We’re a few months into the year and its time to see what the digital arena will have in store for us for the remainder of 2018. Here’s what we can expect to see utilised, emerge and even fall short of its potential.

 

Talk to me please!

Voice activated interfaces
Trying to repair a road-bike, covered in grease doesn’t lend it’s to desperately opening YouTube for help. However with a couple magic words of choice help is at hand. With Gartner predicting 30% of all technology interactions will happen via voice-based systems, now’s the opportunity to become connected. By removing type, another layer of friction is removed from the user experience, opening your product up new audiences and situational advantages. This technology is likely to continue to be embraced, with 90% accuracy the norm, it’s time to prove your worth to the user.

 

Wait, I was reading that!

User-centric content
With the adoption of Google’s Material Design or Apple’s Human Interface Guides minimalism is here to stay and for that I’m grateful. So called ‘flat’ design focuses on removing distractions from what’s core. As Joe Sparano said:

Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent.

Creating a visually appealing interface by itself is pointless. The purpose of the interface should be to complement and enhance the product offering by utilising features and capabilities to help communicate the message. CX (Content Experience) shouldn’t be sacrificed in the process of been perceived as being cool, edgy, modern or any other adjective of choice.

 

0-60 in a heartbeat

Speed
People hate waiting, everything is now, from car leases, pre-released games or even car insurance without the huge forms. In a world where fast is better, speed is king. Welcome to Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) — allowing the creation of websites and ads that are consistently fast, beautiful and high-performing across all devices and platforms. No matter what the task, from tweaking a product to creating a new one, AMP is vital in 2018, otherwise I’m going to your competitor.

 

Motion sickness

AR & VR
The market prediction was huge, the reality hasn’t been fully visualised. The market for enterprise Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) will primarily belong in industries such as healthcare (training), engineering (inspections), real estate (virtual tours), game and events. However, challenges such as cost to entry, development and application must be addressed before AR and VR become a standard way of interaction.

 

Wait I have a website, I got it in the 90’s

Digital presence
In 2018 reasons for a company not to be online are scarce. Not surprising really. What is however is that very few have a considered digital strategy. Being ‘digital’ promotes, enhances collaboration and gives your brand a voice within a world-wide marketplace. Digital should be a series of windows into your business, so make sure they all look and feel similar and share a cohesive vision. Adapting a user centric design philosophy helps with this. User personas, testing and market insight should become your friends, as all are vital to your success. They shape design decisions, validating them in data and research and ensures the product speaks to its audience.

 

Who needs inclusive minutes and texts anymore?

Mobile devices
Internet access from mobile devices surpassed those from desktop more than 2 years ago, and a customer you would be hard pressed to find a mobile device that doesn’t have access to the internet. In the first half of 2018 Google will be begin its roll out of its new Mobile First Index, giving more weighting on the mobile version of your website and pushing you up the rankings. Ultimately it’s 2018 and being mobile friendly is a must. Period.

 

Scroll on by…

When to fold or hold
The term “above the fold” is a blast from the past and not in a good way! It’s an outdated idea that’s been carried over from the early days of web (Flash! Ahhh… *cough*) when users weren’t accustomed or aware they could scroll. Today, scrolling has now become second nature (especially on mobile devices). In 2011 Apple removed the scrollbar from OS, because it was no-longer needed as a visual cue. If people aren’t scrolling, chances are it’s because there’s not enough motivation to continue down a page, something all too common on poor performing PPC pages. Create an engaging ‘elevator’ proposition and watch in amazement as the user scrolls and engages with your product.

 

I’ll watch that!

Video
More video content is uploaded in 30 days than UK channels produced in 30 years! Utilise interactive storytelling to increase interactions and hold user attentions! Video helps compress complexity, evokes emotion and creates the opportunity to entertain, please and inspire your audience.

 

Dip your toe in the water

Prototyping
Validate your idea before it’s actually been built, saving money, time, stress and without risking your market influence. Remember the previous point. It’s for the users, keep them central and make sure it never becomes a vanity project.

 

Hi Tom, how are you doing?

Personalisation
Personalised content performs 42% better than non-personalized content. Netflix recommends content based on what we’ve watched, Spotify on what we’ve listened to and Amazon on what we’ve brought while drunk on a Sunday morning. The truth is one-size-never-fits-all, users are inherently unique, which requires technology to adapt to us and our needs. Ecommerce websites are starting to develop new approaches to make you feel more than a valued customer, you’re their friend, their contributor and 2018 will see this relationship blossom.

 

I don’t like, I love

Microtransactions
Twitter, Facebook et al have put reactions to the fore. Users love the ability to be themselves and to react naturally via posts and private messages. These micro-interactions allow the user to express themselves with others, without reloading the page. This should seem like a minor inconvenience, but using micro-interactions on your site in 2018 will allow users to communicate real-time. Thus increasing the speed and connectivity that they have come to expect in a fully connected world.

 

What does responsive mean?

Responsive design
69% of digital media time is spent on mobile. It’s 2018 and if your site isn’t responsive it’s already behind.

 

Big data Trumps

Data driven
Data wins. Simple.

Products created without data at their heart will never triumph over a product evolved and shaped from learning. Simply put a website without data at its heart can never be optimised. Be willing to adapt to the growing and developing user needs within the digital world. Measure, remove/improve weak links, learn from mistakes and turn the data into a design that users will love.