OUR TAKE Experience Design team
2017 Predictions: What to look for in Experience Design & Content Strategy
12.23.2016

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Keep it personal and keep it real

Amy Lachapelle — Associate Director, Content Strategy and Experience Design

I predict personalization and authenticity will be key content themes for 2017. The former will continue to skyrocket as technology and big data allow for better execution; the latter will be a unique yet prescient challenge as fake news and troll factories are further uncovered.

Content Strategists Will (More Frequently) Be Creative Leads

Dawn Bovasso — VP/Group Director, Content Strategy and Experience Design

As content, tech, and art continue to overlap, content strategists will be uniquely positioned to lead projects. “Creative Lead” will be less about owning a big idea, and more about a deep understanding of all of the systems and capabilities — what they mean, how they’re impactful, and where and when they need to be applied.

Brands will experiment with Virtual Reality (VR)

Debbie Goff — VP/Director, Experience Design

The rise of immersive, virtual experiences will give consumers an even deeper sense of how a brand fits their needs and lifestyle. From traveling the world to trying on clothes to exploring real estate — or simply experiencing the joy a brand has to offer — VR can enhance and personalize brand interactions in new and innovative ways. Gaming and education may be the first stop, but consumer brands will reap the benefits. In the next few years, you’ll find yourself purchasing something in a virtual world.

Consumers expectations about when and where they can make digital purchases will shift

Matt Amyot — Associate Director, Experience Design

In 2017, consumer purchase behaviors in ALL digital channels will become a reality that consumer brands need to understand and optimize for in order to innovate, drive sales, and stay relevant. Along with the standard SEO and eComm paradigms of the past decade, brands will need to engage consumers in full purchase behaviors out in social as platforms like Facebook and Instagram further develop in-app product sales capabilities. In the SMS space, shopping based iMessage apps have become a reality. In email, innovative newcomers like RebelMail have proven that purchases are possible directly in a customer’s inbox. Potential drivers will be things like group ordering, social capital, brand ubiquity, and ease of use — all of which require great strategy, experience design and engineering. For brands, meeting customers where they already are, rather than hoping they will come to you, will never have been more achievable!

Accessibility will be more incorporated into our work

Christina Goodwin — Lead Experience Designer

As we’ve seen with Microsoft in 2016, 2017 will bring us more tech in accessibility that brings it not only to the fore of more people’s minds, but more designers will consider it earlier in their process. More designers will learn from it to understand how to make their experiences more usable and universal.

Source: Fast Company

The future of design depends on who’s looking at it

Liz Collins — Lead Experience Design

Static is dead. Beautiful is table stakes. Designs should be in motion and responsive not only to screen sizes but who’s looking at it. People see themselves as individuals and expect personalized experiences that respond to their needs and likes. The best experiences go beyond responding to needs and predict them — functionally Spotify is the banner example for personalized experiences. However, I predict that even Spotify will be advancing their experience to be even more responsive and dynamic for its users.

Evolvement of haptic feedback in digital products and mobile devices

Jason Hanaford — Senior Experience Designer

The use of subtle vibrations to give a feeling of sense of touch in digital products or mobile device is becoming increasingly more sophisticated, especially with the enabling technology becoming cheaper. 2017 will demonstrate more uses, such as modifying user behavior or creating a sensation of “feeling” of a texture on a page for example. As a designer, I’m excited to explore another possibility to better communicate with the user.

Smart brands will embrace “design languages” over “style guides”

Michael Histen — VP/Director, Experience Design

We already know the digital landscape is fractured across a variety of screen sizes, devices, and contexts, and style guides no longer cut it as a means for consistent brand expression. Smart brands will follow in the footsteps of companies like Google and IBM and will embrace more flexible and expressive design languages that provide cohesion while enabling innovation and adaptability. Great brands will focus not just on a consistent look and feel, but will provide memorable experiences that elicit an emotional response that speaks to their brand identity.

When Artificial feels Natural

Jason Chan — VP/Director, Creative Strategy

Artificial Intelligence is being applied to all manner of customer experiences, making them smarter, more informed and relevant. It is the backbone of many new endeavors, from bots to voice control, and more importantly, it is disrupting entire industries.

Expect more fluidity between devices, bodies and services

Michael Kontopoulos — Senior Experience Designer

1. As users become literate in biometrics (fingerprint scanning, etc), use of the body will expand. Retinal scanning, voice recognition, tone and sentiment analysis will become low-hanging fruit for security and interface design.

2. The launch of PSVR will trigger an consumer-level VR “arms-race”.

3. Services will become increasing dissociated from the apps that “house” them. Companies will come increasingly to be known by the services they offer rather than the individual products they launch. Case in point: Ordering a pizza through Amazon Echo or sending a friend an uber through SMS.

Boundaries of Mobile Payments will Disintegrate

Shlomi Bitran — Associate Director, Experience Design

As mobile device use continue to grow, so will mobile commerce rapidly grow. Mobile payments will become a convention and users will expect a cohesive omni-channel experience, flowing naturally from browsing physical stores to a digital experience on touchscreen or personal mobile devices.

Shift to Standards-Driven Content & Design

Joe Thomas — Lead, Content Strategy and Experience Design

Expect more sites to separate their content and presentation layers, shifting to component-based experience frameworks to run their site at scale.

Pages will become less relevant as the focus shifts from static sites to modularity powered by structured content and contextual design standards.

Data-driven and structured content will become the norm as enterprises adopt centralized lexicons and taxonomies, optimizing for a device-agnostic strategy and reducing their maintenance overhead.

It’s all about AI

Christine Aiko Beck — Associate Director, Content Strategy and Experience Design

Similar to the focus on natural language processing early on during the initial search engine heyday, there will be a focus on content and communication within the AI space. Content strategists will help shape how bots communicate with people.

1) The modernization of retail/brick & mortar stores
2) New Marketing/Advertising standards in the age of Echo/Google Home

Carlos Mesquita — Manager, Business Analyst

As Amazon begins the retail revolution with the newly introduced “Just Walk Out” technology and user experience, I think we’ll finally see other brands embrace innovation and technology in their store fronts. Cashiers aren’t going to go away overnight, but I see stores using technology to enhance the user experience as they shop for their goods and services. This prediction isn’t just limited to retail, but any business with a brick and mortar presence.

Despite all the comparison being made all over the internet, Amazon Echo and Google Home have one thing in common: they provide marketers with a new marketing platform/medium. They are both products that heavily rely on data to provide the best services to their users. Brands will have to be really creative to successfully break into the voice operated world to reach their audience. I expect to see a wide range of brands coming out with Google Home and Amazon Echo “Skills” that effortlessly advertises their brand while providing a service to their audience. Nobody wants to be served an ad as they have a conversation with their home device. In short, designers and technologists have a new “Design” challenge: to design the best “conversation/voice interaction” between a user and the machine.

Source: Facebook

Shopping is about to get a lot more interesting

Laura Materna — Experience Designer

Several recent trends (mobile payments, the rise of AR/VR immersive experiences, and the advent of larger retail names venturing into kiosks and beacons) are laying the groundwork for really creative experiences to start blossoming within brick and mortar stores. Memorable experiences have been driving sales for around 150 years, if we count the NYC Macy’s store displays; the objective has been to attract the crowds to the store, then get them inside. By the time the holidays roll around again next year, that type of memorable experience may very well occur already inside the store — and it’ll be something immersive, interactive, and personalized.

As originally featured on Stop, Drop, & Scroll