2020 UX trends will put users needs front and center

Things change fast in the user experience world, so any attempt to predict 2020 UX trends is speculative at best. By nature, UX is fast paced, and prone to turn on a dime in response to what data-driven UX design dictates. As of right now, it’s anyone’s guess as to what UX innovations will be turning heads next year, but if I had to guess, this would be my predictions of the 7 must-know 2020 UX trends to watch out for.

2020 ux trends - conversational input

Conversational inputs will pair with machine learning and artificial intelligence to evolve outdated controls that, while familiar, are primed for innovation.

With modern advances in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), chatbots will be the hottest new 2020 UX trend that users will undoubtedly see dominating the year.

Through deep learning algorithms, chatbots, also known as conversational agents, are able to give users the feel of communicating with a real human being, with only a fraction of the overhead cost. At the core of the technology, Natural Language Processing, or NLP, allows these agents to intelligently recognize inputs in natural language, the way real humans speak. The image you see here is fictional now, but could very well become a reality in 2020, making the most mundane and tiresome of inputs feel as warm and inviting as a conversation over coffee.

2020 ux trends - double confirmation on destructive action

Safeguards against destructive actions that users may not intend will be turned up to 11.

2020 will finally be the year of protecting the user from destructive actions.  UX designers have been pushing for crystal clear protections against irreversible actions as long as software has been around, and this trend has finally found its voice!

Take a look at the example shown here. If you were presented this message, would you not immediately know and understand the consequences of clicking either the Okay or Cancel buttons?

2020 ux trends - mouse based typing

Users will shed their reliance on antiquated keyboards as an input device in favor of all-in-one solutions.

Did you know that the keyboards we depend on today are based on the original teleprinter-like device, which was invented in the 1870’s? To put that into perspective, Henry Ford’s first commercially available automobile, the Model T, didn’t exist until 40 years later, in 1913. What other tool or device do you work on today that hasn’t been acknowledged as obsolete in 150 years?

2020 will be the year that we finally break the shackles of the keyboard as an input mechanism. In what will undoubtedly be one of the more controversial 2020 UX trends, mouse-based typing will begin to make an appearance, and nobody will have to move their mouse hand to the keyboard ever again.

2020 ux trends - voice controls

Voice controls will dominate the input landscape

Did you know that the standard computer mouse we depend on today was invented in 1968? With such incredibly lackluster innovations as “another button or two”, “a spinning part”, and “the same thing but without a cord”, the mouse is dead as dead can be; a black hole that sucks the life out human-computer interaction. What other part of your home computer hasn’t seen a major upgrade or outright replacement in over 40 years?

With the growing popularity of voice controlled digital assistants, a major 2020 UX trend will be further integration of voice commands into literally every aspect of your life, especially where you’d least expect it (or want it).

2020 ux trends - ultra-dark mode

Ultra-dark mode will be on the cutting edge of ergonomic innovation

If you had asked me to gamble on what UX trends would have been popular in 2019, and had offered me 100 to 1 odds on dark mode, I would never have taken that bet. Who could have possibly guessed that dark mode would have caught on as much as it did?

With the major success of dark mode, one can only assume that in 2020, the trend will evolve into ultra-dark mode. With the added benefit of protecting the user’s eyes from retina fatigue significantly more than 2019’s old fashioned dark mode, any article about 2020 UX trends that doesn’t include ultra-dark mode would lack credibility.

Users will demand granularity in configurations and controls

Users want it, users need it, users demand it. Without a doubt, 2020 will be the year that control is placed into the user’s hands.

Providing granular controls and configurations allows users the option of interacting with software the way they want to, without being restricted by concepts like simplicity or ease of use.

However, placing this much power and control in the user’s hands also means that extra care should be taken to ensure that the consequences of decisions are always clear. Take a look at the image here for a great example of how this would play out in a real world scenario.

Smart validation will make mundane forms infallible and conquer user drop off

Imagine a world where you no longer have to worry about typing in a password incorrectly to log into an app. What if the app could tell YOU what your password is, or better yet, type it out for you, no matter what device you’re logging in from? Smart validation will make this a reality!

Truthfully, it’s difficult to look at this image and imagine why smart validation hasn’t been around as long as people have been using passwords.

Gareth Botha

Author Gareth Botha

Gareth is a UI/UX Designer in Atlanta, focused on creating beautiful, engaging, usable and accessible user experiences for mobile and web apps and digital products.

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