UX 2018: Year End Roundup of the Best Articles

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Catch up on 1 year of UX reads in 1 hour.

I’ve done the work of going through this year’s UX roundup articles and “best of” UX lists so you don’t have to. These are my hand-selected 8 round up lists, including highlights of my favorites from each one.

2019 UX Trends

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UXDesign.cc put out another blockbuster trends for our industry. They dove into 10 categories: Career, Routine, Impact, Behavior, Process, Tools, Deliverables, Mindset, Technology, Highlights.

Of these 10, my favorite is the observation that our industry has become obsessed with design methods and a concluding observation for this year (#10):

“There hasn’t been a ground-breaking technology that has made designers stop in their tracks. There hasn’t been a game changer of any kind.

Partially because tech hasn’t advanced enough to create disruption.

Partially because we’ve had more important issues to attend to.”

State of Design Systems 2018

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Over the years companies big and small have been touting their design systems, from Atlassian’s Atlaskit to Meetup’s Swarm Design System.

The fine folks at Figma (say that 3x fast) released their 8-point report on the state of design systems. Here were my two favorite findings:

  1. Design systems usually come after products are built, not before
  2. Component libraries and style guides are the most common artifacts, but…

Most surveyed see design systems as static products instead of processes that are backed by “guidelines, principles and philosophies.”

Design Tool Wars of 2018 and On

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This was one of the best articles about design tools written in 2018 because of the way it broke down the trends from 2016 – 2018 into three buckets: design, prototype and handoff.

My takeaway from this report was that the future will see more design tooling companies become integrators between all the phases of design, from design to final coded product.

With the likes of InVision, Figma and Framer gaining millions of dollars in funding, the design tools wars will wage into a colorful 2019.

NN/g’s Top 10 UX Videos of 2018

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I constantly reference Nielsen Norman Group (“NN/g”) because they’re at the forefront of developing the UX field as we know it today.

This year I noticed NN/g put out a lot more video content, and they curated their top 10 with the most views.

My personal pick from this list is 10 UX Challenges for the Next 25 Years. It runs 30 minutes and covers Jakob Nielsen’s predictions of how UX roles will evolve – and the types of world challenges that UX will help solve.

Frog’s 2019 Upcoming Tech Trends

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Want more predictions about design and technology? Frog, the elite design consultancy, released its annual report covering 10 tech trends.

My favorite was “Designing Our Off-Screen Lives,” which references the Pew Research study that 45 percent of U.S. teenagers say they’re online almost constantly.

As someone who recognizes his own internet addiction, I’ve welcomed helpful “slow tech” like Apple’s Screen Time and deleting the most time-consuming apps (ahem Facebook) from my phone.

Baymard’s 2018 and 2019 Report (eCommerce UX)

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Baymard is the de-facto source when it comes to exhaustive UX research on all things eCommerce, from how to design form fields to formatting expiration date fields.

The first half of the article is about Baymard’s new and upcoming reports – you can skip to their 10 most popular articles.

My favorite learning came from the research that sites should offer delayed account creation after the guest checkout experience, because 37% of users will abandon a checkout due to being forced to create an account.

Google Design’s Best of 2018

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As an avid Google user (this company seriously runs my life), I was curious about what the tech giant itself considered noteworthy in their design efforts. Not to mention that Google was awarded FastCo’s Design Company of the Year.

Of the 10 design accomplishments curated by the big G, Google Lens was the product I wish I knew about. It’s an app that leverages AI to help identify information about photos users take – wish I had this to identify plants when I was visiting National Parks!

The Most-Read Wired Ideas Stories of 2018

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Wired is one of my favorite technology publications because of its long(er) form journalism that digs into various aspects of how technology affects our humanity.

My three favorite articles include: wealth disparity in Silicon Valley, how Sheryl Sandberg herself can’t tame Facebook, and the alarming report on what screens are doing to our vision.


Did you enjoy this roundup? Should I do another one at the end of 2019?

Let me know in the comments below. Happy 2018 and a start of 2019!

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