What are the top UX trends that will drive customer engagement this year?

As January rolls on, Neal Wright, senior UX designer at Rawnet provides marketers with an overview of UX design with tips on how to optimize within a brand’s digital strategy.

User experience (UX) encompasses all aspects of the end-users interaction with the company, its services and its products. For marketers, the aim is to meet the exact needs of their customers, creating relevant and meaningful experiences for users. This spans the entire process of acquiring and integrating a product or service, including the branding, design, usability and functionality. More often than not, the story begins before the product or service is even in the user’s hands.

UX has a vital role within a brand’s digital strategy and is a trend that is continually evolving. For companies to stay on top, they must be prepared to be agile in order to adopt modern-day trends. Companies must also be programmed to learn fast and act quickly to be in front of potential competition in today’s digital marketplace. New UX trends appear year after year, as when they grow in popularity, they can quickly become oversaturated and widely ineffective. This means planning for the upcoming year can be a challenge for most marketers.

There will be a number of UX trends that are set to dominate 2022, such as personalized experiences, AI automation, voice search and dark themes.

Power of personalization and automation

In the digital age, products and services have become somewhat on-demand for customers, with users increasingly demanding convenience and ease of use. With this, consumers now expect solutions to be tailored to their needs and often will select alternative brands if they know that they can find the desired level of personalization elsewhere. In fact, 74% of customers feel frustrated when the experience is not personalized. This highlights the importance of marketers including personalization when creating their future strategies, with those who are personalizing web experiences benefiting from a 19% uplift in sales.

Ultimately, personalization allows a product or service to fit seamlessly into a user’s lifestyle to ensure the process is frictionless. The key to successful personalization and automation is data.

It’s vital here to understand the target audience, including their attributes, interests, demographics and previous buying patterns, resulting in efficient personalization. Following this, brands can start collecting data and understand the customer’s interests to tailor the content to the target users to enrich customer experiences.

Additionally, with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), brands can better understand human behavior and predict what the purchase journey looks like for customers, to further improve the personalization of the users experience. With the benefits of predictive analytics, marketers can build patterns to analyze user behavior, interests and characteristics that can be leveraged to serve a tailored experience. Over time, businesses will be able to boost customer engagement across all of the touchpoints in the user journey, leading to lowered marketing risks, increased revenues and boosted ROI.

The growth of voice search

Whilst our need of getting instant answers has not changed, our methods of search and available solutions have.

Over the last decade, we have seen a continuous increase in the release of voice-activated assistants like Siri, Google and Alexa. This growth is creating new opportunities for brands to find their audience and engage with customers.

According to Juniper Research, the number of voice assistant devices in use is expected to surpass 8bn by 2024, more than the world’s current population.

Marketing continues to evolve alongside the evolution in technology, with 27% of the global online population using voice search on mobile, optimizing content according to voice search will become more important than ever.

It’s vital that brands consider requests to be expressed in a natural language to enhance their audience’s voice search experience, as most voice-activated searches are performed as questions instead of keyword phrases.

Introducing dark themes

Dark mode interfaces are another trend that we can expect to continually rise in popularity in 2022. Dark themes can truly improve focus, readability, eye strain and battery life, impacting not only user experiences but their health too.

It’s designed to be a supplemental mode to default (or light) theme and reduces the luminance emitted by device screens, while still meeting minimum color contrast ratios. Not only does this help improve visual ergonomics to reduce eye strain and adjust the brightness to current lighting conditions, but it also conserves battery power for users.

Furthermore, dark themes bolster screen time across different user devices leading to improved customer engagement and brand awareness. Renowned companies like Facebook, Google, WhatsApp and Apple were all early adopters of dark mode interfaces, and have heavily influenced other organizations to follow suit. Looking ahead, operating systems, browsers, and applications are opting for dark themed UX designs, so we can only predict to see this trend gaining more traction in the future.

Future of UX

Overall, UX impacts how a customer perceives a brand and their ability to attract attention and convert visitors to customers, meaning businesses need to keep abreast of emerging trends to stand out among competitors. This involves investigating the interactions between consumers and businesses and analyzing how they can improve experiences and amplify customer engagement by reflecting on their current performance.

To remain relevant in a world controlled by digital devices, marketing teams should expect to see a continued shift in focusing on personalized experiences, AI automation, voice search and dark themes, to name a few trends.

Neal Wright is senior UX designer at Rawnet

https://www.thedrum.com/opinion/2022/01/21/what-are-the-top-ux-trends-will-drive-customer-engagement-year

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