2018 is set to be yet another exciting year for Design. With so many predictions for what to expect this year, it can be a little overwhelming to pin-point which trends might work for your company and its customers, particularly when attempting to effectively blend aesthetic and practical needs. We consider some ideas for working with some of the top trends in 2018.
Trust Points versus Touch Points
In their 2018 Design Trend Article, “In Transparency We Trust”, top Design firm Fjord, suggests that “Organizations will need shift their emphasis from ‘touch points’ to ‘trust points’ when carving out market differentiation.” Their focus is on the use of blockchain technology as a method for enhancing security, particularly in banking and finance industries. While enhanced security is paramount for financial and similar industries, the notion of “Trust Points” is something that can be applied across industries and use-cases.
The foundation of an exceptional customer experience is trust. The customer needs to trust that each Touch Point with your company will provide a reliable interaction that facilitates the process of achieving their goal without error or security risk.
Even if your company is not working with blockchain technology, it can benefit from integrating the notion of trust points into its Customer Journey and Product Design. Be sure to design for trust by clearly defining next steps, alerting users when actions are irreversible, helping users understand outcomes, being transparent about design motivations and the implications of product use, and more.
As attention spans become shorter, designers will be increasingly tasked with offering affordances for efficiency. While designers often dream of creating products so simple that no guidance is needed to use them, the reality is that many products, particularly B2B products can be very complex and necessitate some type of guide. Further, customers bring aplethora of unique sensibilities and perspectives. Each individual will have a unique approach when working with your product. Help your customers save time by:
- Offering suggestions, such as form field examples or questions or helper messages to check-in with the user
- Context-specific features, such as information icons located near more complex features of your product, or displaying text or icons only when relevant to a current or active user behavior (such as displaying on hover or tap).
- Design for goals. Help customers achieve their goals by designing experiences with a clear start and end.
Data Visualization continues to be a hot trend, yet it remains relatively un-tapped in a meaningful way in B2B. CRM, CMS, ERP and other similar applications are ripe for data visualization because many applications of these applications already collect and store data. Often such applications offer dashboard visualizations – some are interactive and/or animated; many are not. This is changing.
Consider how the data gathered and stored in the application can offer value to customers. Use this data to offer visualizations that are approachable, digestible and offer insight into situations, systems, processes and outcomes. Help customers use visualizations to find outliers and offer insights related to the significance of the data.
Customers continue to demand greater personalization of products to simplify and enhance their experience. In the B2B context, personalization can be frequently seen with features like native chat support and push notifications. Features like this will continue to expand and develop. Opportunities for expansion of personalization in the B2B context can also include personalized greetings and work-flow suggestions based customers’ digital interactions or integrating personalized security protocols such as biometric authentication, including facial recognition, voice recognition, finger prints, or iris scan.
Blended UI – Visual & Voice
Implementing Voice UI in a B2B context can be complicated as a result of the need for privacy or the concern for creating a nuisance or distracting environment for fellow employees. In 2018, designing a blended visual and voice user interface is a more practical approach to integrating voice features into B2B products. Consider implementing search and other forms that permit users to speak or type words into fields and/or navigation patterns based on speech, click or tap interactions. Voice design can also maximize accessibility.
Emerging: Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality & Blending physical with digital
Imagine a Customer Journey map that uses modeling like seen in Star Wars in the Jedi Map Room or High Council Meeting. Personas could be positioned in highly detailed settings and moved from context to context easily giving designers a better understanding of the customer experience. Of course, this is a vision that has yet to be realized, but if you haven’t seen it, take a look at what companies like Meta are doing.
AR and VR are becoming more prevalent and exciting in the B2C context, yet there are still obstacles to overcome for B2B products. Some exciting implementations of AR in a B2B context include large scale equipment modeling, product development and prototyping, trade show and event experiences, and more. These examples are just the beginning and worth watching for further development.
Now is an exciting time in design – as culture is changing, so is design. Designers are now being challenged to look beyond the surface of ‘design thinking’ and critically think beyond the sticky note to develop truly personal, secure and valuable products.
There is so much more to talk about for 2018. We’ll follow-up with some highlights on visual and delightful design trend predictions – until next time!
Design Outside the Lines, Fjord, https://trends.fjordnet.com/design-outside-the-lines/
In Transparency We Trust, Fjord, https://trends.fjordnet.com/in-transparency-we-trust/
Here’s Where UX Is Going in 2018: Top 7 Design Trends, Queble Solutions, https://blog.prototypr.io/heres-where-ux-is-going-in-2018-top-7-design-trends-d0cb73e51b45
Voice Interaction UX: Brave New World…Same Old Story, Kathryn Whitenton, Nielsen Norman Group, https://www.nngroup.com/articles/voice-interaction-ux/
B2B Use Cases in AR/VR, Optera, http://blog.opteragroup.com/augmented-and-virtual-reality-in-b2b