Here we are, joining the bandwagon of 2020 marketing predictions.

Except I’d like to think that at Econsultancy we have a discerning group of expert friends who will give us a bit more than the standard ‘watch out for voice UIs’ or ‘break down data silos’.

So, let’s hear from the experts on customer experience and user experience in 2020. Please add your own thoughts in the comments below.

From frictionless to unmissable

Chris Brown, Head of Digital Experience Design, The Home Agency:

“The term ‘frictionless’ changed in 2019. It’s not enough to just have experiences. Users now expect the highest level of service and if this isn’t available, users will find someone who can deliver. I’m excited for 2020 – the year when we take experiences from frictionless to unmissable.”

But marketers still beholden to tech

Steffan Aquarone, CEO, Paygora:

“I’ve seen a lot of organisations invest in customer data platforms this year – the sorts of systems that can take data from anywhere and everywhere, with the grand vision of attributing it all to customer or potential customer records and being able to use clever algorithms to spot patterns in it, maybe even trigger personalised marketing communication from it.

“The challenge next year is: will they have banked enough data to do anything meaningful? And have they built the tools that put all this power in the hands of marketers rather than it still being stuck in the head of the team (or individual!) that built it.”

Design teams get interesting

Andy Budd, founder, Clearleft:

“In many companies Design has finally secured that hallowed “seat at the table” they’ve been craving for so long. In these companies design teams can easily double in size each year, and the strain is starting to show. To tackle this challenge we’ve seen a raising interest in “Design Ops”. Once the preserve of a handful of Silicon Vally unicorns, we’re now seeing Design Ops teams popping up all over the place, to support the growth, professionalisation, and dare I say industrialisation of design. Is if you’re looking for a hot new job title in 2020, Design Ops Director is probably it.”

Joe Holland, UX Lead, The Organic Agency:

“Design is becoming a process rather than a job description. Design is a combination of researchers, architects, writers, animators, videographers, UI designers, interaction designers, developers, testers etc, all working together to solve problems and create solutions. As a result, in 2020 we’ll see less designers and more design teams.”

Growth in content/UX specialisms

Andy Budd, Clearleft:

“Another new role that’s been growing in popularity the past couple of years is “Content Designer” and its logical partner “UX Writer”. Both these roles are in response to the dawning realisation inside organisations that content is too important to leave solely to the marketing team. Instead, content is getting ever closer to the point of product creation and these new roles are evidence of that.”

Joe Holland, The Organic Agency:

“In 2019 we saw design systems becoming increasingly popular, the ongoing rise of voice user interfaces and a move towards storytelling, featuring heavily in UX design.

“UX auditing is not the sexiest part of our jobs, but increasingly a part of our workflow, and a necessity as user goals and needs evolve and technologies move forward. If brands want to retain their competitive edge, they need to understand what does and doesn’t work in the shifting landscape and therefore change accordingly.”

A technology lull?

Andy Budd, Clearleft:

“From a technological point of view, I think we’re in a bit of a lull between new technologies. Voice and AI hit the “peak of inflated expectation”, probably spent the last year in the trough of disillusionment, and are now slowly creeping up the plateaux of productivity. With the hype now fading, digital teams are finally getting their heads around what it means to use machine learning as a design medium, and are slowing building VUI and AI design skills in-house. Expect to see more of this to come next year.”

Data does not equal insight

Thierry Ngutegure, Data Insights Manager, Rise at Seven:

“With so much information and so many metrics available to businesses, clients are going to start becoming more conscious of the reports they receive. Automated reporting tools, such as data studio, will become more prevalent as they allow clients to see the data in real-time, 24/7.

“With more dynamic reporting platforms and methods, marketers need to understand how they can make all of this information viable and something to ‘give a shit about’.”

Understanding the customer journey is paramount

Chris Brown, The Home Agency:

“Understanding the customer journey has never been more important. This goes beyond basic audience data; it’s now about truly understanding the user, their needs and emotions. As a UX designer, this has a huge impact on the way we guide users through an experience. This knowledge enables us to accurately pinpoint the ‘sweet spot’ – the intersection of a user and brand’s needs that ultimately delivers the best experience for both.”

Talent has a new face

Richard Robinson, MD, Econsultancy:

“Talent has a new face: A different type of talent and team is needed to mine the insights and unlock the ideas to stay one step ahead of the customer going forward. Organisational disruptors, behavioural scientists, data-miners, cognitive predictors, creators harnessing narrow AI and more are needed in every agency in town.”