Technology is rapidly disrupting our industries, and it’s vital for UX Designers to keep up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry. In 2019, the growing prevalence of voice-based technology and the Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to impact the UX Design industry.   

A Recap: What did we see in 2018

  • The year is not over yet but we’ve already seen…

Voice-Command Will Continue to Grow

Voice-command technology is revolutionising the way we live and the industry is forecasted to be worth of US $18 billion by 2023. From the rise of smart-home devices such as Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa, to virtual assistants such as Apple’s Siri, playing music and keeping up-to-date with the news through the power of our voice is nothing new.

This year we saw the majority of voice-command searches being driven by a user’s intent to act. Search engine optimisation activities began to cater to long voice-command queries rather than short keywords common in text search but in 2019, advanced customisation and navigation will continue to drive voice-command technology forward and by 2020 it’s expected that 50% of all search engine queries are to be performed by voice.  

Pro Tip:  Forward-looking companies should consider voice-activation capabilities as part of their design and business strategy.

The Internet of Things (IoT), Discrete Interactions, and Gestural Designs Will Play an Even Bigger Role

UX Designers are tasked with designing and delivering digital experiences that cater to key human emotions such as trust and assurance. In 2019, the growing entanglement of IoT in our daily lives will create expectations for digital interfaces to closely replicate our human interactions.

In 2019 UX Design is going to play a bigger role in emerging technology, particularly around discrete interactions and gestural design.

Whether it’s Augmented Reality (AR) or thought-activated design, the role of UX Designers will go beyond screen-only interfaces to include physical interactions and micro movements. UX Designers will be encouraged to design solutions that will anticipate a user’s next move or query that will ultimately create delight, and meet a user’s needs.

In recent years, most tech screen players have raced to implement AR capabilities on their devices, with a lot suggesting that Apple’s latest ARKit is paving the way for the future of AR technology.

What to Watch: Delivering exceptional human experiences will not only increase the demand for UX Designers, but the demand may be felt by psychologists, researchers, and other specialists required throughout the design process.

Device-Agnostic Design

A UX Designer’s role is to ensure that a user’s experience is seamless, irrespective of the device they use — essentially managing all that is visible and beneath a user’s line of visibility.

Next year, the demand for ‘mobile-friendly’ or ‘mobile-first’ user experience will be superseded by device-agnostic designs that will take centre stage. Whether it’s your smartphone, smartwatch, laptop, or tablet, the increasing number of connected devices users have access to will push UX Designers towards creating more dynamic multi-device experiences.

For most users, their interactions with a digital product are concerned with achieving a specific goal  — whether it be to book a hotel, order a ride, or buy a shirt online.

One example of a company that is already taking a device-agnostic approach is Uber. Travellers on Uber can commence their journey from a voice-command device such as Google Home and finish their trip on their iOS or Android phone. Here the user’s journey touches two platforms but to the user is one unified continuous interaction.

Consider: How you can create digital experiences that go beyond PC and mobile, but cater for multiple devices? What does this mean for your end user’s experience?

The Shift from Flat to Material Design

The concept of ‘Flat Design’ embraces minimalism and focuses on usability and clean, open, crisp edges and bright colours through 2D illustrations.

Compared the Flat Design, ‘Material Design’ was created by Google in 2014 and has more depth and detail with grid-based layouts, responsive animations, and transitions and padding.

In a side-by-side comparison, the differences between Flat and Material Design are as follows:

Flat Design: bright, 2D animations with a minimalistic feel

Material Design: increased depth with 3D icons, shading, and light features

While the simplicity of a Flat Design has inherent benefits, Material Design will take your digital UI to the next level in 2019 by:  

  • Bringing designs into 3D: The introduction of textures and patterns to flat design add an additional depth and bring products to life
  • Increasing Interactivity: A rise in the use of animations will increase user interactivity and ‘liveliness’ of a product’s design
  • Improving Adaptability:  Unique designs for multi-device experiences will increase the customisation of a design’s user-centricity

Design Benefit: The increased detail of Material Design builds user trust and security with your application — which is extremely valuable if you’re an early stage startup or business.

Content-Focused Experiences

In today’s fast-paced, hyper-focused society, a UX Designer’s role isn’t simply about understanding a user’s customer journey. There’s no point in creating an exceptional product or service if no one knows you exist. In 2019, one of the biggest trends will be the ability to tell compelling stories around a digital experience.

Storytelling requires empathy, human connection, and an understanding of the motivations and inspirations for a user. To do this, it’s important for UX Designers to obtain data on a customer wants.

We know an average user is exposed to over 10,000 marketing messages a day, and attention will continue to be a coveted currency in 2019:

  • Live Video and Video Ads: Research predicts that video will account for 85% of all internet traffic in 2019. With video viewership in the billions, video and video advertising will be the go-to medium. Design considerations for video go beyond screen optimisation and gesture preferences but expand to immersive storytelling through AR or VR technology.

Video Tip: Determine the purpose behind your video. Is it to engage, entertain, or inform? What utility does your content bring to your audience? Establishing value is key in creating a successful content-focused experience.

  • Increased Personalisation:  The old days of ‘create it and they will come’ and ‘mass production’ are no more. The oversaturation of markets means consumers are expecting more from their brands. Imagine walking into a clothes store and finding a fitting room full of curated items just for you — things you’ve liked on Pinterest and items you’ve reserved online. You pick something and have it delivered straight to your house. You go home and your Google Home tells you that you’ll receive the item you just purchased at 2:00 pm the next day. Tailoring personalised experiences is now becoming the norm with international brands like Muji and Ikea taking lead in innovating retail.

Tip: Like a brick-and-mortar experience, tailoring digital experiences increases your efficiency, allowing you to nurture users into brand advocates by creating social proof.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has instantaneously connected us to the world more than ever before. Smart devices are closing the gap between humans and the way we experience digital products and services. Whether it’s the inclusion of voice-command design, adding a human touch, or the increased use of material design, there are a number of top UX trends to look out for in 2019. How many of these trends are you aware of or are you already doing?


If you want to take your skills to the next level, learn how you can forge a career in UX and stay ahead of the latest trends through our careers guide.

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