December is often a time when we find ourselves wrapping things up: perfecting that last design, executing one more launch, finalizing that last line of code.
But this is also a great time to look ahead! Technology never stops, so we can’t either. Part of our commitment to our clients is that we’ll always be at the top of our game and mindful of trends and developments in every area we touch.
This month, we asked a few Sparkboxers to share what they see coming down the line for 2024. Here’s what they had to say.
Catherine: Accessibility and AI
With the release of WCAG 2.2 in October, a new AAA Guideline, 2.4.13 Focus Appearance, encourages keyboard focus indicators of specific size and contrast. Designing and implementing unique focus states for branded pages is a creative and fun challenge for people who love frontend development.
ChatGPT and OpenAI have created a boom of easy-to-access AI features, and everyone wants to find a novel way to integrate GPT Technology into their web applications. We’ve already done work creating OpenAI-powered CMS features that help users generate content for learning curriculum. Understanding the most practical use cases for AI (and the new Government regulations) will be a hot topic through all of 2024.
Dustin: Digital Products and Sustainability
I think we’re going to see sustainability getting taken more seriously. The W3C is working on sustainability guidelines that are similar to WCAG for accessibility, and they include the sort of performance optimizations we’re familiar with, but they also cover UX Design, hosting, infrastructure, and business practices. Digital products affect the physical world, and I think people are starting to recognize that more and more.
AI requires a huge amount of electricity and water, and the models the AI are trained on require substantial human labor, so to me, that’s a pretty big concern for sustainability.
Chris: Trends in UX and UI
Dark mode is getting more attention. This looks like it could start becoming a bigger part of all experiences. Adding the option is a big consideration and also accounting for dark mode choices made by the user. Many colors can have unexpected adjustments.
I see an increasing focus on personalization: tailoring experiences to a user’s location, interests and previous actions. AI will play a big part here as well.
Greater use of voice and microinteractions to enhance user experiences and open up new possibilities for accessibility.
I’ve seen a few mentions of the concept of “Minimum Lovable Product” recently. Essentially prioritizing quality over a fast timeline or launching fewer elements at a high quality and then rolling out new elements once they meet a quality standard.
And finally, I think that foldable screens will put a spotlight on responsive sizes that have mostly been relegated to the back burner. Creating enhanced experiences for these larger mobile screens will start to become more common.
Natalie: AI and Project Management
AI-powered project management tools are rapidly advancing, revolutionizing task management, decision-making, and overall project outcomes. These tools, infused with AI capabilities, excel in identifying trends, risks, and opportunities, empowering project managers to make well-informed decisions swiftly.
A trend that will continue and expand is the real-time monitoring features that enable efficient tracking of project tasks, simplify reporting, and facilitate information sharing. For example, the ability to crunch data sets and historical reporting can contribute to identifying risks and their mitigation strategies more effectively than at any other time. FigJam’s AI Sort tool is a good example.
However, as these tools evolve and integrate into comprehensive suites of products, there is a growing recognition of the enduring significance of soft skills in project management. Looking ahead to 2024, one of the chief tasks of Project managers will be to continue to enhance communication and foster team collaboration. With the potential for increased efficiency in task management through AI, project managers will have more time allocated to these essential soft skills.
We’re excited about keeping an eye on these and other trends in 2024. Watch this space for more!