L4 has always been focused on designing and building the best products for our clients and the success of digital products hinges on the user experience. UX as a term includes all components of a digital product including the design of the experience, back-end services, device optimization, and interaction. It is the most important component of developing software and often the hardest to get right.
Our industry is evolving at a rapid place: advancements in technologies, tools, and platforms have lowered the bar on the level of effort required to create a product or experience, flooding the market with competing products. The delight users experience when engaging with your product is what allows you to differentiate yourself or your company in a crowded market and just might be the thing that determines your success.
Today, UX is tightly linked between the software and hardware. Hardware requires embedded software and an operating system; experiences are built specifically to work with the operating system making them interdependent. Currently, the battle is being fought in software UX and how it enables people to interact with a device or service.
As software, hardware, and network technologies continue to evolve, the UX will evolve too. Going forward we expect software to become more capable, integrated with hardware and networks, which will result in new opportunities to create user experiences that allow people to interact with devices and services in new ways.
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is always a prime time to showcase the latest in digital evolution.This year’s show saw a large increase in the dimensions and capabilities of digital touch interfaces for consumer products. Force Touch, introduced in iOS 7, is a nascent example of this tech emerging with existing hardware. We’re excited to see where this goes as hardware continues to evolve. In addition, L4 is working with AI, and AR/VR technologies to understand how they operate and will become part of the UX landscape for products and services in the future.
We’re seeing spoken interfaces emerging as a modern interaction medium with Alexa, Google Home, Cortana, and others, but it is still relatively in its infancy. Yet, voice assistants are moving into everything from thermostats to washing machines to robots. Blending these conversational interaction models into a seamless experience tailored to each use case is critical for future iterations.
Disturbingly, however, is how much human interaction is being replaced by robots, or digital tools and experiences. Of the many innovations unveiled at CES, digital parenting products, like a baby speech interpreter, are discomforting. Pushing parenting tasks off on digital assistants and apps discredits true digital innovation. Disruption for the sake of disruption is never a good idea. True disruption is only the byproduct of delighting users.
We’ll continue to explore the topic of user experience in emerging and maturing digital products through posts over the next few months. We’d love to hear what you thought of the latest products unveiled at CES and where you think good UX will have the most impact on development and design trends over the next year.