2024 predictions for Experience Design: the Inviqa team’s verdict

By Alexandra Kuner

Inviqa’s team give their 2024 predictions for experience design including the convergence of digital design and engineering, immediate use cases for and risks from AI, and an increased focus on accessibility and digital sustainability.

Our 2024 predictions for experience design come against of the backdrop of fast technical advances, an increasing acceptance of different aspects of life being supported by digital tools and an accompanying greater value being placed on the disciplines of digital product and service design.

Inviqa’s experience design (XD) team are energised by the recent growth in medium and large companies investing in their design and research capabilities, elevating the voices of experience design and digital product development leads. Identifying real consumer issues and opportunities through research, and prioritising digital product roadmaps based on this insight, leads to much better outcomes than chasing a list of features dictated by a company’s senior stakeholders.

Below some of the XD team share predictions for their area of expertise in 2024.

Technology reshaping the roles of designers and software engineers
The gap between designers and engineers will continue to close, says Inviqa Experience Director Stuart McAdam. In 2024 this means the shape and skillsets of digital design and engineering teams beginning to change, along with the tools they use.

Figma is one of the solutions supporting this change. AI tools and low-code and no-code solutions will also accelerate the convergence of these two disciplines.

Inviqa is scoping a low-code solution for our own website: with a plan to relaunch the site in 2024. We’ll be documenting and sharing both the process and learnings from this project in the coming months.

One related prediction from Stuart McAdam is that artificial intelligence solutions for user experience research will continue to improve, leading to unmoderated research as businesses aim to conduct research more quickly at relatively low cost. Generative AI is already being leveraged to speed up research analysis and synthesis.

However, Stuart warns of risks associated with placing your full trust in unmoderated conclusions and says that a discussion of the role of AI in UX research will be crucial in the coming 12 months. His fellow Inviqa Experience Director Jamie Stantonian concurs, explaining that using AI participants rather than human ones for AI research could lead to what he describes as “the illusion of knowledge” and a dangerous lack of real understanding.

Adopting AI for UX in 2024
In general, Jamie Stantonian is positive on the potential uses for AI in UX in 2024 if it’s harnessed as a “valuable extension of human capabilities”, rather than a replacement for them.

He explains: “Research by Nielsen Norman has shown that AI is already being used by UX professionals in a variety of contexts, from generating discussion guides and summarising insights to ideation and storyboarding, and in the coming year it is set to have an even more transformational impact. However, it is up to us whether this is for the better or worse.

There are already a host of interesting UX-oriented AI tools there for us to play with, such as Framer’s AI layout builder to impressive tools like “make it real” (created by Inviqa alumni Steve Ruiz) which can turn drawings into working code. While imperfect today, such tools will inevitably find their way into the designer’s toolbox, just as Photoshop’s generative fill already has. Once these tools mature in 2024, they will undoubtedly find value in spinning out marketing sites in an afternoon and perhaps empowering creatives to experiment with more novel or ambitious ideas.”

He adds that AI has already come to inhabit the cultural and economic niche once held by apps and social media, which is “unfortunately also the habitat of hare-brained ideas”. Driven by FOMO and the need to be leaders, Jamie predicts: “We’ll see many businesses wanting to develop some sort of AI features or enhancements in 2024 to stay relevant. This will mean some absolutely revolutionary concepts, but far more often it will not. It will be our responsibility to ground these ideas in solid use cases and not get swept up with enthusiasms and the desire to have an AI case study on the CV.”

German legislation puts spotlight on accessibility
Not all 2024 developments are driven by technological advancements. Legislation also has a role in our prediction on website accessibility. German accessibility legislation coming into effect in 2025 will broadly bring it in line with other markets such as the USA and UK.

Inviqa’s Marketing Director Joanna Perry says we expect to see a flurry of accessibility audits, accessibility testing and improvements rolled-out during 2024 as those trading online in Germany address these new requirements before the legislation takes effect.

Accesssible design tends to improve user journeys and experiences for all users, and so while this activity is driven by a legal requirement, it is a chance for businesses to make changes that can also benefit site speed, SEO and conversion.

Digital sustainability intersects with experience design
Finally, the requirement to place greater emphasis on conserving earth’s precious resources brings a new dimension for experience designers to consider in the coming 12 months. 

Inviqa Digital Product Designer Theo Beck believes that 2024 is the year when digital sustainability will become business as usual for XD teams. She explains: “As businesses start to set their own goals and comply with regulation, sustainability will become much more integrated into our work. Designers will need to adopt new approaches that help them build more lightweight and better optimised products, and sustainability-focussed webpage builders will play a big role.

These builders are designed with energy efficiency and minimal digital carbon footprint in mind, offering templates and frameworks that prioritise low energy consumption. By integrating green hosting services and optimising for reduced data transfer, these tools are starting to transform the way websites are built, offering visually beautiful designs and efficient coding practices.”

She adds: “They are also a great educational tool for designers and engineers to understand the environmental impact of their designs. One to keep an eye on is edi.eco. It’s yet to be released but will allow users to see how content changes impact estimated website carbon footprint in real time.

In parallel, software as a service (SaaS) solutions can provide another way to design lighter weight websites. Inherently sustainable due to being cloud-based, they offer a more energy-efficient alternative to building individual, standalone solutions. With less infrastructure, less energy consumption and less need for maintenance, they will help both businesses and individuals improve their websites and reduce their carbon footprints.”

If you are interested in any of the topics raised in our predictions please don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss how Inviqa could support your digital product and experience design initiatives in 2024.
 

Alexandra Kuner