However, UX Magazine’s “The Top UX Predictions for 2015” cited three UX trends that benefit from keeping true to good, old-fashioned consulting principles:
- the rise of Slippy UX
- the death of Web design
- good to great customer experience
What these three trends have in common is that they all raise things that UX professionals have been doing for years to the next level. Whenever an organization is trying to move to the next level of complexity and mature their offerings, consultants become even more critical. So, while 2015 will be a great year for consulting in general, it is going to be a great year for UX consulting in particular.
Slippy User Experiences
While this design concept is not really new, Jake Zukowski, Assistant Creative Director at frog design, has coined the term slippy UX to describe a very natural progression from sticky user experiences, for which the design goal is to get a user to notice, then stick around and continue using your Web site, application, or product. In contrast, the goal when designing a slippy user experience is for it to catch a user’s eye, then seamlessly integrate with that person’s life, and support whatever he or she needs. This type of experience lets people get on with their life while it does useful things for them. Think of user interfaces for cars, critical medical devices, airplanes, or connected homes.
Anyone who has ever designed a user interface for an airplane, a nuclear reactor, or a military application knows very well the importance of such slippy experiences. When I was designing a network-management user interface for the U.S. military, this was precisely our goal. When a soldier is racing down a dirt road in a Humvee in dangerous territory, the last thing he needs is a sticky user experience for an application that navigates for him and keeps a lookout for things in the road and enemy combatants. While, at that time, we did not have the term slippy, military folk being the acronym-loving, practical bunch that they are, we coined the acronym and catch phrase: KITFA (Keep It the #$#@ Away), which nicely summed up what we were trying to do. This type of experience should enhance, not interfere with what a user is doing; nor should it consume too much of a user’s attention. We sorely need this UX design mindset for both consumer and enterprise user experiences, but it’s a lot harder to accomplish.
Herein lies the need for a UX consultant: Companies have been fighting for so long, not only to grab people’s attention, but to keep it. So it is not going to be easy for them to grasp this new design goal, then design and implement the next generation of user experiences. For companies to get this right, they are going to need a lot of help along the way.