Top 5 Digital Trends For 2018

Digital & Innovation | 09th January 2018
Last year, we felt that most companies and businesses were becoming more aware of the importance of creating a balance between business goals and user needs. Maybe that’s the reason why we experienced a growing demand for these type of services at Hi INTERACTIVE.

Despite the fact that predicting trends in the Digital area could be a little difficult, it’s possible to look to the latest and near future of technology and make some assumptions. 

We followed our peers’ suggestions and we focused on the 5 trends that we feel will have the most impact on our work in the coming year:

1. Voice and gesture controls will force us to think beyond the screen

We would obviously have to include this one, as we’re sure voice-active user experience and voice user interfaces (VUIs) will continue to evolve and improve as we become more dependent on them for all sorts of devices from all sorts of brands and, therefore, uses.

UX Design will move away from designing for clicks towards designing for voice activation, and this will eventually lead to the replacement of most screens in the longer term. However, there are still limitations in voice interactions – for example, the technology is still difficult to use in crowded areas with too much noise or in quiet areas.

What implications will this have for users, and what impact will this have on the toolbox of a user researcher? It is more than likely that voice interfaces still have a way to go until they are seamless and natural. Chances are they will need to live alongside other interfaces that are still necessary. As VUIs improve, this will also offer significant improvements to people with visual and cognitive impairments who struggle to use inaccessible standard touch user interfaces.

In the next video you can learn about how Facebook is approaching AI research to build smart systems that can enhance people's lives:

2. Personalization will evolve to new levels

Users have become used to the convenience that digital solutions bring to the table, however there is a growing need to bring back the experience that was available and taken for granted in the local neighbourhood stores.

With AI and Machine Learning, the tools at our fingertips to create personalized experiences are boundless. The difference is that in digital solutions, we can leverage even more information and options to create experiences that are much more complex and personalized than ever before.

User Experience will be faced with the challenge of creating those experiences while balancing the advantages of personalized content and  what technology can bring, without overloading the users with too many options or content.

3. Using Virtual Reality to distribute brand’s content 

More and more, content will be used in every stage of the marketing funnel to support all the buyer’s journey. With the growing of Digital Communication and the increasing of distributed content by companies everyday online, brands need more than ever to stand out.

Technologies like Virtual Reality are one of the answers to that. According to Content Marketing Institute:

“71% of consumers think a brand that uses Virtual Reality is forward-thinking.”

Companies and brands have to create new experiences that bring them closer to consumers and distribute different formats of content, at the right time and place (for example videos, motion design, animation, etc.).

Virtual Reality is an effective way to distribute brand's content

4. Companies will increasingly resort Low-Code development 

Every company needs to be on the same channels as customers. Of course Digital is indispensable but everyone knows how expensive and time-consuming it can be to develop a new website or APP.

That’s why Low-Code seems to be the future. As OutSystems says “Low-code is a way to design and develop software fast and with minimal hand-coding.” which means that instead of the traditional procedural computer programming, platforms are build with application development platforms with minimal hand-coding.

As Gartner says "low-code development is on the rise as well, particularly when it comes to mobile app development. Gartner estimates that by 2018, more than half of all of all B2E mobile apps will be written by enterprise business analysts and citizen developers using rapid mobile applications development (RMAD) [aka "low-code development"] tools rather than by IT staff."

This increases agility, decrease costs and allows companies to focus on the business and adapt quickly as needed (learn more about Front-End for OutSystems platform here).

5. Augmented Reality will be the order of the day

More and more, companies need to improve experiences to differentiate themselves from the competitors and find space in customers’ minds. Augmented Reality will be one of the companies’ bets for 2018 since it is an effective way of attracting and maintaining more users and customers through product and brand experiences.

Let’s say that someone is looking for a new living room furniture and wants to know how it will look. With Augmented Reality, brands and companies will be able to offer their clients the experience of seeing exactly how that furniture will look in their real living room.

In terms of UX Design, for example, we will need to think about ease of use and creating as seamless an experience as possible. What the user sees, will need to fit with the environment in as natural a way as possible, only then will the customer appreciate the value of the solution.

Augmented Reality can be used to differentiate brands from competitors

At Hi INTERACTIVE we're looking anxiously towards the challenges these trends will bring and hope you will join us on the journey! 

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