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User experience (UX) design is the most challenging aspect of the customer experience to master, and marketing and e-commerce professionals from around the world have lost some confidence in their UX design ability. That’s according to the latest Digital Trends report [download page] from Econsultancy and Adobe.

The study is based on a survey of almost 12,800 digital marketing and e-commerce professionals from the client-side (60%) and supply-side (40%), with respondents hailing primarily from Europe (44%), followed by Asia (21%), North America (16%) and other regions.

Client-side (company) marketers surveyed for the report are far less confident in their UX design than their culture and skills, per the report.

In fact, just half agreed that they have well-designed user journeys that facilitate clear communication and a seamless transaction (“UX design”), down from 54% last year .

By contrast, roughly three-quarters agree that they have a cross-team approach with the customer at the heart of all initiatives (“Culture”) and that they are combining digital marketing skills with technology (“Skills”).

Challenges with UX design have been a persistent problem for marketers. For example, a study released 5 years ago found that user experience (UX) was the area in which agencies felt that clients had the biggest talent gap.

These challenges seem not to have abated over time. In this latest study, more company marketers in North America ranked UX design (43%) as difficult to master than data (41%) and technology (41%). UX design was also ranked the most challenging element of the customer experience to master by company marketers in the Asia-Pacific region, and was second only to data access and control for those in Europe.

The good news is that many marketers will be tackling this problem. The majority of respondents are planning to invest in digital skills and education this year, including 84% of top-performing companies. Moreover, customer journey management will be one of the top digital-related priorities for these organizations this year.

It remains to be seen what impact these plans will have on UX proficiency.

About the Data: Respondents came from a mix of company sizes, job titles and roles. They were fairly evenly split between B2C (33%), B2B (31%) and equal B2B and B2C (36%) companies.

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