As we wrap up another thrilling and fast-paced year in the life of the experience industry, it’s time to take a quick breath, take stock of how far we’ve come and think about what’s in store for 2020.

Therefore, I have asked six of UserZoom’s brightest minds (who also happened to be willing to stake their hard-earned reputations on these predictions) about how they think the CX and UX landscapes will shape up in 2020.

Here are a few teasers of what’s to come:

  • We can look forward to a further blossoming of the CX and UX relationship, where we move past the collection of pure attitudinal data towards a more holistic overview of experiences using quant and qual research.
  • There’s a burgeoning need for a more considered approach to scaling and embedding research, that will see further democratization of UX in organizations as well as the creation of thousands of Research Ops roles in 2020.
  • UX professionals who finally now have a seat at the executive table will find themselves with many different challenges and responsibilities, and will therefore have to become truly great UX leaders.
  • Companies will become more transparent about the environmental impact of their products, so consumers can make better ethical decisions. This may even become a competitive differentiator.
  • The right of every person to be able to access any digital product, no matter their disability, will finally become a mainstream concern, rather than just an afterthought and will become baked into product development.

Agree? Disagree? Want to get into a heated discussion just for the sport of it? Take a look at the prognostications below, then get in touch with us via Twitter or our BetterUX Slack channel and we’d love to spitball some more.

A better way to measure experience

Alfonso de la Nuez, Co-founder and Co-CEO

In 2020, more CX Pros will understand that the current way to measure CX is rather limited and reactive.

First, in order to deeply understand CX, they’ll need to go well beyond the so-called ‘attitudinal’ data, collected through simple and boring surveys. They’ll need to dig deeper and engage with customers and users by implementing a multi-method approach that includes both quantitative and qualitative insights: Customer opinions, attitudes and behavior.

Moreover, we will see CX and UX pros partnering more to obtain a better holistic picture of the overall experience. This means that they will not wait until the product is shipped and live in the marketplace. A great CX starts with great XD (experience design), and great design requires user research.


Becky Wright, Senior Product UX Researcher

My prediction (and hope) for 2020 is that information on the environmental impact of a product or service will be more readily available to the consumer.

At a time when many people want to make a change to their current lifestyle, being able to make well-informed decisions on what they buy and who they do business would be a good place to start.

Companies have a responsibility to provide an experience, in store or online, where users can make these decisions easily. No one wants to search the small print to find out whether the packaging from their latest delivery will be 100% recyclable when it could be as easy as adding this to their usual filter settings.

To better understand the current culture of user research and UX in enterprise organizations, download our latest State of UX in the Enterprise report and discover all the data, trends and insights that are most important to UX teams right now:

Download ‘The State of UX’

The rise of Research Operations

Lee Duddell, Senior UX Director

I predict that in 2020 we’ll see the creation of thousands of Research Ops roles, as many organisations mature beyond “can we get money for research?” to “how can we make this a central part of our decision making?”

As evidenced in the UserZoom State of UX in the Enterprise 2019 report, the combined challenges of embedding research in the product lifecycle and the significant increase in demand for research means hiring some more researchers is not going to be the answer.

What’s needed is a considered approach to scaling and embedding research – for some this might be democratising tactical testing to non-researchers, for others it might be the smart selection and management of agencies and research platforms that makes a difference.

Whatever the approach, at many organisations’ demand for research is outstripping supply, meaning efficient ways of working need to be established and doing this is a full time role.

Accessibility in the mainstream

Caroline Garner, Sr. UX Researcher, Professional Services

With UX and CX becoming more mainstream, it’s not as challenging to make a case for implementing user research. Now it’s time to start differentiating ourselves with something fresh, new, and inspiring. One new hot topic has made its way into the news in a big way: accessibility for the web.

Kickstarted by the infamous Domino’s Pizza v. Guillermo Robles case, more private companies are starting to see the needs and benefits of making their websites accessible. Before, it was only required for government and federally funded organizations to be 508 compliant, which is the online equivalent of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This court case brought to light that the ADA requires “businesses with physical locations to make their websites and other online platforms accessible to those with disabilities,” which in this case includes Domino’s mobile app.

The laws may still be fuzzy and evolving, but as more attention is put towards accessibility, it’s better to be in the forefront of this online movement. With technology being integral to our everyday lives, we shouldn’t be excluding anyone. Plus, making your digital properties accessible actually makes them better for everyone, since it promotes clean, up-to-date coding, and intuitive interactions.

From UX professionals to UX leaders

Rima Campbell, Senior UX Research Director

In 2020, we’ll see business leaders demand more efficient CX and UX digital transformation efforts.

Considering the rise in customer expectations for instant access to information and the blurring of lines between hardware, software, and services, C-suite leaders will be more aggressive than ever in leveraging data to produce stronger and more meaningful digital experiences.

While they recognize the need to invest in future technologies like artificial intelligence, they also recognize that fixing the fundamental issues that afflict current service and experience is essential to attract new customers, increase customer retention and drive brand loyalty.

Organizations have been drowning in oceans of data that introduce more questions than answers. The biggest challenge is to accurately identify the root cause of customer complaints, which can only be achieved through UX research. That said, the C-suite will have greater appetite for a framework of operational rigor that measures and drives design performance with the same rigor as revenues and costs.

What does that mean for UX professionals? This is a prime opportunity for UX pros to become UX leaders and they must get ready to make the best out of it.

Great UX research leaders will distinguish themselves in four ways:

The dog has caught car, but now what?

Kuldeep Kelkar, SVP, Global Research Services

For several years, the UX community has been asking for a seat at the table, with more budgets and resources. Now UX pros will get a seat at the proverbial table and this will grow into leadership positions with managed budgets and resources.

That means the challenges and problems for upcoming UX leaders will be all new and different. These include:

  • Several teams will face organizational structure challenges. It was probably easy when the organization had only two designers. But when there are 10 or 20 or even more UXers, how do you organize yourself? By product units, by role (Visual, Interaction, Research) or by self-organizing smaller units that work with Product and Engineering for a given business unit. There are no simple answers but it’s an evolutionary step along the UX maturity curve.
  • More UX leaders with budget and resourcing responsibilities. With growing demand for ‘better UX’ across all industries, there will be higher demand for UX leaders. These leaders will likely face managing budget challenges for the first time. This is a good problem to have, but still its a problem. Very few designers or researchers have MBA or financial backgrounds. But the good news is that you don’t need an MBA in finance to do basic math. Sharpen your KPI skills and understand the basics of budget management in a corporate environment. But it will be on-the-job training for many.
  • UX research operations and design operations. Each year we see more and more enterprise organizations forming Research Ops and/or Design Ops teams. This usually starts with one person taking over as the project manager for the UX team, but Ops as function to support UX resources, process and deliverables is likely to grow for several more years.

Everything you need to secure budgets and resources for user research!

Here’s an exclusive collection of content tackling one of the biggest UX challenges of 2019 – securing budgets and resources for research.

This free-to-download bundle contains all the following resources:

  • 25 expert opinions on getting stakeholder buy-in for user research [Article]
  • Top tips for presenting user research results to stakeholders [Article]
  • Benchmarking 101 [ebook]
  • Proving Value & Quantifying the Impact of UX Research through Benchmarking [On-demand webinar]

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Main image by @sortino