We've all been ordering our toilet tissue through Alexa, right?

Maybe not exactly. Let's ask the experts about the biggest user experience (UX) trends in 2017.

And as ever, if your appetite isn't suppressed by this moreish article, here are some excellent Econsultancy resources that subscribers can download:

Mobile no longer worth mentioning

Will Grant, co-founder, Prodlytic:

It feels like the year that 'mobile first', 'mobile friendly' and 'responsive design' stopped being worth mentioning. It's a given. Everything is now assumed to be responsive and mobile first - it's considered a breaking bug if your web app doesn't work on mobile.

UX-led disruption in banking

Matt Oxley, founder, dotlabel:

One of the most inspiring UX/CX developments of 2017 has been the disruption of a dinosaur laden UK financial industry besieged by unwieldy legacy systems.

Facilitated by new regulations concerning ‘open banking’, small agile fintech start-ups such as Monzo and Atom have seized the opportunity to offer banking customers solutions suited to them.

Monzo’s success is routed both in a deep understanding of customer wants, needs, frustrations and expectations, and the flexibility offered when building a new system from the ground up.

The new regulations, due in early 2018, allow licensed companies to securely share data with established banks, essentially handing the customer a huge choice of front-facing routes to securely access and transact their financial data. Although the banks are likely to still administer customer accounts, the ramifications of new user-focused entities, perhaps as substantial as Google or Facebook, stealing away long-built customer relationships from the banks is significant.

VUIs and CUIs

Andy Budd, CEO, Clearleft

The popularity of virtual assistants like Alexa and Google Home, has led to a significant rise in demand for Voice User Interface (VUI) and Conversations Interfaces (CUI) skills. So we’re helping a lot of brands explore the “Headless UI” space at the moment. I think next year a lot of company will move away from pure experimentation and capability building, and start using these tools to deliver tangible improvements to customer service and productivity.

'Pick up where you left off'

Simon Nalley, UX designer at Bozboz:  

This year has been pretty fast moving in the UX space. Key trends we have seen at Bozboz include cross-channel/device experience which allows the user to 'pick up where they left off' from different devices, e.g. Netflix, Spotify etc. allowing the user to continue watching or listening to their choice of entertainment.

Digital binging continues to be all-encompassing.

Design ops

Andy Budd:

Another area of interest for us has been the emergence of design operations as a way to describe something we’ve been helping clients with for a while now. As the name suggests, design ops looks at ways to make design teams more efficient and effective, in order to get better work to market faster.

This can involve everything from skills development, process improvements and governance, through to the creation of specific tool sets that allow design teams to integrate their work into the code-base much faster. The concept started at tech companies like AirBnB, but has quickly spread. So for companies with large design teams, design ops is likely to make a more prominent impact in 2018.

Flat design still going strong

Will Grant:

As a general trend, the march of 'flat design' continues relentless, with visual affordances being removed all over the place. 

Minimalism and movement

Simon Nalley: 

We've also noticed a move towards minimalism – removing clutter and unnecessary copy from the user interface to speed up the user journey. Bold and simple solutions deliver content and functionality as and when needed.

Movement is also being universally embraced, be it via video or functional interactions. It generates engagement and makes the customer experience far more engaging.

Digital service design

Andy Budd:

The growth of digital service design has been another area of interest for us. As traditional services become more and more digital, and as digital services break out of their product silos, we’re seeing an increasing need to join all these disparate elements together through some kind of service layer.

As a result, we’re seeing increasing demand from digital directors, CX directors and more recently ops directors, for people who understand both traditional service design practices, but through a digital and technology lens.

Usable stuff...at last

Steffan Aquarone, head of best practice reports, Econsultancy

I've seen a lot of big brands catching up with what it means to build something usable. It's a real breakthrough moment for me as a consumer, when I've put up with clunky tech from a company I've dealt with for years, finally to find they've built something that's a pleasure to use.

That's it for our 2017 UX roundup. Look out for 2018 predictions from our experts.

Ben Davis

Published 7 December, 2017 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is Editor at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester, England. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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