Apart from accessibility and scalability, the cloud has also been known for its remarkably friendly user experience. Available from anywhere and generally accessed through a simple web or file browser, most cloud services are already designed to take advantage of technology that users are familiar with. As we move into the latter half of 2016, however, the user experience is changing. Many cloud providers are still looking for ways that they can improve upon and build out their platforms.
Responsive Design Becomes Anticipatory Design
The last few years have been about responsive design. Cloud apps change based on the platforms that they are being used on. A mobile site looks entirely different from a desktop site — and sometimes even functions differently as well. But responsive design is very likely to shift into anticipatory design soon, too. Rather than simply changing the platform based on where the user is accessing it from, the platform may change and shift based on what the user wants to do. This type of design will make it easier to guide the user into the actions that they want to take and to make the overall process simpler and easier. Machine learning and artificially intelligent algorithms may even be used to take a best guess at what a user intends to do based on their prior behaviors.
New Methods of Interacting with Applications
User experience has successfully moved from primarily mouse-and-click to swiping, pinching, and twisting. This is generally due to the proliferation of mobile devices. Nearly every system that allows for clicking now also allows for swiping. But new methods of interaction are very likely to be included in newer platforms for an even more seamless user experience. Most notably, voice recognition. Voice recognition is already being implemented in many mobile devices and it has become easier to use in the past few years. In addition to voice recognition, gestures will likely become a popular way to control apps. This will make apps more natural and intuitive to use.
More Platforms and Devices Connected to the Cloud
The Internet of Things is bringing the cloud to more devices. Even refrigerators may have cloud connectivity within the next few years. This means that user experience and design is moving towards specialized devices and niche products, which may become a new study and discipline all its own. Cloud technology has become intuitive to modern users, and so it’s very likely to continue growing and moving across different systems — such as vehicles. Tying all of these devices together in a unified and well-integrated system may very well become a challenge for future UX designers.
User experience is one of the most important components to any application. Regardless of how robust a platform is, it won’t be efficient or usable without solid UX considerations. Businesses interested in developing applications for the cloud will need to consider how their customers interact with those applications as much as what the applications do themselves.