How is the UX/UI sector in Hong Kong?
User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) designers’ have always rendered their roles vital to any technologically-driven organisation as they bridge business goals to its audiences. While marketers and the public relations team maintain the branding of the company, UX/UI designers are the ones who sustain the ‘face’ of the company, enhancing the back-end systems usability and efficiency of applications as well as the front-end experience.
To create enduring first impressions whilst enhancing an organisation’s reputation, a UX/UI specialist’s role has become increasingly indispensable from various fields.
What are the fields that UX/UI are increasingly in demand?
Strategy and Content: Competitor Analysis, Customer Analysis, Product Structure/Strategy, Content Development
UX/UI complements content strategy, creating a synergistic effect much greater than simply resolving conflict, if any. Combining the expertise, skills and mindsets of usability professionals, creative designers, content curators and strategists facilitates better communication of ideas between the company and its audience. UX/UI takes into account the clarity, readability, and optimisation of content on each communication platform, fully utilising it.
Wireframing and Prototyping: Wireframing, Prototyping, Testing/Iteration, Development Planning
Similar to a blueprint for a prototype, a wireframe plots out and explores possible options for different functionalities on a platform. Evaluating and rationalising the design, this process justifies why and where a certain bulk of content is placed on a website before it is presented to your client so that one is able to gain user feedback or present it to your project team for adjustments to be made.
Execution and Analytics: Coordination with UI Designer(s), Coordination with Developer(s), Tracking Goals and Integration, Analysis and Iteration
Analytics have traditionally been used to inform marketing strategy and tactics, but we now see more usability and user-experience professionals relying on this quantitative-data source to aid in research and design.
With UI/UX optimisation, an organisation will not only be able to gain the trust of its consumers in a faster rate, but also improve brand recognition and retention of users. As such, demand for UX/UI design professionals will continue to rise so as to ensure that user satisfaction is further enhanced. One skill that will be in demand – the ability to ensure usability and ease of accessibility to various systems and applications that are created and innovated by the organisation.
What are some of the upcoming UX/UI Trends?
1. Integration of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)
Although Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are concepts that are not new, its importance in the field of UX/UI is imminent with potential benefits that can be reaped. AR ad VR interfaces are an example of non-command UI in which tasks are accomplished using contextual information collected by the computer system. To be able to interpret the current context and “augment” the reality, an “agent” runs in the background to analyse the many external inputs and act on them, or provide actionable information.
In other words, AR and VR will serve to help UX/UI by decreasing the interaction cost to perform tasks with simplified mechanics. This will reduce a user’s cognitive load, and minimises attention switched between complicated tasks. It provides an opportunity for a seamless, low-effort, yet rich user interaction with the real world.
2. Interactivity: bots, wearables, interactive prototyping, animations, micro interactions
Micro-interactions, typically in the form of small, on-screen animations, are playing a vital role in UI and UX design today, especially on mobile and smaller screen devices.
From a user experience perspective, micro-interactions are not only small, entertaining on-screen animations or transitions, but are forms of visual feedback for the user and their actions. Micro-interactions allow users to understand what is happening, what has happened, and what will be happening as they interact.
3. Artificial Intelligence (AI)
AI will soon become an indispensable tool in a UX designer’s kit, especially when a user experience is ‘humanised’ on digital platforms. AI nurtures fruitful collaboration in the domain of UX, maps out user behaviours with predictive analytics in real-time to enhance a user experience while removing low-value and repetitive tasks.
Though AI technologies like machine learning, chatbots, robots, voice recognition and other systems are slowly gaining momentum, the growth seems to be gradual. Nevertheless, AI, when combined with UX will soon become the icon of future technology. Merging AI with UX is a formula that would lead us to enhanced content findability and reachability.
What may be some of the rising concerns within UX/UI?
Optimisation and tech roadblocks
Web technology has improved a lot in the recent years and while some plugins are not needed any more, native mobile applications still require regular updating. And if an update is required to perform a specific task, that can be considered a roadblock for the user. This will then impede a platform or system’s speed and performance, reducing efficiency and productivity.
Dark patterns are one way where UI Designers attempt to confuse a user by making certain actions as difficult as possible. Information is hidden from the users and it also attempts to persuade users to perform other actions instead of what they initially wanted. For example, placing a sponsored advertisement at the most prominent position as seen in your mobile screen. The purpose and rationality of the tools chosen to improve a user experience is thus questioned if an increased amount of effort is needed to execute an intention action.
All efforts to integrate AI, AR, and VR in an attempt to spur greater interactivity aim to bring about a rich, personal and seamless user experience. This is a step forward and will be a smooth one if organisations are able to source for the right available talent who possess the key skills to facilitate the integration of these ongoing and upcoming trends.
Sources: Design Modo, Creative Bloq, Sitepoint.com, Muzli