But before we do, remember there are also some excellent Econsultancy resources that subscribers can download:

Social responsibility

Will Grant, co-founder, Prodlytic:

It’s more of a hope than a prediction, but perhaps us designers will stop doing things because we can and start asking if we should. A greater sense of social responsibility, and a reduction in sneaky ‘dark pattern’ UX would be great.

Applying design skills to ‘AI’

Andy Budd, CEO, Clearleft

If conversations user interfaces were big in 2017, I think applying our design skills to all manner of AI-powered products and services will be the big trend in 2018.

We’re currently seeing the boards of our largest clients invest in the productivity improvements AI can bring. At the moment a lot of the hype around AI is customer facing; think self service customer chatbots. However I think bigger return will be found in the short term, not by trying to replace customer service reps and back office staff—because the technology really isn’t there yet—but by augmenting them.

In fact one of my personal highlights from this year was taking a group of 20 designers, academics, authors and technologists to a retreat in Norway where Ex Machina was filmed. The goal was to understand the emerging design challenges we would face on a world increasingly dominated by AI, and to try and get ahead of the game.

As a result we published a list of questions, and principles designers and technologist need to address when faced with new AI related projects.

Matt Oxley, founder, dotlabel:

2018 will also see the continued growth of machine learning tech, and while its implementation into software solutions is unlikely to undermine the effectiveness of human worker in the short-term, it will certainly have wide-reaching consequences in certain industries in the future.

Banking catches up with fintech

Ed Everett, Senior UX Designer, Friday:

In 2018 technologies and experience patterns developed in the fast moving consumer fintech space will start being adopted into business banking products. Scaling the designs and processes to enterprise levels will be hard (and political!) but with big payoffs for companies that can get it right.

GDPR-induced redesigns

Ed Everett:

When GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) arrives in May, companies will have to face the prospect of being non-compliant. During the first half of next year agencies will receive briefs from most of their clients requiring their services to be redesigned to comply with the new data regulations. There will be confusion as companies adapt—and lots of work for design agencies.

All signs indicate 2018 will be a far busier year due to GDPR.

Please, the end of flat design

Will Grant: 

I’d personally love to see the tide turn again against flat design and a return to (subtle) visual affordances in UI across the board.

Something a bit different…

Simon Nalley, UX designer at Bozboz:

Web VR is one to watch. It’s still in its infancy but it has definitely been embraced by the web community. Technology generally, is moving at great speed, so we wouldn’t be surprised if there were some shocks along the way. That’s why I love digital.

…or fads, as per

Steffan Aquarone, head of best practice reports, Econsultancy:

As ever, a lot of organisations will skip over the part where they review their digital products from their customers’ point of view, and instead cut straight to the latest fads that don’t actually mean anything to anyone yet.

Improved tools and a broader remit for design

Ed Everett:

In 2018 the interests of the individual user will be challenged as the design community starts to look beyond user centred design and towards the interests of communities and systems. Experience design will increasingly consider complete business systems – not just the customer facing digital interfaces. Design teams will broaden their outlook to make this a reality.

Design tools will continue to rapidly improve. Cloud-based tools for collaborative interaction design and design system management will mature and finally add value to our workflows. Shared team assets are an obvious win, but the new tools will create new options for modern design processes.

Data-driven, automated, user experience optimisation (multi-variate testing at scale) will become much more prominent. Design systems will need to flex and adapt to support all the variants. More organisations will be using design-systems-as-code, served from component libraries, to support programatically-assembled experiences on the fly.