2022 is here, and that means it’s time to start thinking about the software product design trends that will be popular in the year. Software development has irreversibly changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Businesses have been forced to transform into digital-first entities, putting pressure on software development teams to bring to market digital innovations and services as fast as possible. Unsurprisingly, the focus has also shifted to building secure, scalable products resilient to sudden shocks.
In addition, IT managers, software developers, CIOs, and CTOs seek innovative ways to improve efficiency and cut costs in an age of uncertainty.
Below, we examine seven trends in software product design to monitor in 2022. Keep in mind that software design is constantly evolving, so some of these trends may not be around for very long. But, if you’re looking to stay ahead of the curve, keep an eye on these trends.
Accelerated Design Automation
Accelerated design automation software enables software engineers and product managers to boost development productivity by automating repetitive tasks. The software also allows teams to build software products more efficiently, quickly, and accurately.
Design automation has matured from the simple automation of basic parameters to full-scale product configuration. As a result, software engineers can now easily use rule-based design without complex coding.
Design automation has become a key component of software design in recent years. It is a top trend for 2022, as software development teams strive to increase efficiency and reduce costs by automating repetitive processes, such as builds and error compilation, testing, and deployment.
The future of the digital world will be based on Web 3.0, which is the most debated concept in today’s digital landscape. It’s a new era of internet development characterized by decentralized control, enabled by technologies like blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and NFTs, and automated using smart contracts.
Web 3.0’s promise is that individuals will control their data and not rely on third parties like Facebook, Google, or Apple to make connections. However, Web 2.0 will not vanish entirely.
The central control points of today’s era, which are currently dominated by big tech, will coexist alongside platforms like Ethereum that allow individuals to interact directly and more securely. They will enable customers to conduct direct transactions and own digital assets.
Web 3.0, on the other hand, will rely on AI to link information, providing more semantically correct and comprehensive search results and more customized online experiences.
This affects software development in that web software developers will have to embrace new technologies and software development languages like Solidity, an object-oriented programming language used for writing smart contracts, most notably on the Ethereum blockchain.
Also read: Web3: A New Catalyst for Enterprise Software
MXDP (Multi-experience Development Platforms)
MXDPs are a top software design trend in 2022 because they significantly speed up the software development process by focusing on user experience and allowing software engineers to create personalized experiences across multiple channels. In addition, MXDP offers multi-device support and works well with embedded devices as well as mobile, desktop, web apps, virtual reality/augmented reality (VR/AR), artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, wearables such as smartwatches or other smart devices.
These platforms are particularly useful for e-commerce companies that must provide customers with a consistent, personalized experience across all channels. They also allow software companies to reduce development time and costs by using a single platform for multiple devices and channels.
As the world becomes more diverse, software design must also become more inclusive. Inclusive design is the practice of designing products that everyone can use, regardless of ability or circumstances. This type of user-centered design acknowledges human diversity in gender, age, ethnic origin, language, sociocultural background, and race.
A good example of inclusive design is the growing variety of emojis of different skin tones, gender identities, and more. Inclusive design is also seen in the improvement of voice-activated software, many of which can now distinguish various accents and be used by anyone regardless of disability.
As individuals explore new virtual worlds and rely heavily on digital communication, there will undoubtedly be more investments in inclusive design in 2022 and beyond.
GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained Transformer 3)
GPT-3 is a generative AI (GAI) machine learning model that has been widely adopted in the software design community. It’s the successor to GPT-2, which OpenAI released in early 2019.
GPT- 3 is a pre-trained language model that can generate text. It uses a recurrent neural network (RNN) with attention and a variational autoencoder (VAE) to generate text.
The model is effective in generating realistic text, including software code. It could potentially revolutionize software design with 175 billion parameters and the ability to learn with virtually no human supervision. Its current use cases include generating software code, accelerating repetitive writing tasks such as writing online ads, and enabling human-like interactions in chatbots.
Also read: What is GPT-3 and Why Does it Matter?
Increased Use of a Software Bill of Materials (SBOM)
A software bill of materials, or SBOM, is a list of all software and software-dependent components used in the development or operation of a system. It manages licenses, tracks updates and patches, and ensures compatibility between software components.
An SBOM provides software companies with a complete picture of the software used in their software products and helps prevent software mishaps by ensuring all dependencies are accounted for.
SBOMs are becoming increasingly popular among software developers, especially in the context of open-source software. In 2022 and beyond, more software companies will adopt a standard format for SBOMs, such as CycloneDX, to improve software management and collaboration.
In addition, SBOMs are predicted to be a software development trend for 2022, given President Biden’s incorporation of SBOMs as part of the administration’s strategy to improve the nation’s cybersecurity in a recent Executive Order.
With more assets moving to the digital world amid the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks than ever before. The attack surface grows larger every day, and attacks have gotten more sophisticated and unpredictable, putting even greater pressure on CISOs and cloud providers to adopt the most secure security measures possible.
According to Gartner, 88% of security executives now see cybersecurity as a business risk (not simply a technological one)—up 30% in five years. This means businesses are reconsidering their approach to cybersecurity and are on the lookout for even more effective security measures.
To strengthen the cybersecurity mesh, modern enterprises increasingly rely on DevSecOps, which involves introducing security processes, tools, and methodologies throughout the software development life cycle. This helps ensure that software is developed securely and that vulnerabilities are caught and fixed early.
DevSecOps will likely continue to be an important trend in software development for 2022 as companies struggle to keep up with the ever-growing threat of cyberattacks.
The Future of Software Product Design
While it cannot be said for certain what the top software product design trends for 2022 are, it is likely that accelerated design automation, Web 3.0, MXDPs, inclusive design, GPT-3, and increased use of SBOMs will all play a prominent role in shaping the future of software product design. In addition, DevSecOps will continue to be an essential consideration for organizations looking to create safe and secure products.
These 2022 trends in software product design paint a picture of a dynamic software landscape where software products are designed to be more functional, accessible, and secure than ever before.
Read next: The Importance of Usability in Software Design