2019 has been a massive year for user experience (UX) design. Many of the drivers included an increased value of privacy, voice interfaces, content-focused experiences, and UX writing.

As we all make sense of the power of the internet and the implications it has on human behavior, here are the four design trends I'm predicting for 2020.

1. Privacy, inclusivity, and transparent design

Privacy

Remember when GDPR (EU General Data Protection Regulation) took effect, replacing EU Directive, and member state implementing laws. And as of January 1, 2020, the CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018) has become effective.

We'll continue to see a rise in the implementation of protection laws, helping further protect consumers and how their data can and cannot be used.

Accessibility

With almost 4.53 billion people active on the internet as of September 2019, according to Internet Usage and World Population Statistics estimates That's nearly a 60% penetration rate; it would be an understatement to say we've got a few more billion people to onboard.

The Web and Internet as a whole is an increasingly valuable resource in many aspects of our life which includes: education, employment, government, commerce, health care, recreation, and more. The web needs to be accessible to everyone to provide equal access and equal opportunity to people with disabilities.  All of this provides opportunities for those with disabilities to participate more actively in society.

Transparency

Recognizing the characteristics of a good friend will help you understand what makes a good user experience (UX). Good friends have your back, they wouldn't recommend something that you shouldn't do, they are trustworthy, and they're clear.

Good UX design carefully considers how the design and function of your site, app, or product creates a sense of trust and transparency – like a friend.

Take Everlane; for example, they provide a great example of how future brands could deliver more trustworthy experiences. They offer customers a chance to get closer to the factories the clothes are made in, providing relevant information about the ethical methods, and why you should buy into them.

Additionally, and prayerfully, we'll see the demise of web pop-ups ugh

2. Rise in Micro-Communities

While the internet is at the tender age just beyond 30 years, and more and more people becoming connected, we've seen an increase in massive online communities. And although these large communities play an essential role in making design more accessible to more people, we have to think about how we have to re-focus on the smaller communities we build ourselves to get the full value out of our conversations.

Through firsthand experience, I couldn't agree more, I've joined countless numbers of online communities hoping to make human connections at scale. What I'd end up finding is thousands of members either becoming inactive once members realize they nearly nothing in common, or remain active but end up devolving into an endless stream of self-promotion.

Now, this doesn't stop designers from having online conversations with each other; it just means discussions are moving away from massive communities to micro- or niche-communities, which naturally is more intimate, focused, and valuable to all members.

In 2020, the most relevant discussions in communities are becoming local, genuine, and focused.  We'll innately use larger communities to find and build smaller communities. In a world where there's a ton of noise, and everyone is shouting, I'm finding quieter and more thoughtful conversations amazingly valuable. 

3. Design as a Team Sport

The "unicorn" designer is dying off. As teams grow and projects become more complex, designers can longer be a one-man-band. Instead, designers need to become part of a bigger conversation around collaboration and team enablement. 

Many designers are working at smaller companies often signup for this "unicorn" designer role, pushing the entire design process forward alone and, at the same time, creating a culture of design in the company. A brave endeavor usually tasked as a lone wolf; at times, their efforts feel like their swimming against the current. In worse case scenarios, burning out, leading to turnover, reduces productivity, and decreased team morale.

Alternatively, designers should be enablers in companies and organizations, bringing teams together towards a common goal, putting their ego on the back burner, and create a safe harbor for collaboration.

4. Rediscovering IA (Information Architecture)

As many of our interactions move to the digital space, we need to find better ways to visualize and map digital ecosystems we create and live within. 

Information architecture is a foundational part of product design. Yet, it has taken a back seat in the design applications in recent years, with a considerable focus on skipping to the look and feel of user interfaces, you know, the sexy part.

The mantra of move fast and break things hasn't aided the structured cadence of the design process. Designers coming into the field are being groomed to fill their organizations need to move fast and design at Model-T-assembly-like fashion. They are essentially copying and pasting solutions across diverse applications which have a completely different set of problems to solve. 

We need to slow down in 2020 and leverage our visualization skills to untangle the mess we've left behind over the recent years. We need to think more about the longevity and impact of our design vs. short-term gains from duplicating solutions "that work."

Did I miss anything? Feel free to let me know, and always, if you'd like to strike up a conversation over coffee, email, or socials, I'm available.

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Photo by Nikita Kachanovsky on Unsplash

Resources: 

https://blog.prototypr.io/why-transparency-is-key-for-the-future-of-brand-user-experience-1b276deec615

https://www.bakerlaw.com/webfiles/Privacy/2018/Articles/CCPA-GDPR-Chart.pdf

https://medium.com/fbdevclagos/why-web-accessibility-is-important-and-how-you-can-accomplish-it-4f59fda7859c

https://apnews.com/1a944fcf10c445f2a87fcd5c2d0320e5

https://trends.uxdesign.cc/

https://www.toptal.com/designers/ux/digital-design-trends-2020