3 Ways to Future-Proof Your UX

By Kevin P. Nichols, Donald Chesnut

Future-proofing your UX (user experience) means you create a system to keep your experience relevant. In today’s world, future-proofing is increasingly important because new technologies emerge every year, and what was relevant yesterday is not always relevant today.

There are a few things you can do to ensure your experience is relevant and able to propagate new channels and technologies:

  • Build a closed-loop UX strategy. A closed-loop UX strategy means that managing your experience is an ongoing process and not a project with a beginning and an end. Within this process you discover, define, design, build, launch, test, and optimize.

    Testing means you evaluate your existing experience with analytics and user testing. The results you glean from user testing inform future-state decisions. If you find you need to change your experience, you kick off a truncated version of the process.

    You should look at analytics as often as every quarter. At a minimum, you should examine your analytics semi-annually.

  • Build extensible experiences with templates and modules. Create templates that standardize your experience and use these when publishing your UX.

    • A modular approach can enable you to do more than reuse content (using content in multiple templates); it can also populate different channels with different content.

    • An extensible approach means you think about what types of content you need for different channels. A desktop website might require longer content, a mobile site shorter content, and a tablet website a mix between the two.

      Build templates and modules to facilitate this requirement. For example, a product detail template may have a long product description for a desktop website that lists several benefits of the product.

      In contrast, a mobile site might contain a short description with just a few key benefits — “snackable” content that is more appropriate for a mobile experience. In this instance, one template and modules can control the longer and shorter content.

  • Use standardized code and taxonomies. Standardized and universal language, such as HTML, can ensure your experience has consistent qualities across multiple platforms. In addition, HTML and CSS are technologies that are core to web-based experiences, so they are not going anywhere in the near future.

    Ensure you validate your code with W3C standards so that it does not have issues of readability and accessibility. Also, standardized taxonomies can control vocabulary and ensure that your experience can be published across multiple channels.

You don’t have to be afraid of the future of technology or build a new experience every year or so. Planning carefully and setting up your experience to evolve can save you money, keep you competitive, and make it easier for you to respond to emerging technology advances in the future.