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2nd January, 2018  

Trend, Set & Go! Designing for the consumers of future

By roshan.ramanee@imaginea.com

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Mary and Ashley are two individuals who share a similar lifestyle, age group and area. They go to a boutique at a local shopping mall to buy dresses for themselves. At the store, the manager shows them their best collection of apparel. Mary saw, tried and immediately purchased two dresses. But Ashley wasn’t so impressed returns empty-handed.  So, she checked online and found the clothing she preferred that was simple and subtle. Both Mary and Ashley had the exact requirements but there was a huge difference in their tastes, choices and mindset.

The situation above poses many questions. What went wrong at the store for Ashley? How is it that Mary liked it and Ashley didn’t? Why didn’t Mary shop online? And so on. Does this impact a designer? It does because they are the consumers of our designs. And it is important to understand consumer behaviour and direct solutions based on it.

Consumer behaviour is a branch of study that analyses individuals, groups, or organizations and all the activities associated with the purchase, use and disposal of goods and services, including the consumer’s emotional, mental and behavioural responses that precede or follow these activities. It examines how emotions, attitudes and preferences affect buying behaviour. The study of consumer behaviour also investigates the influences, on the consumer, from groups such as family, friends, sports, reference groups, and society in general. Google’s 2017 highlight reel proves to be a great example of consumer behaviour in the past year.

Studying consumer behaviour not only helps us to understand the past but even predict the future. Many factors pertaining to the tendencies, attitude and priorities of people must be weighed so that one can have a fairly good understanding of the usage patterns of consumers. Designing the right solutions based on these insights.

The world today is a smart world. Technology has evolved to a point where it’s a part and parcel of everyday life. Modern business applications are on par with the best consumer applications. This is the result of a design-led development process. User experience design has been the prime driver for visual designers in creating beautiful user interfaces. And by using interaction patterns like tap, swipe, and pinch instead of type, clicks, and scroll, apps are more intuitive than.

Technological advancements have taken off in a different direction than what was commonly portrayed in Hollywood movies. Many movies portrayed futuristic transportation devices and time travel as a centrepiece to this. But today, we are presented with futuristic entertainment devices. And the reality of this is unbelievably awesome.

It’s 2018 already and by 2025, the world is expected to be an Internet-driven world. Experts predict a future of wearable, mobile, embedded sensors, machines and devices communicating with each other. This would be driven by applications, databases and massive data centres that tie this together into the seamless fabric called the Internet of Things.

Daren C. Brabham, assistant professor at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, University of Southern California, says, “The most significant impacts of the Internet on people’s lives by 2025 will involve augmented reality applications. Augmented reality tools such as AR mobile browsers (like Layar) or wearables (like Google Glass) will become affordable and widespread, and we will grow accustomed to seeing the world through multiple data layers. This will change a lot of social practices, such as dating, job interviewing and professional networking, and gaming, as well as policing and espionage”.

Humankind is ready to begin exploring the next multidimensional plane through technology.  This has given rise to an entirely new arena for consumerism, marketing, education and collaboration. Achieving believable technology necessitates that UX evolves quickly in order to accommodate these new capabilities. Current trends are just a start as these technologies are slowly being applied to many different mediums and facets of life. As experience designers, people will have to confront whole new challenges to solve in a whole new way.

Design strategies should focus on the consumer. The solution should look to empower them. And by that influence their behaviour and ultimately to create more demand for circular products, services and experiences. Sustaining a design would be to trigger consumer desire when they are to become the trend and create the efficiencies needed, in the process. And to leave outdated perceptions should be left behind if the focus is the future.

The time is right to set focus on the demand and behaviour of the people and design the right solutions. Designers ensure to deliver their best work when the problem they are trying to solve is completely ingrained in their thought and design process. It is an imperative for the process of discovery, but it’s not just about answering one question: it’s about iteration, open-mindedness and not being fixed in one answer. And a good designer will reframe a question as often as needed while driving to deliver an appropriate and well-crafted solution.

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