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Four trends UX leaders need to watch in 2023

The Key UX considerations for the coming year

UX has never been more important. Driven by the global pandemic, the shift to ecommerce has accelerated by five years. Not only have we witnessed the skyrocketing importance of UX across countries and industries, but changes in consumer behaviour have kept everyone in the industry on their toes.

To start 2023 off in the right fashion, here are four key trends all UX leaders will need to tackle or consider in the year ahead.

1. Declining consumer trust online

Cyber-criminals have been taking advantage of the global shift online during the pandemic, with attacks increasing by 125% globally in 2021. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has also prompted an 8-fold increase in phishing attacks on businesses in Europe and the US. It feels like barely a week passes without a well know brand featuring in the news for a data breach. As we write this, the BBC reports a ransomware attack on the Royal Mail linked to Russian criminals. A few weeks before, it was The Guardian. It’s unsurprising then that 37% of people said they don’t trust the Internet, with 18% abandoning a checkout flow because they didn’t trust the site with their credit card details. 

You may have the very best security practices implemented. Still, most customers don’t have the technical understanding to know if a site is secure (and most of the work is implemented behind the scenes.) It’s, therefore, down to you and your UX team to rebuild consumer trust. 

By employing design strategies, messaging, and persuasion techniques, you can help quell customers' apprehensions. But, it’s a tricky line to walk; overdo it on the security messaging, and users might start worrying more about it than before. That’s why data analysis and user research is critical. Zuko can provide form-field-level analytics throughout the checkout to help identify where your users might be showing signs of doubt. You can analyse time in field to identify where users are hesitant and see which was the last field they interacted with before abandoning the checkout. You can also use ‘unusual UX behaviour’ type alerts at the form field level to help identify bugs. Nothing damages consumer trust more than a buggy website. 

Once armed with data on where the issues lie, you can conduct user research to understand what your customers think and feel. For example, it might not be cybercrime causing trust issues but strikes and supply chain disruptions impacting product availability and deliveries. These insights help you create specific elements of the experience that build back trust.

2. Conversational design 

Conversational web design is where customers interact with a chat-like interface that mimics a real conversation. This trend is here to transform tedious user journeys into fun and engaging experiences. It’s particularly pertinent to the financial, travel, and healthcare industries, which typically include long application forms or onboarding. Instead of being presented with a 30-field form, users are ushered through the process question by question. Some brands have utilised this design trend to help personalise the experience, which helps build relationships with potential customers. Below are two of our favourite examples. 

With Jack Conversational Form

Insurance company With Jack incorporates helpful tips into a natural-sounding conversation. It’s a much nicer experience than trying to hover over a tooltip and being presented with hard-to-decipher legalese. 

Noom Weight Lost Screen Shot
Noom Conversational Form

Noom, the weight loss app, uses a conversational quiz-style onboarding, during which they reinforce key messages about their proposition. 

3. The cost of ignoring accessibility is higher than ever 

While accessibility has been discussed and highlighted over the years, businesses still fail to provide digital experiences that everyone can use. It’s estimated that 98% of US websites don’t meet accessibility standards despite 26% of adults in the US having a disability.

If it’s a business case you need to incentivise the higher-ups to take accessibility seriously; disabled customers represent a $13tn opportunity. If risk is more persuasive, the recent spate of lawsuits against businesses that fail to offer accessible websites should help do the trick.

The number of legal battles is set to rise, with new laws and policies coming into effect, such as The European Accessibility Act (EAA) in June 2019. In the US, web accessibility has been a grey area because it's not explicitly stated in Title III of the ADA. However, in March 2022, the Department of Justice confirmed that apps and websites are subject to the same guidelines under the ADA.

To ensure your digital experience is accessible to everyone, keep up-to-date with the latest technologies used by disabled people and consider what implications new designs might have on all users. 

4. UX in the Metaverse 

Despite Facebook's rebrand to “Meta” back in 2021 and a bunch more tech CEOs sharing their vision of the ‘metaverse’ details on what exactly “it” is are still scant. 

Much of their speculative visions for the future resemble an immersive shared virtual world reminiscent of that in Ready Player One. But it feels like much of this already exists in gaming. And we already have the technologies needed to experience a metaverse; they just haven’t managed to become mainstream. More problematic is the idea of a single metaverse—the level of interoperability needed for digital assets from any business would require an enormous amount of commercial cooperation, which I don’t believe will happen. It’s likely, at least in the short term, that disparate metaverses are formed by different conglomerates.

While it’s hard to envision what exactly future digital experiences will look like, we are seeing certain trends that might give us a clue. Such as the importance of creating consistent cross-platform experiences, 3D modelling, and immersive storytelling or game-like experiences. 

Conclusion 

2023 is expected to be another turbulent year with economic and global uncertainties impacting how we work, shop, and relax. UX leaders must keep up to date with trends and use their own website data to stay ahead in such competitive and uncertain times. 

To recap for the year ahead; 

  1. Consider how you build and maintain trust with your users or customers. Use data to identify where a lack of confidence might be a problem in the user journey and use qualitative research to understand what’s causing it. 
  2. Assess how conversational design could make lengthy onboarding or application processes more engaging. 
  3. Stop ignoring accessibility issues. Fix any problems your website has and keep up-to-date with technologies used by disabled people to ensure your website stays accessible. 
  4. Think about the direction tech giants are going in with regard to “the metaverse” and how this might impact the business you work in. Consider testing out more immersive digital experiences and story-like journeys. 

What do you think about these four trends? Is there something you feel is missing? Join in the conversation by letting us know on LinkedIn

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