53% of people were switching or thinking about changing their jobs in 2021. In general, the resignation rates were higher among employees who worked in fields that had experienced extreme increases in demand due to the pandemic, including digital designers. (Source: Forbes)
A dramatic 'purpose gap' exists between upper management and the front line. 85% of frontline managers and employees are unsure or disagree that they can live their purpose in day-to-day work (compared to 15% of executives and upper management). (Source: McKinsey)
The demand for digital design services skyrocketed during the year, driven by the pandemic's impact, creating rough, never seen before pressure-cooker situations for designers, leading to increased workloads and, often, burnouts.
The joy of designing evaporated for many as the pressure to deliver on core business goals mounted. A very few individuals and organizations appeared to care about pixels unless directly connected to revenue or cost savings, revealing hard capitalism lessons.
In addition, the prolonged pandemic led to more isolation, decreased quality of social relationships and provided more space and time for self-reflections.
As a result, designers spent a lot of time reflecting and thinking about their purpose and work, contemplating the crucial question: 'Is my life trajectory going in the direction I want?'
Data implied a profound disconnect between many's purpose and ambitions and their daily jobs. A fact that will have enormous implications for designers and businesses alike.
Entering the new year comes with fresh perspectives. Learning from the previous year's developments, to thrive in 2022, designers should:
This year will provide tremendous opportunities for organizations that can steer the ship the right way and get the most out of their highly skilled employees. Understanding the new landscape, businesses should:
293k new UX designers emerged from Google's UXD Certificate alone. (Source: UXCollective)
57% of tech business owners believe that the next generation of entrepreneurs will not care where their employees are located. (Source: Oxfordeconomics)
At the start of the year, it felt great for many designers. Amidst the collapse of various industries due to the pandemic, the demand for digital skills boomed, creating numerous new opportunities — and it seemed endless.
When the dust settled, we started observing the flip side of the sudden growth. Tech companies introduced algorithms capable of designing (Adobe+Google); commoditization and standardization of UX picked up speed, and hundreds of thousands of new designers entered the job market.
Combined with the remote working revolution, these factors created an exciting but challenging environment, where the future looks bright, but only for those who can stay relevant and possess unique competitive advantages in the increasingly saturated field — instead of resting on one's laurels.
With the projections showing the rising demand and the influx of new designers to continue, to thrive in the future market, designers should:
To capitalize fully on the opportunities in an increasingly digitalized world, businesses have to utilize their design team's potential to the fullest. They can do it by:
Today, the total size of the creator economy is estimated to be over $100 billion. (Source: Forbes)
NFTs are the single greatest technological development for creators since the advent of the Internet - and in 2022, they'll grow by 1000%. (Source: Forbes+CapitalG)
The COVID-19 pandemic dramatically accelerated the digitalization of the entire world, including the arts and creative sectors. As a result, people gradually realized that it's more pragmatic to hold onto things of value rather than hoard cash and sensed a smell of opportunity with the rise of new blockchain-enabled technology.
For artists and creators alike, the rise of NFTs (non-fungible tokens) proved to be a game-changer. Suddenly it's possible to monetize their hard work via new revenue streams, diversify their income and innovate their fan engagement strategy.
It is now exciting for artists and creators to say that they don't need the entire contemporary art world to put a stamp of 'good art' on their work to make a sale. (Source: ItsNiceThat)
However, as art only accounts for around a quarter of NFT sales (Source: Forbes), its also proven to be a catalyst for many others. Writers, videographers, or even established businesses realized they could successfully enter the game, participate in the newly created, growing economy, and continue to shape the industry.
The awarding of patents to individuals and companies allows innovation to flourish and society to progress technologically. To make the most of it, designers should:
NFTs change our notions of copyright and ownership regarding digital products. Furthermore, it is a significant economic innovation because they allow creatives anywhere in the world to share and receive payment for their work.
It is likely to incentivize the development of more NFTs and boost the demand as consumers everywhere have demonstrated their readiness to purchase.
These latest developments created an incredible opportunity for businesses to re-think their digital content plans and brand experiences to enhance their customer engagements and embark on new revenue opportunities.
Gartner predicts that 65% of all apps will be created using low-code platforms by 2024. (Source: Gartner)
No code allows an automation layer to compress the time and accelerate the ability to build software up to 100x faster than currently available. (Source: Forbes)
Once upon a time, only a tiny group of software engineers built things on the internet. These often ambitious people spent months learning to code before publishing even the most basic website. (Source: Ryan Hoover)
We have seen massive transformations in software development since the internet's inception. For example, the evolution of web-building applications led from a simple Notepad editor to Dreamweaver to today's Webflow, allowing anyone to build complex websites without writing a single line of code.
Such tools gained record-breaking traction during 2021, and experts predict the trend will continue dramatically during the years ahead.
The core belief of the no-code movement is that technology should enable and facilitate the creation, not be a barrier to entry and hence allow millions of people to be able to make extraordinary things and pave the way for greater innovation. (Source: Webflow)
Ultimately, even though the wider community acknowledges the technology is still in its early stages, the future looks promising. Some even believe that no-code and low-code techniques hold the potential to speed up software in ways that we haven't seen since the introduction of agile.
These are exciting times for designers as it has never been easier to bring digital products to life — and the market. Designers who want to thrive in the future and accelerate their personal growth should:
Early adopters will possess significant competitive advantages regarding speed to market and innovations. Therefore, businesses that want to tap into the emerging opportunity areas should:
McKinsey estimates the global wellness market at more than $1.5 trillion, with 5 to 10 per cent annual growth. A rise in consumer interest and purchasing power presents tremendous opportunities for companies. (Source: McKinsey)
According to GWI research, 50% of Gen Z say their mental health got worse compared to 37% of baby boomers. In addition, disruptions to education, life experiences, and uncertain job prospects, paired with existing financial burdens like student debt, have all weighed heavily on young people. (Source: GWI)
We observed several chronic conditions, such as anxiety, stress, and back or muscle pain, getting a lot worse than 2020, hinting at the longer-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on complex conditions. (Source: GWI)
Throughout the year, many people faced profound losses and uncertainty. And even now, as countries ease restrictions, there are still many unknowns ahead.
Additionally, at the end of 2021, the winter began to pose a threat, with many countries debating the reintroduction of stay-at-home measures. The risk of long COVID, new variants, breakthrough cases, and potential seasonal flu surges also loom large.
Therefore, all these recent developments undoubtedly hampered peoples’ mental wellbeing, with 44% of them saying that their stress and anxiety levels have gotten worse.
We need to understand the future wellness generation to design products that promote better health. This change in how we conceptualize health also alters our approach to design without ignoring our audience's core needs.
It's not enough to identify trends and fill the gap; our products need to embody various characteristics that resonate with younger generations. We can do this by adhering to the following principles: (Source: Beyond Design)
People are becoming more health-conscious over the past decade and continue to invest time and money into their physical & mental well-being.
In addition, due to time spent at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, people began to reflect on being intentional about taking care of their overall health and well-being. Businesses aiming to succeed need to be aware that:
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