Beyonce’s intro lyrics to Drunk in Love are stuck in my head and I’ve been thinkin’ about what creative new apps will be designed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The last time the whole world saw a global-level phenomenon was the 2008 recession that hit every continent and country.
Out of that global tragedy, some iconic start-ups like — AirBNB, Twitter, Instagram, and Slack were born. Facebook also went public around that time.
So I’ve been thinkin’… what will coronavirus bring?
It has been nearly a decade since the world has faced a global crisis, and it’s highly probable that some common patterns will emerge out of this phenomenon. People might be apart, working and learning remotely, but this time, they are connected through technology and social media (that did not exist 10 years ago, at such a massive scale).
COVID-19 has brought the world to a screeching halt but we can now see and hear the pain and struggle of our fellow humans across the world. This pandemic is stirring up innovation and putting pressure on companies to reinvent themselves. What could that mean for UX designers? More jobs! And the opportunity for small startups to create applications with global reach and impact.
With so many industries needing to shift and fast, an article by Fast Company describes the reinvention process many in-person industries are facing:
It is clear that much of the last decade of smash-hit UX has been more or less abandoned in the wake of COVID-19. The in-store experience design the touch interfaces at in-store checkouts, and even the shared platforms behind Uber and Airbnb have all become liabilities. Starbucks cafes have closed everything except the drive-through. People are being warned to sterilize their iPhones, let alone use public screens. And Uber is down 70% in some cities, shuttering group rides alongside Lyft, while Airbnb has pledged $250 million to hosts to cover cancellations as it attempts to wait out the storm.
The article also highlights, which I agree with, that for the time being, the definition of a successful user experience is changing. From ordering on Amazon, to door dash, to the once not so necessary amenity of a self-flushing toilet, new shopping patterns will emerge and UX designs may conform to the needs of this super sterilized world.
JUST WHAT WILL MAKE IT THROUGH THE PANDEMIC?
It seems that the question many businesses are asking is, which of these trends will stick around after roughly the year-and-a-half it will take for the world to recover from COVID-19? Will habits that were once in place, now shattered because of COVID create an opportunity for UX designers in a post pandemic world?
Will we start taking Ubers again on a whim once we’re done sheltering in place? Or has the habit been broken over time, and will the residual worry of germs make that stranger’s Airbnb seem far less welcoming?
The answer is not as clear cut. But I hope like many of us, that we can just make it to the other side of quarantine and find out. So while I am frustrated with being indoors, I am also looking forward to the change and innovation that will be squeezed out of these rough times. Time to make lemonade! (Beyonce pun intended!)
How do you feel COVID-19 will impact UX and the design world?