Speaking to Technology Review in the astonishingly early year of 1996, Internet pioneer Tim Berners-Lee hit the CX nail on the head;
"Anyone who slaps a 'this page is best viewed in Browser X' label on a web page," he said, "[is] yearning for the bad old days, before the web, when you had very little chance of reading a document written on another computer, another word processor, or another network."
Berners-Lee uttered these words over 20 years ago. In the intervening time, we have seen countless technological leaps and countless shifts in industry philosophy, but the ethos of what Berners-Lee said still rings true; if we are not providing users with what they want, in the configuration in which they want it, we may as well not bother with CX at all.
This concept is still a driving force in the industry, pushing it onwards as we find new ways to tweak the experience we offer to users. Here are some of the ways we can expect CX to change in the next five years.
As technology develops, CX capabilities become increasingly sophisticated. Not only this, but the expectations of our users also become more refined. Instead of simply expecting information and support to be provided to them, users need to be able to interact directly with your user interface. Artificial intelligence, chatbots, and other smart features will make this a reality sooner rather than later.
IoT access points for user networks
We live in an interconnected world, in which everyday objects have become Internet enabled. This has blown the CX industry wide open, as each new connected object becomes a potential access point on the user network.
For example, if a customer is using a smart heating and air conditioning solution, their user experience must cover the entire function of the system. Rather than accessing support or another service via a second device, this will become directly accessible from the connected system.
Data in real time
Data is coming at us thick and fast. To provide a high-quality experience to users, we must be able to wield that data in real time and use it to enhance the service we provide to customers. Expect delays between feedback received and improvements implemented to shrink to almost nothing in the coming five years.
CX no longer unified
Until fairly recently, user experience has involved providing a robust and intuitively designed web and mobile presence and a high level of service. Now, CX has evolved to encompass a wider range of concepts, access points and capabilities.
However, don't expect the industry to remain static and unified for long. Advances in augmented reality, virtual reality, artificially intelligent chatbots and the Internet of Things are threatening to shatter this harmony, creating a disparate selection of different fields of CX. The true leaders of the user experience market of the future will have to be masters in all of these areas.
Insight is everything
We can no longer presume to know best about what the user wants and needs from an interface. Instead, we must remain open to fluxes and shifts in the market and foster the agility and flexibility required to adapt to these changes. We have already discussed real-time data insight, but over the next five years, the scale of this insight will dramatically increase. Businesses who labour under false presumptions and misapprehensions will suffer, while those who listen, respond, and adapt, will thrive.
CX in the grand scheme of things
A combination of all the above will bring CX several steps closer to the 'real world' over the next five years. Real-time responses to problems, smarter interfaces, higher expectations, comprehensive insight, the Internet of Things, etc; all of this translates to an environment in which the user is supported at every turn.
User experience is no longer an ad hoc service provided alongside a product or an offering; within five years, it will become inextricably bound to daily life. This, for CX designers and developers, represents an incredibly exciting opportunity indeed.