z as a new audience

In the past few years, we have seen the impact of generation Z in the development of digital products. After TikTok challenged Facebook’s monopole in the social media field, becoming the third largest social network in the world, the market started paying more attention to this audience.

Reaching and engaging the next generation of users is not an easy task. UX professionals therefore have a lot of work to do to recruit a generation that prefers DMs to phone calls and make sure the products are developed keeping their preferences in mind.  

Mobile-first approach

Designing for mobile has more limitations, so it should be the first step (Source)

Since 2016 mobile internet usage has surpassed desktop usage, so our mobile phones are more present in our routines than ever before. That is why UX/UI professionals are already aware of the importance to design for mobile devices.

Nowadays, it is very likely that your customers are accessing your website on their smartphones. Thus, designing the website for desktop and adapting it to mobile devices is not enough and designers should take a mobile-first approach. This means that the whole design of the website starts with the mobile version and later it is adapted to other devices. When doing user research, it is also important to keep this approach in mind to create a responsive design that will work smoothly throughout all devices.

Inclusive design

Design decisions determine if the product will exclude or include users. And designing should be for all users, not just for a few of them. An inclusive design embraces diversity, acknowledging the several variations in people’s capabilities and needs.

The design product process should consider limitations and disabilities, and UX research is extremely valuable to test and make sure that the product design fits the purpose for all sorts of people. Putting people in the very centre of your product is making sure that the user experience will be outstanding in all scenarios.

Metaverse

Investment in the metaverse is only going to grow in the next years (Source)

Metaverse is one of the top 10 words of the year 2021. We have seen big companies like Meta (formerly known as Facebook) investing in the virtual world where you can create your avatar to interact with others, attend parties, play games, and buy digital goods. This technological universe has gained attention last year andits use has increased 12-fold since then.

Everything indicates that investment in the metaverse will only increase in the next few years. Facebook alone is planning to hire 10,000 professionals in EU to work on metaverse over the next five years, and UI/UX professionals are crucial to create an outstanding experience in the metaverse spaces, whether they are in videogames, PCs, VR, or AR.

Conclusion

UX is such a fascinating field because it is constantly changing and professionals need to step up their game to stand out. Those last years were especially challenging due to the pandemic, but we also saw great opportunities arising from the current circumstances and creating new ways to research and design.

We expect a 2022 full of new technologies dedicated to UX and a need for professionals eager to learn new skills to adapt to the market.

UX

January 31, 2022