Knowing your user is crucial to delivering products that win, even during turbulent times. What is buzzing right now in UX/UI and product development? Find out below.
There’s no denying that the macroeconomic challenges and the geopolitical situation have had a negative impact on product development. However, the number of opportunities for UI/UX innovations is also growing as user expectations keep manufacturers on their toes. So what trends are shifting? How is the embedded systems market reacting? And what is the overall focus for companies looking to grow their business?
Investment remains strong, from XR and machine learning to the metaverse and hyper-personalization. Over a quarter (28%) of the 250 embedded device manufacturers questioned by Censuswide on behalf of Qt Group reported investing over half of their product development budget in improving UI/UX over the past 12 months.
The UK was the only region where investment has declined, likely due to economic uncertainty and the energy crisis, while budget increases were reported in the US, France, and Germany. Those asked also admitted to contending with different standards in different countries, cost of expertise, and an assumed lack of consumer interest.
While supply chain disruptions have taken a toll on product development, innovation remains a priority to manufacturers as they race to acquire new talent to deliver top-notch UI/UX and set themselves apart from competitors.
Connectivity and interoperability remain significant influences on product development across several industries, with two-fifths of those surveyed saying they will have the most significant influence. Still, interoperability is a point of tension between OEMs and customers as they need a unified standard to achieve compatibility.
However, big tech companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon have signed up for the Matter standard. This open-source protocol could provide an easy solution for seamless integration between devices.
Eva Rio, Product Manager at Tuxera, notes that user expectations have changed how they interact with technology: “Users expect real-time communication, real-time interactions, and real-time access to data without any latency—immediacy is demanded. They are also looking for more privacy, security, and ownership on the digital side.”
Designing for voice and providing multi-sensory experiences are other key trends that will continue to grow, along with virtual assistants, digital twin, and voice control technologies. In the automotive industry, the future of the automotive cockpit is projected to leverage AI, VR, and AR technology, holographic displays, and haptics-related technology.
Ali Israr, Haptics R&D Lead at ByteDance, says, “Haptic feedback adds a new dimension to our interactions with digital mediums, such as in the metaverse, making user experience natural, intuitive, and engaging, and opens new paradigms for media production, delivery, storage, and sharing.”
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The role of a UX designer in today’s modern world goes far beyond just creating user-centered design solutions—they must also be aware of the ethical and social impacts of technology on individuals and society. From privacy and security to well-being, accessibility, and inclusivity, the embedded systems market trends are evolving along with user expectations.
With awareness for mental health and digital well-being growing in importance among users, the tech industry must prepare for increased regulation and accountability. For example, the British Government’s Online Safety Bill, which aims to “make the internet a safer place for everyone in the UK, especially children,” is close to becoming law.
Martin Charlier, Head of Product & Design at Unmade, foresees this bill impacting UX design because it is about making harmful content or activity easier to report and moderate: "In addition to the societal issues of social media that have been making headlines, privacy is another area that is seeing major change, for example with Apple's iOS changes making it harder for some companies to undertake ad tracking and targeting. These are issues quickly making their way into UX design."
There is also a growing backlash against persuasive design techniques. Based on psychological and social theories, the UX/UI practice influences behavior through product or service characteristics, making them more fun, engaging, and addictive. Charlier adds, “Stakeholders must begin to be more connected to the wider context of the product. For example, what is its wider societal impact? What’s the implication of the product’s business model? In addition, designers and developers must improve their collaboration, and some great new technologies enable that.”
Our comprehensive study with Censuswide revealed several fascinating megatrends on the rise in the automotive, healthcare, consumer electronics, and industrial automation sectors. If you want to know more, read our 2023 white paper, UX/UI megatrends shaping today’s world.