By Nick Spooner Digital Pulse

Key takeaways

The C-suite is coming on board with UX principles – a vital commitment if you want to ensure users actually adopt your technology
From ‘smart’ car dashboards to communicating in emoticons, experts agree that the latest UX innovations are part of a fertile and exciting landscape
There is keen focus on the healthcare industry, which is seeing innovative implementation of user experience and plenty of growth prospects going forward.



In part one of our interview with regional user experience (UX) experts, we asked the speakers of PwC and UX Alliance’s forthcoming UX Masterclass how to leverage the potential of UX.

In this instalment, we learn about the fascinating UX trends being witnessed around the world. But these are by no means the limit, as our speakers also describe the seismic UX innovations on the horizon.

What UX trends are you seeing in your region?

Kris Nygren, Partner, PwC’s Digital Change (New Zealand)
“Every government department and large corporate we talk to in New Zealand wants to be more customer-centred, agile and digital – from the Board of Directors down. We’re finding that ‘human-centred design’ and even ‘Lean UX’ are now common terminology at the C-suite level of our clients, which makes it a lot faster to find common ground when we meet them.”

Jean-Phillipe Bourdarie, Managing Director, Axance (France)
“Uber is very representative of what people are expecting in terms of new experiences here in France. Digital and mobile technologies enable us to change something that had a negative perception, in this instance taxis. As is the case with Uber, people here expect new experiences to provide pleasure and freedom. It’s no coincidence the Uber idea was born in Paris.”

Francis Fung, International UX Business Manager, Mitsue-Links (Japan)
“A fascinating trend in Japan is in the world of messaging apps – in particular, LINE, the most widely used messaging app in Japan.

“People could message each other using stickers, called ‘stamps’, they had bought from the in-app store. In April 2014, LINE launched a ‘Creator’s Market’ where users can design and sell their own stamps. This led to a boom in the amount of stamps, which probably now covers every possible expression any user would want to convey.

“Japanese people and culture have always been very shy. It’s easier for users to express themselves through images. Therefore, with the increase of available stamps, I’ve increasingly seen entire conversations take place without a single word or character. It’s a completely coherent string of stamps turned into a conversation!”

Shailash Manga, Global Head of User Experience, GfK (New Zealand)
“In a global role I am seeing different trends in different regions depending on the regional maturity of UX, the competitive landscape and the nature of the industry. For example, in healthcare the trend towards easier-to-use and safe healthcare is most relevant in the US and the focus is UX research that is robust and reliable.

“In the financial services space in both North America and Europe we are seeing a trend towards lean UX approaches where speed and iterative approaches are critical to winning in the marketplace.”

What are great examples of innovative UX?

Frederic Gaillard, Managing Director, Axance (France)
“The dashboard for Tesla cars defines the new standard for car systems. Once you have used it, I think it is almost impossible to drive a car the same way as before. With a touchscreen system that borrows heavily from the design of handheld devices, it is like using a iPhone after having a regular cell phone.”

Bob Schumacher, Executive Vice President, GfK User Centric (US)
“We are seeing increasing promise in day-to-day innovation, such as healthcare, in how simple things like bandages can include sensors that detect infection. Or in the mundane way we manage our heating and cooling. Or in commuting. Innovation in UX will make or break many of the companies that want to succeed in these markets.”

Simon Lillis, Digital Architect, PwC Australia
“One major innovative UX initiative that I love has the goal of shifting 50% of aged healthcare to the home within 10 years, vastly improving health outcomes for the aged, but also returning independence to the individual.

“These new technological capabilities are fascinating, and have amazing potential, but they are worthless unless people find the experience of using that technology useful and engaging. UX is the missing link in realising these opportunities and creating a truly intimate experience for an audience with overwhelming potential.”