Ask an Inker: UX Trends to Look Out for in 2020

At Movable Ink, we pride ourselves on helping our clients create world-class marketing experiences for their customers. So, we spoke with Product Manager Amber Britton and Product Designer Loriah Pope to hear their user experience predictions for the year ahead.

What are your roles at Movable Ink?

A: I’m a product manager for multiple feature teams. My main focus right now is around security, user access and management, reporting, and analytics, and channel expansion. Most of the parts of the product my teams work on are ones that contribute to the basic hierarchy of needs of a user. These are things that work like you expect them to and shouldn’t introduce friction into your day. If these things are working like they should, you wouldn’t think twice about them!

L: I’m a product designer working on the data integrations team and also on the reporting and analytics team. My teams touch data as it comes into and out of the platform, and I work with product managers and engineers to understand our users’ goals and challenges. Then, we work together to figure out ways that we can go about designing and building those solutions.

What are the biggest trends happening in the UX space right now?

A: One big trend is going to revolve around access. A great example of that for software would be user roles. In 2020, we’re going to begin to see user roles become more specialized, allowing users to do what they need for their roles and have visibility into enough outside of their role to provide context, all while not being able to damage them. We introduced user roles in early 2019, and since then, I’ve noticed several software companies building out a more robust set of user roles and permissions.

L: UX design is continuing to evolve to be more collaborative in a way that positively informs business strategy. At Movable Ink, engineering, product, and design partner with our internal teams to build a product that helps our users achieve their goals. There are so many articles about how to build products on multidisciplinary teams  – I think that in 2020 design teams are going to continue to engage their users through research and testing, and these practices will extend into how design collaborates with engineering, product, and internal teams. 

What are your UX predictions for 2020? 

A: I think there’s another big trend in an overall user experience that revolves around visibility into personal data and what companies are doing with it. With regulations like GDPR and CCPA, notices about cookies are popping up on websites left and right. Brands are becoming more transparent about the data they’re collecting on users and the actual purpose of collecting that data. Intentionally building trust with users is going to be a huge trend moving forward.

L: Data-driven design is going to create more opportunities between designers and consumers to share data back and forth. In the past couple of years, the idea of data privacy has been a really important topic to the point where users are very aware of the fact that they’re sharing data with companies. I think this partnership will raise the expectations users have around how responsible companies are with their data, and with the level of personalized experiences they deliver. In 2020, I think this will be a huge focus within the design community. 

What can brands do to level-up their user experiences in the new year?

A: I would say a quick win would be to take stock of the data that you have and figure out the ways you can integrate that into your UX. Take 20 minutes to map out all of the different things that power parts of your business, look for overarching themes, then connect internally to discuss the possibilities.

L: This is something I think a lot of brands struggle with generally, but metrics. I think that it is easier to rely on qualitative metrics like user interviews and have that act as the main data point, but there are so many tools out there to help you get quantitative data that you can combine with those conversations that you’re having. Make sure that you’re defining success metrics very early on. You don’t want to get halfway through an effort without being sure if you actually accomplished the user goal. It’s easier said than done, but taking the time to invest in defining meaningful success metrics early on will make the world’s difference later on in a project.

In your opinion, what are the biggest UX challenges that brands are facing right now?

A: Antiquated thinking and this fear of coming across as Big Brother is a big challenge that brands need to overcome. But brands also have to avoid the pitfall of assuming something isn’t possible just because it wasn’t at some point in the past. Give employees the space to experiment.

L: I think metrics are definitely a big one, and a large part of it is making sure that you are taking the time to investigate what kind of metrics are important for your team. Another thing that can be challenging is making sure that while your teams are working on their own projects, your organization comes together to make sure you’re all still managing to work more holistically. A user on your platform doesn’t think of all the individual jobs involved, they just see the experience you’ve built for them.  

What do brands need to do differently in 2020?

A: You cannot take one thing you know about a user and apply that to all of your users. Brands need to speak to users on an individual basis. Whether that’s in marketing communications, software applications, or elsewhere, marketers need to make sure they walk the walk and actually personalize and tailor experiences for users. 

There is no excuse for brands to send an email about downloading their app to a user who’s already downloaded it. There’s also no excuse for failing to collect online and offline data. Brands have the power to collect data and shouldn’t be afraid to actually use it. People already know that you have it. Be purposeful and create data-driven and relevant experiences. Take the new year as an opportunity to get excited about improving experiences across the board.

L: Especially when working on small, cross-functional teams, building out a SaaS platform moves pretty quickly. Making sure that each team is working in a way and with a pace that works well for them creates a possibility for inconsistencies in the platform – creating new interactions to satisfy needs for the particular teams’ context, versus reusing patterns so users don’t have to relearn an experience. Design systems are a huge help with this. Movable Ink invests in a team that focuses on creating, adapting, and documenting patterns for different cross-functional teams to use, allowing engineers and designers to focus on solving problems for their areas of the platform.

How can brands create innovative user experiences in 2020?

A: Brands have to connect the offline world with the online world. If you are a brand that has a physical location where physical traffic comes in, you also use computers. There is no excuse to not connect that experience with what might happen online, and encourage the behaviors you want your users to exhibit. 

L: It’s hard when you’re focused on the day-to-day, but taking the time to read about what’s new, go to conferences, and spend time talking to other people in the industry will help. Spend time embracing that new technology. If you invest a small portion of your time to do that early on, by the time the rest of the world catches up, you’ve already put in the work. 

Interested in joining our team? Check out our open roles!