Career Changing Interactive Design Trends
If you work in the user experience or interactive design fields, you understand how the technologies and approaches that facilitate excellent user experiences change regularly. There are, however, a number of design concepts that emerged in the last decade that will have a lasting impact on your interactive career in this very fluid industry. The following trends mark significant career-changing developments in the UX and interactive industries that job seekers should follow.
Form Matters, But Functionality Comes First
This may seem like a no brainer to many in the design space, but think back to last time you were disappointed by an aesthetically pleasing, yet completely unusable product or website. Good design used to be all about what looked good, but as human beings collectively evolve to expect more from their phones, shoes, banking websites and everything in between, the UX and Interactive communities must keep pace with this new standard.
"Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works."
– Steve Jobs
Your UX or interactive design work should honor function first if you expect to remain successful in the industry. This should not be at the expense of form, but in some ways, a preference over it. Users, and employers, will value your work much more if your designs achieve successful function first, and then take on the best form thereafter.
Everything Has To Have An Interaction Component
Long gone are the days of just putting up a website or online hub simply to get information about a product or service “out there”. That mentality ignores the progression of human interaction with any online property. Once again, expectations dictate that every part of daily life conducted online must cater to the user experience, so your approach to design should as well.
Consider Zipcar.com and Fidelity.com. Both offer advanced interactive options for their customers whether it’s securing a car for the day or tracking investments with a web app. Websites like this engage the user beyond the exchange of information and that provides a much more robust and memorable experience. If your portfolio includes any websites design examples that don’t engage the user on multiple levels, you may be passed over at your next interview.
User Decisions Are Based On User Opinions
Social media has permeated just about every aspect of our daily lives, so it makes sense that user experience is impacted by at least one social element or another. Today, decisions that range from community participation to major purchases, all the way to medical advice, can be affected by what is found on social platforms, and your interactive and UX designs should reflect these changes.
"Social Media is about sociology and psychology more than technology."
– Brian Solis
It’s tough to find a website that isn’t linked to social profile, that doesn’t make it easy to share content and that doesn’t demonstrate how many interactions (likes, followers, etc) it has seen. If the core of excellent UX and interactive design is based on what the user finds valuable, your designs need to take the value of social media into account if you want to stay professionally relevant.
These concepts certainly don’t represent a complete list of every interactive and UX design development that you need to embrace for a successful design career. Tell us what you consider to be the real career-changers of the past decade and how they’ve affected your career path. The opinion you supply could open the eyes of other designers and vice versa.