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At the start of the new year some of our clients usually approach us and ask what new UX and design trends they need to be aware of in the new year. To help them out I try to keep my ear to the ground and talk with my colleagues. So here they are, the things I think are going to take off in digital this year.

Storytelling

Specifically in the form of single-page sites with parallax scrolling. I see this as more of a continuation of an already popular trend from 2014, but users are now more familiar with it. I think this will not only evolve but become common practice (if it’s not already)!

Split page layouts

With the above in mind, I think the use of split pages to tell two halves of a story or show different products will become much more popular. Line25 have collated some good examples if you’re unfamiliar with the concept.

Minimalist navigation

With leaders such as Google Introducing more frequent use of hidden navigation and the ‘hamburger’ menu becoming common place for mobile sites. I think we will start to see this become more widespread across larger screen designs. This is great for designers as it allows us to focus the attention on the content without the noise of headers and footers.

Skeumorphism

Love or hate it, it made a comeback in 2014 but with a minimalist, flat design approach! Designing for the much lauded Internet of things (IoT) will mean that we only start to see more UI elements that resemble everyday physical objects.

Email design

As the most successful tool at a marketers disposal, I think designers will start to adopt a more user-centred approach to the end-to-end design of emails. Consideration will be given to their role in the user journey and how they are part of the multi-channel experience. Designers will need to think about strategy, content and design – it’s no longer just an email. Perhaps with future releases of outlook (and other email clients) we’ll even get greater HTML and CSS support. One can dream…

Having studied Industrial Design at Loughborough University, my first job was at TomTom in Amsterdam. Working in the UX department, I was involved in designing a range of in-car navigation interfaces and the digital eco-systems around them, as well as out-of-the-box and in-store TomTom experiences.

I joined Webcredible 6 months ago as a UX Consultant, and have already been involved in a handful of fast-paced projects for clients like Instant Offices and KPMG.

Joining Webcredible has been a whirlwind, snowballing from initial introductions and bottomless cups of coffee to full on client work. All in a matter of weeks.

The real fun began almost immediately. I joined a project team already knee deep in user requirements and usability testing – I  was quickly put to good use helping out with conceptual wireframing. The project finished 6 weeks later, and there was already another client waiting. The pace here at Webcredible is fast, and even after getting up to speed it hasn’t slackened 2 months in.

The vibe in the office is relaxed and light-hearted (other than when people are fighting over office snacks!), and hot desking has been a great way to get to know the other ‘Webcredibles’. The variety of projects we work on means there is always a new experience around the corner.

My top tips for new joiners at Webcredible:

  • If you want a desk – get in early!
  • There is a ‘correct’ way to tear off a Post-It. Alex Lillo will happily teach you all about it
  • Be ready to drink a lot of coffee in your first week
  • Hang on to your mouse like it’s your best friend – they tend to disappear…

If you’re interested in working for Webcredible as a user experience consultant then get in touch, we’re hiring! For info on the role(s) and how to apply. check out our UX jobs page.

With a year of projects ahead of you, now is the perfect time to look at improving your user experiences. To help you along, here are our UX resolutions for 2015.

  • Find inspiration

    The UX community is, in my experience, inclusive and open to sharing. If you’re looking for inspiration one of the numerous UX conferences or meet ups are good places to start. To find them, use the following:

  • New frontiers

    Just as mobile was a few years back, wearables and the internet of things will be the next big challenge for user experience designers

  • Don’t make do

    At the heart of designing good user experiences is an iterative process. If an interview method, product or a business relationship isn’t working, stop using it. Don’t be afraid to have your hypotheses tested and fail

  • Enterprise UX

    Big businesses and consultancies (particularly in the IT sector) are starting to take UX seriously. We predict that in 2015 this trend will pick up pace, and we’ll see more fortune 500 companies working with UX SME’s. This article, UX for the Enterprise, by A List Apart gives a pretty good overview  if your’re looking for more info
  • Get the most out of analytics

    Google Analytics, or your package of choice, holds a wealth of information on how your users interact with your digital touchpoints, data that is all too often untapped or used improperly. Learning to pull out and interpret the right information on your users will get your projects off to a strong start

  • Become a teacher and a student

    User experience is a broad discipline. Passing on your skills can be very rewarding for both parties, and everyone has a skill in something! Set up a talk, show someone in your lunch break or come to one of our skillswap sessions

What are your resolutions for 2015 (UX or otherwise!) and what do you think of ours? Please feel free to suggest some more.

Current vacancies

If you want to work at Webcredible we’re currently looking for talented people to fill the following positions:

  • User experience consultants – Webcredible, the London-based customer experience agency, is recruiting! We’re looking for user experience consultants on a permanent basis to join our growing team in London, UK. You’ll work on a variety of large & small UX research & design projects for a range of clients
  • Senior marketing manager - We’re looking for someone  to take full responsibility for our overall marketing implementation (online and offline), from conception all the way through to execution

The best thing about working at Webcredible is our fantasti… well, don’t take our word for it. Here’s what our employees think are the best things about working here.

Transcript…

The best things about working at Webcredible are…

  • The people
  • The way we work with our clients
  • Unlimited holiday
  • We support, help each other and constantly learn
  • The interesting people we meet everyday
  • Fun, even when you’re stressed out it’s good fun
  • and its good craic

I’m Suvi (@kavasuv), an SEO specialist from Finnish digital marketing agency, Tulos Helsinki. For three weeks in October I had a chance to work from Webcredible’s office in London. While doing my own, normal tasks in a new environment, I tried to absorb knowledge about user experience and in particular, information architecture. This office swap was part of the International Geek Exchange, a program my colleague developed. The idea behind the International Geek Exchange is that staff from digital agencies around the world visit each others offices, share their expertise and learn in a new environment.

Time I would have otherwise spent in team meetings and doing other internal tasks was now available for learning from the brilliant minds at Webcredible (and teaching them a thing or two as well). Based on my experiences at Webcredible, I’d like to share four points where I think UX and SEO meet…

1. Designing information architecture

For a search engine optimiser, information architecture (IA) is all about keyword research and internal linking patterns. At Webcredible I had a chance to see the IA design process from a UX point of view, which has a much wider framework for arranging information on a website.

It is clear that after conducting keyword research, no matter how specific it is, you can’t hide behind the and claim that “oh, I have my keyword research done, now I know what my users are looking for and what they want”. Information design and user testing is imperative to the success of SEO and UX. However, keyword research is still a must when labelling your navigation and guiding content creation.

2. Content strategy

For at least the last  two years SEO professionals have been buzzing with talk of content strategies and content marketing. Creating a content strategy is part of the IA design process but is essential to SEO too.

If you are able to deliver contextually relevant, fascinating and engaging content targeted to your users, you can expect better rankings in search results. That is why content strategy is at the heart of both SEO and UX.

3. Helping clients with site renewals

In my line of work it’s easy to see how the internet is constantly changing. There always seems to be a site renewal going on or waiting just around the corner. Sometimes there is a UX or design agency involved but I find that with smaller clients I often end up commenting on usability issues, lay-outs or even drawing wireframes as a part of our ongoing SEO service.

While helping a client to survive as a winner through a site renewal, I don’t know how I could manage without knowing quite a lot about UX best practice. Working in digital I believe you can never know too much.

4. Designing for users, not search engines

A shared goal of those designing UX and practising SEO is doing it for users. Luckily the days are long gone when SEO was considered an obscure art dedicated to idolatry of the all-mighty Google. Usability and user-friendliness are factors which Google takes into account when arranging search results for their users; one might even call them ranking factors. Google now focuses less on links and keyword density and more, for example, on:

  • Domain-level topical authority
  • Relevant and descriptive content
  • Semantic connectivity (Here’s what Moz has to say about it)
  • How easy a website is to navigate
  • Internal linking patterns
  • Page loading times

The most important thing I think SEOs should adopt from user experience designers is user testing. We shouldn’t just cling to our first hypothesis, if we really want to achieve better digital experiences SEOs should start testing with real users.

I hope that even these four small examples can convince you that SEO and UX are by no means competing fields but they are very closely related. After all, there is no point in designing an amazing, user-centred website if no one will ever find it!

I want to thank Webcrebile for this great experience and I really can’t recommend Geek Exchange enough – I’m travelling back home with bunch of new ideas and inspiration for my work. We at Tulos are looking forward to hosting a visitor from Webcredible in the future!

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