thoughts & inspirations

Back to Blog

User Experience 2016: What will it look like?

by Matt

While 2015 was the year of material design and placed content at the centre of the digital communication, 2016 won’t be a revolution for interface design but it will see significant evolutions of 2015 trends achieving their full maturity; This will allow many opportunities for digital platforms to offer richer experiences.

Predictive Design and tailored experiences

In 2013, IBM declared that humanity had created 90% of data over the two previous years. In 2016, we can assume it will be more…
Aided by artificial intelligence, designers can now more accurately predict what users might be interested in based on data coming from different sources. These include but are not limited to CRMs, social media, machine learning (algorithms that can learn from data and make predictions on them), user locations, buying activity, browsing activity, user behaviours or even by asking them key data.
In 2016, user interfaces will keep increasing the ability to tailor a specific experience to a specific user. Today, designers can anticipate users’ needs and be one step ahead of their decisions.
Users think less but machines work more. It’s now possible to give users what they want before they even know they want it.

Consequences on UX Design

  • In this world of hyper-tailored content and recommendations, designers are now able to provide better experiences which drastically reduces the user’s mental effort with fewer decisions to make.

  • They have to define what is the right time and right place to deliver a specific piece of information. More paths will be designed in the user interface to address multiple customised journeys.

  • Designers will analyse what data is available, assign key decision data to the persona and see how they can determine customised paths. Then define decision trees for each persona to understand what may be the consequences of a micro-decision.

  • Throughout user journeys, designers will analyse when and how new data can adjust the experience.

Consequences on Business

  • Delight users by delivering unexpected contents at the right time. Generate positive emotions and satisfaction.

  • Increase conversion rate due to the content being more relevant and increase user confidence.

  • The uniqueness of the experience reinforces the relationship with the brand: “it’s been designed for me”.

“The companies that have the smartest, most individually resonant products and experiences are going to do the best job of attracting and retaining their users. In this world, good AI will become essential to the user experience and the companies with smart experiences will have an exponential advantage over the ones that don’t.”
– Aaron Shapiro, CEO at Huge


Google Now

Nest Thermostat

Google Smart Reply


According to Nobel Prize-winning scientist Daniel Kahneman, each person experiences approximately 20,000 moments a day. Each moment is a micro-experience, and some of them are digital.

More than ever, designers will have to analyse customer journeys in details to identify which micro-experiences are worth dealing with. But in this world full of connected products and places, where does an “experience” truly start and end?

In the past, we mostly had connected products with thousands of different usages (e.g. an iPhone). Last year, most of the connected products released were made for single use functionality (e.g. shoe wearable for running, band encouraging to walk more, the Dash Amazon button to order a single product).

In 2016, our typical digital day will be broken down into a plethora of real-time, intent-driven micro-moments. Each following a predictable pattern (immediate need, relevant reply) that will all happen in an unpredictable sequence.

And the way we consume it’s changing. People go online more often, but don’t spend as much time per visit. 20 years ago, people spent 30 minutes at a time reading newspapers. Today, we spend 30 minutes reading online news, but over 15 sequences of a few minutes.

Consequences on UX Design

  • We need to pay more attention to customer journeys. Define them in details. Break them down into sequences which are not necessarily subsequent.

  • Analyse which micro-experiences have impact on others.

  • Analyse what triggers a micro-experience: another previous sequence, data, a behaviour or an external event.

Consequences on Business

  • For each micro-moment there is a business opportunity, even if it’s tiny. UX designers will collaborate with business stakeholders to figure out what triggers a micro experience and what business value can be obtained from this short moment.


After receiving a mobile push notification, a user spends a minute reading the summary of an article. After receiving a notification on his smart watch, he reads the title of the article. That’s it. three seconds. But later on, he will spend ten minutes reading two long articles on a desktop.

A user orders a Uber taxi from his mobile phone. Then every minute on his watch, it takes him five seconds to check the position of the taxi.

Delightful experiences

This year, designers will rethink delight. Delight is not a user need. People expect things to be working and usable. With high-speed mobile connections and very powerful hardware, designers will now have the ability to go further. They can delight, surprise and generate positive emotions using meaningful and subtle interactions, motion effects or transitions.

Consequences on UX Design

  • Because a customer experience is a sequence of micro-moments, designers will have to choose the right interaction appearing at the right time for the right micro-moment.

  • There will be more opportunities to change people’s emotions.

  • Micro-interactions will make storytelling easier.

  • Designers will have the ability to prompt users to focus on components which they would otherwise not see without this interaction.

  • Consequences on Business

  • Generate positive emotion and satisfaction. After a positive emotion, it’s easier to persuade prospects/customers to purchase their product and/or service.


BeoPlay H8 — Bang & Olufsen

Subaru environment


Augmented and Virtual Reality experiences

Displaying a virtual element in the real world gives designers the chance to offer new experiences on top of traditional methods. However, Augmented Reality (AR) has been struggling for years to grow and become a technology that businesses are willing to invest in. Like watch applications, AR does not suit all businesses and their marketing campaigns. But for certain specific services, it can offer a very rich interactive experience.

“As technologies for augmented reality evolve, they will allow for new information to be layered over the physical world in seamless ways. This will open up an increasing demand for designers who can deliver intuitive and immersive experiences that are tailored to a wide spectrum of industries.”
– Gavin Kelly, co-founder of Artefact

Going further, 2016 may be a disruptive year for Virtual Reality (VR) as Samsung, Sony and Oculus release their products in the first months of the year. Alternatively, Google Cardboard has created a very affordable VR experience.

Virtual reality will obviously bring another dimension to video games but there are many opportunities for other industries such as education, tourism, dating, health, porn, culture (concert, conferences, museums, theatre) or real estate (virtual home inspection), to name a few.

Consequences on UX Design

  • VR and AR will require new design skills. According to an article by Fast Company, Augmented Reality Designer will be one of the most important design jobs of the future.

  • Designers should see how this AR/VR experience will fit within the customer experience.

  • VR will bring new design opportunities for some industries.

Consequences on Business

  • Create new experiences which were previously impossible, with any particular brand.


Ikea 2025 kitchen concept

Ikea interactive catalogue


Anatomy 4D

iOnRoad Augmented Driving

Storytelling for persuasive experiences

Storytelling is not a new trend. But 2016 will see designers using the full power of the narrative.

It’s well known that having good quality contents is fundamental for a product or a service. But by being able to tell a persuasive story through content will completely change and optimise the experience.

Designers will use storytelling techniques to:

  • Simplify the complexity.

  • Create feelings and emotions.

  • Help designers to drive users where they want them to go.

  • Engage people and make them listen and accept what they are told.

  • Keep people’s attention, stay in minds and inspire to re-tell the story.

As a classic story, it’s now easier to reveal a new character (component, information …) by using all capabilities of micro-interactions to create unexpected events, and guide the user’s attention.

Jonathan Gottschall describes storytelling as an “ultimate weapon” with the same function as Trojan Horses:

“The audience accepts the story because, for a human, a good story always seems like a gift. But the story is actually just a delivery system for the teller’s agenda. A story is a trick for sneaking a message into the fortified citadel of the human mind.”

Consequences on UX Design

  • Storytelling is a new key skill for UX designers.

  • Keep the story big picture in mind: a beginning, middle, and end.

Consequences on Business

  • Digital stories help brands to generate emotion and involve their customers.

  • They powerfully persuade where facts can’t.



Nest Thermostat




In 2016, UX Designers will embrace data to offer unique and tailored experiences. They will also use the power of the narrative helped by micro-interactions as a “weapon” to delight and persuade users.

They should also keep in mind that AR/VR can offer an immersive and emotional experience for specific industries.

What about you? How do you think your UX Design year will look like?


Check out what's happening at Friendly HQ

instagram+ linkedin pinterest google-plus