How will UX design adapt to emerging technologies?

In this week’s #UXchat we’ll be discussing emerging tech and where UX design fits into the crazy new worlds of AI, VR, AR, MR, IoT and other advances that result in even more confusingly similar abbreviations.

woman wearing virtual reality headset in what appears to be hell

In this conversation, our community of UX professionals will tackle such lofty topics as how humans can work in harmony with our new robot overloads (probs get to sit around a lot more) as well as tackling the ethical considerations (who makes the tea?) and product design challenges (comfier chairs will have to be made).

Just in case you’re new to UXChat, here’s a little background to our weekly UX conversation where you can rub virtual shoulders with some of the most knowledgeable ‘UXperts’ on the planet, every Thursday at 4pm.

This week’s conversation was hosted by Miklos Philips, Head of User Experience at DoubleVerify and a huge proponent of user-centred design thinking. You’ll find many of Miklos’ helpful comments throughout the following discussions.

In the world of emerging technology, what are the implications for design?

From both the user and designer’s point of view, we’ll have to get used to new modes of interaction. Whether gestural, voice control or eyebrow raise (see the Roger Moore bot), new ways of interacting beyond the screen will become the new normal.

As you would hope, there’s a heavy responsibility for the designer of new technology to remember the user at the centre of the product. As Mira Nair states below in regards to interacting with AI, there will perhaps be a move away from UX design to relationship building.

Other ethical debates spring up around data and how it’s used to market to us in new digital landscapes.

I believe Futurama covered this rather accurately.

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Futurama – Internet ads

If you’re a giant tech company, you can find the resources to innovate beyond your core product. But for smaller businesses in the emerging tech space, how will they balance innovation vs scale?

There will be more pressure on lean UX and product teams. If you’ve gotten used to being a UX team of one, you may have to prepare to push yourself even further into scary new realms – like collaborating with other people! Shudder.

How do we work in harmony with the machines? Maybe they’ll give us more time to concentrate on the bigger picture stuff – strategy, researching other future tech. Or maybe we’ll just have more time to watch Adventure Time.

How is the design process changing, in regards to emerging tech?

Will we see the end of user research and testing using actual human beings, now there’s the possibility that AI can do just as good job as us mere flesh-bags?

What are the biggest product design related challenges in emerging tech?

Invisible UIs, 360° environments, no buttons, health & safety concerns, education, training, whatever made The Lawnmower Man turn evil – all very important things to consider when designing products in the future.

Finally, here’s some reading material to help prepare yourself for designing beyond the screen…

Thanks so much for everyone who took part in #UXchat this week. Please follow us and tune into Twitter every Thursday at 4pm for more insightful UX based discussion.

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Main image by Samuel Zeller

Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher is the Content Marketing Manager of WhatUsersDo. He’s also the editor of wayward pop culture site Methods Unsound. He used to be the deputy editor of Econsultancy and editor Search Engine Watch.

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