Blinkers Reflect on 2014: Community, Delight, and Wearables

As 2014 comes to an end, a few of us here at Blink took some time to reflect on the past 12 months. What did we learn? What did we love? And what will put a twinkle in our eyes in the coming days?

An Active Year for Wearables

In the interaction design tech world, 2014 was a year in which Apple finally decided to grow in new directions, quite literally with the iPhone 6 and 6s, and announced a watch. The watch is a sign of the quantified self truly going mainstream, as we all try to understand how our bodies operate through our technologies. Along those lines, wearable tech definitely had a bit of a shake-up, as people grew tired of “glassholes,” but fascinated by virtual reality glasses like the Oculus Rift. Wearables are going to continue to be the field to watch next year. From a personal standpoint, I was able to work with some amazing clients to really dig into their products with user research and come up with some great design solutions. Having successful projects just feels great. Yet within Blink, a few of my colleagues left this year, and I miss them greatly. Finally, outside of work, I had a big trip and two growing girls, and I feel like my family really took form this year. So 2014 was a great, fascinating year. It was a year of learning and growth, and I hope it all continues into the new year.— Jonathan Evans

The joint UX Holiday Party was a huge success!
The joint UX Holiday Party was a huge success!

UXies Desire Community Connections

What stuck me as a growing trend in 2014 was the need for community. Like never before, grassroots meet-ups, mixers, and organizational talks became exceedingly important. Whereas in the past practitioners would flock to conferences like UX Week and ConveyUX to listen to luminaries and visionaries, now we also go to our local UX Happy Hour to find out what the smart pros across town are doing. What are they thinking? What is their passion? I felt as if the veil of competition has been lifted. There is so much good UX work done, and so much more that needs to be done, that we finally feel more like a Band of Brothers and Sisters. We’re building a network of ideas here in the UX community and it’s downright inspiring. I look forward to seeing the great results that will be born of this growing group. I know it will happen.— Amy L. Dickson

Companies are Going the Extra Mile for Their Users

Looking back on UX design in 2014 I am most excited about the “delighter” features I encounter on websites and apps. Delighter features are features that are not essential for users to complete tasks but they enhance the user’s experience in a fun and unexpected way. From error messages to cart confirmations many experiences put a fun spin on the norm. In years past, delighters are often left to the end of a product release cycle when there’s a little extra time – they weren’t a high priority and were often skipped over altogether. Now we’re seeing clients be more intentional about including features that will delight their users. In fact, this level of service is becoming an expectation of good user experiences, and companies need to consider them in order to stay competitive. I’m excited for more fun features across the board in 2015!— Claire Carlson

What did you see or make note of this past year?

We sincerely hope you had a wonderful and productive year. From all of us here at Blink UX and Northwest Insights, have a Happy New Year!