The pitfalls of adopting every UX trend — And how to avoid them.

Have you ever bought something trendy just because everyone else was wearing it? There was a time I bought a sneaker because they were all the rage. But to be honest, I’ve only worn it twice since then.

When it comes to UX trends, the stakes are much higher than a $60 sneaker. With new UX trends emerging every year, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and feel the pressure to adopt them. However, not all UX trends are right for everyone. It’s important to consider users, the context, and the problem you’re trying to solve before jumping on the bandwagon.

These three factors (your users, the context, and the problem you’re trying to solve) will assist you in making a deliberate decision rather than just following a trend. Not all users are the same. If you notice other organizations adopting a trend you’re interested in, make sure you test it with your users, not members of your team or other colleagues in your company. It’s important to get feedback from those who would actually use your product. Put it in front of users who represent your target demographic.

Let’s say you’re designing a website for a financial institution. The context of the website is that users will be accessing it to manage their finances, which is a sensitive and often stressful activity for many people. In this context, it might not be appropriate to adopt a trendy, flashy design that might distract or overwhelm users. Instead, a more conservative and user-friendly design that prioritizes ease of use and accessibility might be more appropriate. The context in this case, being a financial institution, would require a design that prioritizes trust, security, and practicality, rather than following the latest design trend.

You should also be mindful of the time and resources required to implement a new trend. Before taking on a trend, think about the actual problem you’re trying to solve and the best way to solve it.

Let’s say you’re considering building an augmented reality buying experience for your consumers to see how furniture might fit in their houses. AR systems may be costly to build and require time to perfect.

Knowing the context will help you make the best decision at the right moments. Before embarking on any trend, consider the real problem you’re attempting to tackle and what is currently preventing the problem from being solved.

Consider the threats that are associated with not addressing the problem. Look at other secondary resources to understand the problem better. Understand how the problem has evolved over time.

The past can actually tell you a lot about what users currently need. When it came to my sneakers, I should have probably asked myself, does this really fit my style? Would I actually wear it? Should I be spending the money right now?

Have I even put on footwear like this in the past? This would have better informed my decision to purchase it. We have a course, Emerging Patterns in Interface Design, that goes deeper into how to evaluate patterns and trends thoroughly.

In summary, before adopting a new UX trend, always consider your users, the context, and the problem you’re trying to solve. Don’t get caught up in the excitement of the latest trend without thoroughly evaluating its impact on your product and users.

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