User Experience / The future of UX research in 2020

The future of UX research in 2020

Andy Thorne
person in a space suit

Having ‘2020’ vision over your website performance is vital. The new year is upon us, but the need to constantly evaluate and improve User Experience (UX) never gets old. Especially if you resolve to boost your lead conversion rate over the next 12 months.

This article sums up some of the UX research trends predicted for 2020, and what is driving them, as well as the website design impact some trends may have.

Speed and the advent of 5G

speed 5G

Say goodbye to 4G because 5G is on its way.

Speed is becoming an increasing priority for UX, primarily to cope with shrinking consumer attention and growing demand for faster data transfer times.

Using UX research to keep check of load times and navigation performance also helps you to prepare for the advent of super-fast 5G mobile networks. These will make it even more important to have websites optimised to perform swiftly and seamlessly.

5G could also throw up some interesting UX conundrums. Website designs to improve user experience currently rule out some features, that may become more viable in the coming months. For example, complex animation that hinders your load speed and UX now could work effortlessly on 5G, boosting user responses.

Independent UX evaluation increasingly important

One of the emerging UX research trends is a growing understanding that a regular, independent audit of user interface is commercially advantageous.

As UX is an emotive topic, and one that involves a constant process of learning, bringing in professional support provides valuable perspective. A UX Research specialist can audit performance against industry standards and technological advancement. They can also use their professional objectivity to provide clarity on design improvements and risk-managed experimentation.

The answers are constantly changing

Google analytics

Tracking website changes on tools such as Google Analytics is a great way to understand your website and how it performs.

After saying that, there is also a growing emphasis on impartial UX research that fully appreciates the learning imperative.

The way internet users make decisions is always shifting and changing. There is no set formula or even analytical methodology that can universally capture the ‘best way to grab and hold’ a website visitor’s attention.

Which means if a digital marketing agency promises you instant answers, they are missing the point!

What your organisation needs is ways to uncover the specific pains, gains, opportunities and threats entrenched in your website UX. In 2020, there will be greater emphasis on collating relevant intelligence to make data-driven decisions about website upgrades and enhancements. Rather than relying on ‘off the shelf’ solutions.

Agencies that empower clients

One of the trends in UX Research for 2020 is true of other important website developments too.

There is a move towards finding specialists who enlighten and inform; rather than specialists who make their methodology mysterious and who compel clients to rely on them.

As budgets tighten and expectations grow, companies want to be empowered to be the ‘masters of their own destiny’. This involves finding agencies able to pass on UX research skills and insights. From this, companies can develop and deliver their own strategies and plans.

The partnership approach to UX research could involve staff workshops and training, for example, to give relevant personnel the right tools, roles and responsibilities. This is far better than delivering weighty reports on UX that few people in the company understand!

Empowering companies to develop and activate their own UX research plans makes it more likely to be a continuous process too, as companies respond with agility to changes in the digital landscape.

Multi dimensional customer journeys

Graph and chart

Customer journeys and experiences will be at the top of your list of research in 2020.

Both UX research specialists and internal teams are increasingly appreciating the dual emphasis on user behaviour and logic, and the emotional aspects of a customer journey.

You can’t solely explore UX in terms of the basics; speed, convenience and clarity. Though this can help you explore website design features that improve these aspects, such as chatbots and voice user interface.

However, building potent UX will increasingly focus on emotional intelligence to drive lead conversion. It’s about ‘experience’. UX Research 2020 will test not just the activities of your website visitors, but also how they ‘feel’ about it!

Analytics provide you with statistics on how many users click away. UX research could tell you why!

This explores topics such as storytelling in Content, and mindful design to make websites more ‘human’.

It means using UX research tasks such as focus groups to capture changes in customer attitudes, expectations, motivations and problems.

Next steps on 2020 UX

2020 vision for UX means uncovering ways to make your website faster, but also to improve your organisation’s assured response to changes. The most rounded UX research in 2020 will also explore perceptions, not just behaviours.

All of this will support website design that builds brand exposure, awareness and understanding. It will also be the platform for creating greater empathy and interest.

The goal is to drive greater numbers of website visitors to your transaction page and ultimately to create loyal customers and advocates.