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The importance of contextual design in our ever-changing digital world

Much like context can strengthen a story, context can strengthen and uplift a design for optimized experiences in a relentlessly expanding digital world.

The importance of contextual design in our ever-changing digital world
[Gus Andy / Adobe Stock]

In our modern world, technology has opened a floodgate of information that is rapidly and readily available at the tips of our fingers. Information and innovation are growing and spreading at an unimaginable pace. In such a competitive landscape, it is fundamental to keep your eyes on the way trends ebb and flow, enter and evolve, and become reconceptualized into newer, updated trends and user preferences.

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Within the multitude of information that flutters and forms, centralizing balance within all the movement is paramount for brands and companies to stabilize their footing. Contextual design can offer a sturdy foundation for brands to watch all the pieces shift and settle into something new for an insightful perspective on how to achieve and sustain relevance.

CONTEXTUAL DESIGN AT A GLANCE

Contextual design is a significant pillar of user-experience principles as it places the user at the forefront. Moreover, experiences can be fulfilled contextually across all industries that prioritize their consumers, users, and audience.

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Contextual design is backed by data-driven strategies that inform developers of the circumstances in which an interface, product, or service is utilized. It allows for a richer, clearer perspective that can define your audience and how to utilize their preferences in future designs or mend any functionality features that are no longer viable.

With context, there is a level of human-centric design that becomes evident, as the prioritization of your audience reflects levels of empathy and productivity coming into confluence. A disregard for user insights seldom equates to a successful design or brand. Thus, when these insights are seriously considered, they can enrich the user experience, especially in a world where digital is dominant and relentless in its growth.

ATTENTION SPANS ARE SLIPPERY

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With the expansion of information, its movement is so readily attainable that an audience’s attention span can be easily pulled in elsewhere. According to a Microsoft study, the general population’s attention span dropped from 12 seconds in 2000 to eight seconds in 2015 due to the way technology and innovation have allowed for quick access to information.

This effectively insists on the idea that first impressions are much more significant than ever, particularly in a digital world with copious platforms to choose from. Thus, a user’s attention must be captured as swiftly as possible, and that can be achieved by unveiling the context of who your users are and what they expect from a design. Moreover, to truly capture a user’s attention, context is essential for ensuring your audience’s preferences are aligned with what is presented and offered.

Contextual design can be attained in a myriad of ways, and utilizing research and analytics within a contextual framework can allow insights on how to stay in tune with your audience. Attaining context on your target audience and understanding the scope in which a digital design will be deployed can ensure a much more stable and memorable experience for your audience, helping to create resonance and user loyalty. Context can uncover the pulse of preferences that will capture your users’ attention, while also allowing designers and developers to integrate them into different aspects of UI/UX design directions, content building, graphic design, layouts, and so much more.

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DIGITAL TRENDS TRANSCEND TIME

As digital design trends refuse to stay in a state of stasis, brands should be aware of the latest trends to adopt—which is essential in an overly saturated market. Context can be uncovered with data-driven design strategies known as contextual inquiries in which sessions allow developers to observe their users and their interactions with an interface or product.

Trends are consistently shifting and molding into new iterations of themselves as socio-cultural changes occur, new generational preferences emerge, and technologies continue to grow. The context in which these trends can be applied to design elements inform design directions that can amplify a user experience—highlighting the importance of context in the modern digital ecosystem as it shifts to what audiences find most appealing.

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CONTEXT CAN INFORM INTERSECTING LAYERS OF DESIGN

With contextual design, there is an opportunity to peer into different aspects of design and fully understand their assessment. From a design perspective, context from contextual inquiries, usability testing, surveys, and other outlets encourages designers and developers to be fully adaptable to change. Context informs many underlying layers of a design, such as a user and their environment, marketing strategies, brand positioning, and how to elevate that aspect with emerging technologies and directions.

UI/UX designers cannot afford to slow down or remain too comfortable in what is currently working, because what works now will inevitably change before you know it. Thus, integrating user feedback and context can significantly enable the growth of new ideas within elements and graphic design.

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Context permits a clear understanding of how an interface or product needs to be devised based on whom your team is designing for. With agencies and companies on the tail of innovative designs that are current with user expectations, users can easily detect when a UI/UX interface feels outdated, which can diminish the user experience.

Context allows trends to be applied to deliver emotional satisfaction against the backdrop that highlights the shifts in people, technology, and cultural expectations. Much like context can strengthen a story, context can strengthen and uplift a design for optimized experiences in a relentlessly expanding digital world.


Pioneering the UX discipline as a synonymous force to designing experiences, ArtVersion elevates companies with innovative digital designs. 

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