Why products as we know them will more than likely disappear in the next ten years, and give way to the rise of micro-services.


In the not-too-distant future, there will more than likely come a time when products as we know them today will disappear forever.

This is not to say that products themselves will cease to exist, but the definition of what a product is or does will have to fundamentally change to accommodate shifting market conditions.

Today, we’ll cover why products as we know them will more than likely disappear in the next ten years, and give way to the rise of micro-services.

We’re drowning in products

The first and foremost problem that we face as UI/UX and product designers is that the world is already drowning in products, both physical and digital, all of which are vying for user attention.

Close your eyes, toss a rock, and 9/10 times you’ll hit a product or service that “does” what you’re looking to do.

The trouble isn’t with products specifically, it’s with the economics and market conditions that are impelling these products in the first place.

Most “competing” products are exactly the same

Let’s face it, most products that do anything anymore coexist within a domain that has been ABSOLUTELY SATURATED by products/services that do more or less the exact same thing.

And the list goes on, and on, and on, off towards the digital horizon.

There’s only so many ways to compete

Taking a step back for a second, there are also only so many ways that your product can compete on the open market. We’ve covered these at length in the past, but we’ll hit them here again for emphasis:

That’s it.

At the end of the day, those are the three and ONLY three things that you can compete on. Everything else falls under those umbrellas.

You see where I’m going with this; there are ONLY so many ways you can compete!

Which begs the question: what happens when all of these niches have been more or less filled to the point where there’s not really enough room to compete in the same domain with any form of economic viability?

Answer: you get where we are now.

A boatload of products that do basically the exact same thing while desperately attempting to compete for the last bastions of consumer liquidity.

Digital products are on their way out

With all of this in mind, it’s small wonder that most users, when directly questioned or observed, are sick of the app-soup that they’re constantly pelted with now.

“I don’t want to make an account for everything! Stop asking!”

“Think about how fragmented the user experience is, with all apps having different designs, features, limitations, and users.”

“After reviewing my productivity processes today I noticed that the many apps I use on a day-to-day basis each have their own strength but don’t compliment each other.”

“Needing to sign up for accounts for everything nowadays is ridiculous.”

“I just want to buy a tshirt. I have no desire to subscribe to your site. While we’re at it, f*** your app.”

“Oh yeah, a special “F*** you” to all the companies that try to use their app as a substitute for a website.

Expecting people to waste space and resources on their phone, to install, “sign up” & give unreasonable level of “permissions” to their app, that just offers basic functions that SHOULD be available on their website.”

These are real quotes.

As designers, we can’t ignore the rising tide of users who are sick of dealing with products and platforms that force users to put in more effort than necessary to deliver results.

This will ultimately trigger the downfall of apps and what will happen next.

The rise of micro-services

The next incarnation of applications that will serve users will look somewhat different to the products that we have now.

Amazon Micro-service Concept, it knows what you like, and it knows what you’ll buy.

Instead of full-blown experiences with multiple screens, options, etc. they will more than likely take the form of data-driven applets which leverage machine learning to get users where they want to go as quickly and efficiently as possible.

They will feature stripped-down UI’s, minimal points of interaction, and the smallest level of user intervention required to create a viable transaction.

A user will open an applet, a temporary widget, or use their voice to find one, it will launch, present the user with what they’re looking for, and ask them to confirm the transaction.

After that, the order will be placed, and the service will deliver the outcomes as-promised, no hassle, no haggle, no accounts, no B.S., just exactly what was ordered.

Don’t make me think again

We revisit an old classic in the UX world “Don’t Make Me Think” we advises us that the greatest method of creating a great user experience is to prevent the user from having to think while getting towards their desired outcomes.

Push the button, get the thing. That is the essence of modern UX as applied to products.

So it would make sense that we’re headed away from products themselves towards outcomes, as brands and platforms fade into the background of our lives; no different than the trees which supply vital oxygen or the animals that pollinate our crops.

These products and services will give way to micro-services which, ever-microing, will allow users to get exactly what they need and want, whenever they want it, with minimal intervention.

Would users be willing to pay a premium for silence in a world full of noise? Of course. Just look at any ad-supported freemium service like YouTube.

This is the eventuality that I’m talking about. Less noise, more signal.

SSO will become the accepted, and expected norm

Users will have one account, and they will be happy about it. Gone will be the days of memorizing hundreds of passwords or relying on solutions like LastPass.

We will live in a world of biometrics, 2FA, and AI-driven identification which will span across every facet of our day-to-day lives.

Your account in one place will be your account everywhere, as the power of data and user information consolidates within large-scale organizations and over-arching service providers.

In this new environment of unfettered access to user data for a small fee, products will die, and micro-services will flourish. Companies won’t have databases, because they won’t need them. Everything is stored as a property of the user within their master account, and data-breaches will become less and less prevalent as this data becomes more and more consolidated.

Applets will be the name of the game

Everything will be an applet. Everything you could ever need or want will come pre-installed from the largest carriers and the biggest businesses and disruption will be met with acquisition or integration via micro-service.

You won’t “open” an applet, it runs on your screen or in your viewport like a widget. It will take up only as much space as necessary, and it will automatically close when you’re done with it.

All interactions will be disposable, all experiences will be shortened to create an environment that is the most conducive to one thing: delivering outcomes, and executing transactions.

Micro-services as a paradigm

All of this, by the way, I say because micro-services will almost certainly not just become a normal pattern, but the accepted paradigm for businesses entering the market moving forward.

Why would a user download your app to give you the information to push the buttons to get the thing, when they could just pop open a widget and get the thing instead?

Nearly every new business or startup will be in the business of delivering results through micro-services.

And this will open up a world of possibilities

Just like Amazon’s Press-to-Order dash buttons, these micro-services will behave in much the same way.

→ Why use an app when you can press a button and have it done?

→ Why waste time telling it what you want when it already knows?

→ Why do more when you can get the same results, or better, for less?

This is what micro-services will be about, and they will leverage user profiles created through large-scale SSO and machine-learning to create experiences that legitimately feel like magic.

→ Nearly 100% full abstraction from the problem to the point where the average user will no longer think about the interaction, they’ll just do it.

Why grocery shop when you can have healthy, hot meals served wherever you are in less than 30 minutes? You probably wouldn’t even need a kitchen…

And down the rabbit hole we go.

So what does this all mean for you?

Crucially the changes that I’m talking about here probably won’t take place for at least another 5–10 years, but I stress them now because they’re on the way.

PWAs and app previews are becoming the norm in a world where users are frustrated by too many apps, too many interactions, too many accounts, too many prerequisites, and not enough desired results.

This will ultimately culminate in a large-scale shift towards micro-services, which will gain heavy traction with Gen Alpha, as they are exposed at a young age to the metaverse, AR/VR/MR and XR.

All-digital relationships will more than likely become the norm, as will 100% AI-driven virtual assistants/companions, so we’ll need to design for that and make room for heavy SSO in whatever we’re designing.

Most importantly, what it means is that there is a high likelihood that products as we know them today will be gone in the next 5–10 years, and as always with this swiftly changing industry, we must be ready for whatever the next decade throws at us.

Source:UI/UX Design: The End of “Products” | by Nick Lawrence | Sep, 2022 | UX Planet