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UX – 2016 Year in Review

We are quickly approaching the end of 2016, but before we dive into our New Year’s resolutions, we’d like to share our “Best of 2016” user experience (UX) highlights in the digital marketing world!

Most Popular UX buzzword of 2016: Conversational UI

The hypothetical idea of “zero ui”—products you can operate without a user interface—continued to gain traction in the real world, led by the “conversational UI”. On the web, we’ve seen conversational features being added to websites, ranging from personal portfolio sites to online banking interfaces. Such instances include Chase Bank’s redesigned online banking site featuring a customer-centric conversational UI. The proliferation of voice assistants continued with Google’s next-gen Google Assistant serving as the core interface for Google Home and a differentiator in Google’s first in-house-produced phone, Google Pixel. All of these advances in UI design provide more natural, human-centered experiences that help smooth the friction users often have when interfacing with technology.


Most Controversial UX Topic of 2016: Hamburger menus

With the emergence of internet capabilities on mobile devices with minimal screen real estate, web designers decided that showing primary navigation on demand was the best approach. And so, the hamburger menu was born. In 2015, we began to see hamburger menus creep into desktop web designs. The justification was that users were primed for it because of their extensive use of websites on mobile. But, according to a Nielsen Norman Group usability study released mid-year, hamburger menus aren’t as delicious as we thought and end up hurting UX metrics in the long run. Designers have increasingly resorted to alternatives, such as tabs, scrollable navigation, and drop-downs.


Newest UX Tool with the Biggest Splash in 2016: Adobe XD

Adobe jumped into the prototyping tool market with a public beta release of Adobe Experience Design. Adobe is being transparent with how the product is being built as they apply an iterative release approach, launching updated versions regularly, based on user feedback. Though Adobe XD has experienced an explosion of user adoption and tutorials, Sketch still holds a special place in the hearts of UX designers on Mac because of its competitive price point, constant feature improvements, low learning curve, and large base of users, who provide free add-ons.


Most-Adopted UX-inspired Marketing Approach of 2016: Micro-moments

In late 2015, Google released research findings about micro-moments—specific touch-points in the consumer journey where user-needs emerge in internet search behavior. Google identified intuitive user content touchpoints: I-want-to-know moments; I-want-to-go moments; I-want-to-do moments; I-want-to-buy moments. Google micro-moments help businesses be present, useful, and efficient, enabling marketers to connect with users through relevant content that guides consumer decisions.


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