The minimalist movement has garnered huge traction in the real world, and it could also start leading to changes in the digital environment.

Research released by Accenture shows the explosion of digital clutter over the past two decades is facing a backlash from online users who feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of information being served at them.

"Digital is facing a big spring cleaning: a time when we decide whether something still has value and relevance to our lives," said Ben Morgan, Accenture Interactive Lead for New Zealand.

"In their attempt to declutter, people are being more selective about which products and services they incorporate into their daily lives, choosing to disconnect, unsubscribe or opt-out if the value exchange is not mutual."

Advertisement

Morgan's comments come off the back of Accenture's Fjord Trends 2019, the 12th annual report of its kind, which has outlined seven major trends to impact the digital world this year.

1. Silence is Gold

Consumers are increasingly finding ways to disconnect. In fact, it's become a mental health issue, with a growing body of research showing that's it's better not to be tied to a screen all day long. In this world, businesses will face the challenge of connecting with consumers without assaulting their senses.

Morgan says that businesses will have to focus on more than just becoming as big as possible.

"Winners in 2019 will be those organisations that provide a sense of value and relevance not only to individuals, but also to the world," he says.

"Value creation will not come from simply growing bigger, but by being better."

2. The Last Straw?

Being better will also apply to the impact of the business on the world.

Fjord's second major trend points to the growing expectation that people expect products and services to have built-in sustainability, or they'll reject those that don't.

One need only look at last year's criticism at the environmental impact of bitcoin mining and processing to understand that sustainability concerns also apply to digital businesses.

Advertisement

3. Data Minimalism

There are growing tensions between technology platforms and the people that use them. People are tired of having their data breached, sold to third parties and used for targeted advertising. The movement against data gained momentum in 2018 and this is only set to continue this year. Could transparency be the key to bridging this gap?

4. Ahead of the Curb

From electric scooters to drones, urban mobility has turned cities into free-for-alls.

Drones have been a controversial introduction to Kiwi airspace. Photo/Getty Images.
Drones have been a controversial introduction to Kiwi airspace. Photo/Getty Images.

The continuous debates about the safety of scooters and the legality of drones occupying airspace shows that people are starting to call for a return to order - or at least some clear rules on how these devices should exist in the urban environment.

5. The Inclusivity Paradox

2018 was a wake-up call to listen to a variety of voices. One need only look at the moves by Nike to understand how important major brands view this as integral part of their businesses. But it doesn't come without its risks. How do we design for all without inadvertently excluding others? These are challenges that companies will have to navigate as they vie for relevance in a fragmented world defined by filter bubbles.

6. Space Odyssey

Work and retail spaces need a makeover. It's time to rethink our approaches and tools for designing spaces. The open-plan office has long been the bane of workers around the world, and many workers also now opt to work from home. So what will the workplace of 2019 look like, and how will workers adapt to it?

7. Synthetic Realities

We live in a new world in which reality is crafted and synthetic. With face-swapping and voice simulation creating more believable synthetic realities, companies must work out how to capitalise on it — and manage risk, while also ensuring that they don't alienate their customers.