Our digital world is changing all the time — and I don’t mean a new dolphin face filter for your video calls. Advances in AI, personalization, localization and more will allow brands to connect with consumers in ways never thought possible.
But, where is it all going? And can brands get a competitive advantage if they can read the tea leaves?
On the Ready, Test, Go. podcast, we grapple with questions around digital quality. And many of those questions deal with our ever-evolving technologies. One standard question I asked our guests is, “What will digital experiences look like five years from now?” Their responses reflect a range of opinions, from optimistic to pessimistic, acceptance to alarmist.
Here’s what these experts had to say:
(These responses were edited for brevity.)
Gary Larkin, Chief Strategy Officer at Marker Trax and Koin Mobile
Different. Completely different. I think the thing that’s going to change us most in all industries is what probably is most frightening, and that’s AI. What AI will do to every industry, what it will allow us to do that we’ve never thought of doing, the power it will give to our innovation is going to so greatly change the shape, I think, of our daily lives in the next five years. I’m excited to see it. I’m a little scared as to what it might do because I’ve seen some, as we all have, we’ve seen some great downsides of some of the technology revolutions over the last 15, 20 years. It hasn’t all been good. We haven’t mastered our technologies well to our end goals. But hopefully, we’ll do better as it continues to evolve.
Adam Shostack, President at Shostack + Associates
I don’t think [digital experiences] will look like the metaverse. I think that we’re going to see an explosion of AI-generated content that’s going to make it very hard to know what is real. And I think that that’s a huge danger that we’re barely beginning to grapple with.
Amy Reichert, Freelance QA SME/Test Engineer
I think you’ll see people using applications easier on mobile devices primarily, and then you’ll have a lot of intersection with AI or machine learning and virtual reality. Those will all be wrapped together to produce data and more data analytics, but I think that will be helpful. You’ll get digital apps that maybe solve problems for you, or help you solve problems.
Matt Heusser, Managing Director of Excelon Development
There’s a chance that the Oculus virtual reality takes off more, especially for gaming. Your automobile is going to continue to become more integrated. Your automobile is going to feel more and more like a laptop computer. And the handheld device is going to continue to integrate with all of the things. So we’re going to see more internet of things. We’re going to see more Ring doorbells that operate with your phone, home security systems that operate with your phone. Twenty years ago, we were talking about turning the lights on and off in your home with your phone. For the people that want to use Alexa, [we’ll see more of] the ability to integrate the home electrical experience. I see people continuing their mobile-first [lives]. I see more and more software is going to be done on your phone instead of the laptop.
Kristin Jackvony, Principal Engineer in Software Testing at Paylocity
I’m expecting that five years from now people will have a more personalized experience with all of their applications. One of the things that I’ve noticed over the last few months is that every time I get a new computer or get a new app on my phone, I’m being given the opportunity to choose light mode or dark mode. And I think that that’s only going to expand, that people are going to say, ‘What color would you like the app to look like? Or which things would you like to see on the home screen?’ So I have a feeling that as we move forward, we’re going to see more and more of that personalization.
Jeff Payne, CEO of Coveros
I think the whole goal in the digital transformation, the digital quality movement, is getting a better understanding of our customers and understanding how they engage with our products and come through different touchpoints — web, mobile, or whatever it is.
There’s a lot of data being collected, and organizations are trying to use that data to make better decisions and give consumers better results and better options, and, obviously, sell them more. I really feel like using artificial intelligence to take that data and start to really understand customer trends and needs is going to make the experience for customers a lot clearer and make a lot better customer recommendations and purchasing recommendations — using non-AI types of analysis just isn’t yet providing that level of sophistication.
So, I think that’s going to drive more value. It’s going to drive more customer satisfaction. It’s going to increase customer engagement, and should increase customer revenue for companies that adopt that. So, I think AI is going to radically change the customer experience over time.
Meredith Broussard, Author and Professor at NYU
Five years from now, I think digital experiences are going to look largely the same as they do now. We’re going to have different-looking gadgets, but [experiences] are going to be largely the same.
Inge De Bleecker, Founder of outriderUX
I think five years from now, in many ways, very little will have changed. We will still be using the websites we use today to check our email [or], I don’t know, to submit a claim.
I think you’ll continue to see sort of the mainstream of what we already have. I think submitting a claim will only become easier. Little bits — because by now we’re quite mature on some of that side of the house, so to speak, when it comes to innovation.
When it comes to AI, I think we’ll continue to see a lot of different experiments, I call them, to some extent, or trying to do things a certain novel way. Some of them will land, and some of them will not.
At the end of the day, where do we end up there five years from now? Probably some progress. But, no, the world is not going to have completely changed.
Whatever the future has in store, be proactive about ensuring high-quality digital experiences to capture and retain users. User Experience Testing with Applause enables brands to scale their UX research efforts on-demand in the markets and demographics you define. Applause offers multiple study types led by qualified UX researchers to deliver actionable, detailed and meaningful user insights to help you succeed at launch time. Talk with us about your UX goals, and let’s build a plan today.