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Moving from designing "user friendly" to designing "a user's friend"

Gartner, Inc. predicts that by 2020, we'll be talking more to bots (not necessarily realising they're bots), than to our own spouses. Whether or not that excites or concerns you, it's a future that some of the biggest tech companies - the likes of Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Facebook - are willing to back. For UX design, whilst a visually compelling interface that is easy to understand will still be important, an increased emphasis will be placed on having an app you can converse with and relate to. 

The user experience will have to go beyond "user friendliness" to understanding the kind of bond your app will have with its users. And when it comes to the challenge of designing a "front-end", we may have to separate out an essential sub-challenge in creating a "voice-end" or "conversation-end" for a solution. In fact, with the rapidly growing prominence of voice assistants, "voice-end" might soon become a higher priority than a visual UI. 

But regardless of what apps will look or sound like in the future, what is clear is that the apps that will stand out from the rest won't necessarily be the ones that provide the greatest utility, but the ones that can successfully become a user's friend.

For the UX industry experts in the article below, keep an eye out for major advances in this space in 2017

I think the thing that we will start to see impact User Experience in 2017 is more authentic feeling and conversational automation. Not only are we designing pretty graphics, we're designing them for human beings and a lot of times with a massive services behind them.

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