Zero UI is a concept people need to take seriously or risk falling behind when it comes to designing the next generation of user-friendly interfaces. It's hard to believe, but we're entering an age where the visual UI will no longer become the number one priority for UX designers.
Zero UI isn't a new idea. But now there's a convergence of advancement across a broad range of technologies which lends well to the concept: machine learning, computer vision, voice recognition to name a few. Meanwhile, users are interacting more and more with chatbots (whether they're aware of it or not).
And as these technologies advance, Zero UI will gain more prominence; which is somewhat ironic, because the more prominent the Zero UI concept becomes, the less aware we'll be of the machines around us.
What this means is that we'll soon see a shift in the Human-Computer interaction balance: UI of the near future will be more about Computer-to-Human interaction rather than the other way around.
The future of Zero UI is in leveraging data and understanding user intent to design and build personalized user experiences that are relevant and anticipate user needs. Contextual devices create experiences that extend beyond the screen and connect our digital and physical worlds. Minimizing dashboards and providing information that is glanceable and creates value for users adds to the challenge of designing for screenless interactions. User research will extend beyond how we interact with an interface to how we live and use physical objects in our daily lives.