20Plenty has a lot in store for UX thanks to 2019

Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning”. Albert Einstein


The User Experience Design (UX) industry has seen growth over the past few years, despite predictions of it becoming obsolete with the emergence of Machine Learning and AI, but as the great Albert Einstein said “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning”. How about we worry not about the end and rather focus on the trends that have dominated the UX industry in 2019 and how we can take these trends a step further?


2019 was driven by many trends that have enhanced the users’ experience and created growth for many industries. In South Africa, User Experience design practices have expanded into diverse industries, including construction and mining to name a few. 


The latest statistics released by Statisa have proven that opportunities for UX have increased since 2018. According to Statista (2019), the number of South Africans who use a smartphone has grown from 20.4 million to 22 million users in 2019 and is expected to grow to 23.3 million in 2020. What could this increase mean for companies in South Africa?


Make your users’ lives easier


Many companies have great opportunities to reach greater audiences in the future as well as grow connections with more users in creating products and apps that are focused on making users’ lives much easier. An example of this could be an app such as LocTransie, they have made tracking children that use school transport service easier, giving parents peace of mind while they’re at work. 

Another great example is EskomSePush. With all the loadshedding SA has been facing, it was about time an app with accurate loadshedding schedules and updates was developed to make our lives easier. 


Invest in socio-economic problems of our country 


There’s space for companies to invest in the socio-economic issues that SA faces, such as the gap between under-privileged schools versus private school education, SMME’s versus big corporations, not forgetting creative professionals versus traditional professionals. 


Although underprivileged communities are less likely to have access to the internet or smartphones the rate is above average at 54%, which is a territory businesses can tap into by contributing to society by building education apps that don’t require regular internet connectivity.


Use relatable language for our South African audience  


According to InDesign (2019), storytelling through apps has created a competitive advantage, as it keeps the user more engaged – the question has shifted from “How can we create a satisfactory user experience?” to “How can we create a truly memorable experience?”.


This is practiced throughout various apps that avoid using jargon and instead use conversational languages that South Africans use regularly.  MTN has been ahead of this trend by using South African slang. However, how many more apps out there are taking that leap? 


Create easier gestures


Another big trend that has dominated is the change in smartphone gestures, for example, the latest iPhones have gotten rid of the home button and uses the swipe up gesture to return to the home screen.


iPhone users prefer this as it makes their experience faster and easier. We spoke to Keletso, an iPhone user, who shared his experience with his new iPhone, “I prefer it as it gives me nostalgia, I had a Blackberry Z10 and it had the same gesture. It gets me to the home page quicker and is easier in my hand as the phone is also big so it would be more work having to take my thumb back to the home button”, he said. How can we forget how Blackberry innovated the smartphone industry? 


“How can we forget how Blackberry innovated the smartphone industry?”


The space for growth through voice user interface 


An interesting trend that has flourished throughout the year is the emergence of voice user interface, a popular example of this is Apple’s voice assistant Siri and Google’s voice search input. This is a trend we can explore further, as there hasn’t been anything developed for African users as we have diverse cultures and languages. We need something that is designed just for us. 


From adapting trends to what is relevant, to starting and dominating new trends, there is no doubt that focusing on your user’s needs should still be the core of a business’s objectives and practices. Always put your users first and in turn, you shall reap the rewards. It’s been an awesome year for UX and we’re excited to see what ‘20Plenty‘ has in store for the UX industry.