Predictions 2023: The year ahead for user experience – by RBBi’s Amol Kadam

Brands will continue to put their customers first, using established tools to do so as well as new technologies as they become more advanced, writes RBBi's Amol Kadam

by Amol Kadam, CEO & co-founder of RBBi

It’s that time of the year when all of us sit down and think about the year that is coming to an end and the next one on the horizon. As a user experience (UX) and service design-focused consulting firm we couldn’t be more excited to see UX finding its well-deserved place in the market.

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UX, service design and customer experience (CX) concepts are coming of age globally, and we, as a region, are not far behind. Let’s look at what UX trends will emerge in the year 2023.

1. Users will expect interactions to be hyper-personalised

A recent study shows that in 2022, 74 per cent of consumers preferred not to interact with a brand that does not personalise its digital platforms.  

Users increasingly expect brands to treat them with attention and engage more personally than just showing their name and buying history when they log in. Research from Monetate showed that hyper-personalisation strategy could increase sales by 19 per cent in the next year alone. On the back of the digital shift of the pandemic, consumers expect more efforts from brands to engage them. AI coupled with data is paving the way for this. 

2. Mixed reality and augmented reality will become more relevant

We have seen the recent hype around the metaverse and the uptake of VR chats. Many brands opted for VR events during the pandemic and continue to do so. Many are also preparing to build their presence in the metaverse. In the first half of 2021 itself, there were more than 500 brands in the metaverse, and that number is set to multiply in the coming year. However, more thought will go into finding the correct use case to enhance a user’s experience, rather than this being a fad. 

Augmented reality will merge our physical and digital experiences into hybrid use cases for different industries. We have already seen examples of this such as using AR while purchasing furniture, for business cards, in healthcare, and in supply chains.

The development and regulations of these technologies will provide a fun challenge for us in the future.

3. Data will be used for the benefit of users and not just the brand

Data is the new oil. No matter how clichéd and old this term has become, data until now has been used by the brands and organisations that collected and mined it. Yes, in some cases, it has been displayed back to users; however, it has been used to hide or underestimate information by presenting it to the user but for the benefit of the brand. 

We will see a shift in this approach in 2023. Brands such as Spotify and TikTok have led the way in engaging data-based design. More brands will begin to deliver data to their users in a way that encourages them to enjoy an information-focused experience.

More brands will be open to using data and sharing it with users in a more ethical way. Not just by making it more understandable, but also by giving more power and authority to users by using their data to benefit them in a way that they expect. 

4. Emotional design will start going mainstream

A study shows that 80 per cent of the users who engage emotionally with a brand are open to recommending it to friends and family, whether it’s a smartwatch, smartphone, laptop or potato. 

Everything that we use, we use to get feedback. Not information, but feedback. Alongside data, we see icons and images to give us context: encouragement, empathy, warmth, consolation, connection, advice or congratulations. All these emotions and all the micro-interactions designed for those emotions will be key for customer experience and loyalty. The role of emotional design will become more mainstream in new ways in 2023.

5. Consolidation of digital engagement channels will be more user-driven

This one sounds vague, but it isn’t. Super apps, unified dashboards, and multi-segment/brand experiences (marketplaces) are going to be a trend that is already taking shape. Super apps are leading this trend. WeChat and PayPay in Asia, Tata Neu in India and Rappi in South America are just a few examples. A recent survey in Europe showed that 90 per cent of users are motivated by the convenience of the super app and the personalisation it allows. 

Most super apps and marketplaces are weaving together loyalty programmes, social features, e-commerce marketplaces, financial services, transportation services, messaging capabilities and delivery services to create an experience. Developers that create standalone apps will also create an applet for super apps to ensure accessibility.