New UX design trends are emerging all over the place, and it’s that time of the year when we can gauge which ones will make the biggest impact in the new year.
It’s never too early to pop the champagne and start drawing up the new year’s resolutions for your business. More page views? More conversions? A brand new look for your digital product? All this and more are achievable by working these new UX design trends into your interface.
Our Top UX Design Trends for 2023
- Interaction Design
- 3D Graphics
- “Nostalgic” Design
- Smarter Chatbots
- Accessible Design
2022 Trend Review
Before we get too deep into what’s to come, let’s see how 2022’s UX trends fared.
In our blog last year, we predicted that dark mode, abstract data visualization, voice AI, personalized interfaces, and bold colors and fonts would reign supreme. We certainly used them a lot in our own UX designs this year.
We expect these trends to linger around for a while, especially with the influx of AI technology available to UX designers. In fact, we can see a lot of these being used in tandem with our favorite emerging trends.
1. Dark Mode
About 82% of smartphone users reported using dark mode in 2022, and several digital product designers took notice. This trend remains a favorite for many reasons — either to save battery life, focus on content, or purely for aesthetic purposes.
Users also heavily gravitated towards personalized experiences despite privacy concerns. 90% of consumers favored the idea of personalization, while 72% stated they ONLY engaged with personalized messaging this year.
The trick is to personalize interfaces and content meaningfully, building the interface around information the user willingly shares with you. This doesn’t mean you should present ads for products after a user mentions them in conversation or walks by a storefront (*cough* Facebook *cough*).
3. Voice AI
While only 47% of adults in the US use voice AI, that number is expected to grow by 2025. AI technology is rapidly refining and expanding into industries like business, manufacturing, healthcare, and even E-commerce. We expect to see voice AI incorporated into interfaces also utilizing CVT (computer vision technology) and ML (machine learning).
4. Bold Colors & Fonts
While no statistics prove that users prefer bold colors and fonts to more subdued ones, this study by Relevance shows that colored visuals increase the user’s willingness to read content by 80%.
When designers use color psychology to their advantage, they can create a singular brand experience that invites users in and gets them invested in their product. Read more about color psychology in our Brand Marketing blog!
5. Abstract Data Visualization
Same as the bold colors, there’s no conclusive evidence showing that users prefer abstract data visualizations to basic charts and graphs. However, the same study from Relevance shows that 65% of people are visual learners and that images drive engagement by 180%.
Since abstract data visualizations allow users to process information and understand the significance of data faster than text, they’re still a solid choice for any highly-visual UX design.
Our predicted UX trends proved their true value in 2022. But will these new UX design trends for 2023 dethrone them? Or will they join houses to create a harmonious user experience?
Top 8 UX Design Trends for 2023
New year, new you, new products! UX is always evolving, but some trends are a cut above the rest. These are the UX design trends we expect to see more of in 2023.
1. Virtual/Augmented Reality
If an oculus is on your holiday wishlist, now is the time to splurge! Virtual reality caught on in a big way in 2020 for…obvious reasons. Since then, it’s expanded beyond gaming and many companies have added VR experiences to their digital products.
From travel to fitness, there are plenty of ways to get creative with VR and AR. It gives the user an immersive sensory experience and makes them feel more involved with your business.
One of the best examples of VR utilization comes from National Geographic with their Explore VR. It perfectly suits their niche, as it’s an engaging educational experience for their loyal readers and travel enthusiasts alike.
Explore VR helped people satiate their travel bug during the pandemic while learning more about cultures around the world. National Geographic’s brand and the user’s goals perfectly intersected with this VR offering. Think about ways to enhance your brand experience using VR/AR this year.
Motion design is all the rage right now (we’ll get into that a little later), and it amps up one of the most rudimentary elements of your page. Instead of limiting the use of scrolling to content order, you can use simple animations to bring your interface’s navigation to life.
Scrolling allows you to present stories and content in a way that draws users in and gets them excited for what’s next. With animations, you can convince them that they’re seeing fresh content instead of mindlessly scrolling through the page.
Plus, a lively scrolling experience can call attention to the most important elements on the page. This allows designers to structure images, videos, and website copy in a way that tells a story and isn’t hyper-focused on the goals.
3. Interaction Design
In the most basic terms, interaction design is described as the interface interactions between users and digital products. Anything from the design itself to motion and sounds fall under the umbrella of interaction design.
It sounds broad — but in the last year or so, designers started honing in on what the user sees while interacting with the product. So it’s easy to see why UX and interaction design overlap so well because human interaction (with a mouse, finger, or stylus) is a huge part of the user experience.
Consider how the user interacts with your product (desktop, mobile, wearable device, etc), the physical objects they use in the interface (scroll, CTAs, images, or videos), and the appearance and timing of motion or sound feedback.
These considerations make your product more usable and goal-oriented.
4. 3D Graphics
Corporate 2D illustrations are nice enough to look at, they’re starting to feel a little stale. You can’t throw a stone on the internet without hitting a website that uses the same art style. Your product needs good visuals, but what do you do when images, videos, and 2d animations aren’t enough?
Advancements in coding and 3D animation software (like Spline, Maya, and Adobe 3D Animation) help designers create animations and elements that feel like they could jump right off the page. And with the growing trend of VR, the demand for 3D animation is going up.
You don’t have to be a Pixar-level 3D animator to incorporate this UX design trend into your interface. Like microinteractions, you can find subtle ways to use 3D graphics in your designs. Using things like soft shadows and overlays can make your digital product graphics feel much more dynamic.
5. "Nostalgic" Designs
Who doesn’t love a good throwback?
Going retro may feel like a risk since it’s harder to gain the user’s trust with a visibly outdated website. But when used correctly, vintage design elements can elicit some warm, fuzzy, nostalgic feelings from the user.
With so many art and design styles over the last century, there’s no shortage of inspiration to pull from. Pick one that suits your brand identity to make your design feel more grounded and purposeful.
Here’s an excellent example of nostalgic web design from Bathtub Gin. Everything from the name to the logo and art deco border design evokes prohibition-era vibes. It screams “Speakeasy,” which is exactly what they’re trying to promote.
Also, we’re nothing if not cool, trendy apes. If the kids want to bring back some Y2K aesthetics, lean into that. Just don’t make your website look like Myspace or an AOL chatroom.
6. Smarter Chatbots
Chatbots are an excellent tool that all businesses should use because they take a lot of pressure off customer service representatives and provide a more comfortable experience for the user.
With the advancements in AI and ML we mentioned earlier, chatbots are becoming more intuitive by learning from user interactions and becoming more conversational. This, in turn, leads to the user experience feeling more personalized and satisfying.
About 1.4 billion people use chatbots to ask questions or solve problems quickly, and that number will grow with this rising UX design trend. Take advantage of this user-friendly tool to handle common queries and simplify the user experience.
7. Accessible Design
Some things will never go out of style. Designing for accessibility is one of those things.
Designing with ADA compliance in mind has always been important for UX designers. Not just to avoid legal action — but to ensure that your product is usable for everyone in your audience, regardless of their abilities.
On the heels of a mass disabling event like the COVID pandemic and the incorporation of wearable technology in everyday life, designing for accessibility is more important now than ever. UX designers and developers should always be aware of the latest guidelines to keep their products compliant.
There are plenty of free resources online to read up about ADA compliance and Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. Familiarize yourself with the most recent version before you start designing.
8. Designing Mobile-First
We’re always on the go, and UX designers have taken notice. Many companies are starting to build their products mobile-first to accommodate our busy lifestyles.
This is slightly different from mobile-only apps. There’s usually an accompanying desktop version, but the design is built for someone that’s up and moving (instead of sitting in a big, comfy office chair) and probably only using their thumb to navigate the interface.
On top of making the product accessible in multiple scenarios, it also helps the overall design be more responsive. Plus, less code=less bugs — and less bugs=less time spent on website maintenance.
You would also think that a smaller canvas would mean less room for creativity, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. It actually allows you to streamline your content and present the brand’s story in a way that helps users accomplish their goals quicker (fostering a deeper connection between your brand and your user).
Which Trends Are You Most Excited For?
Taking in all these new trends can seem intimidating at first. But once you understand why users gravitate towards them and how they can benefit your product designs, they can really get the creative juices flowing.
Before 2022 turns into 2023, think about how to use these trends to give your product a facelift. How would your users respond to a VR experience for your language learning app? What about a Y2K throwback for your e-commerce brand? Or new 3D illustrations for your data entry product?
Both your brand and your digital product should be ever-evolving. Don’t risk a dated user experience...study up on these trends to keep your interface as fresh and exciting as when it launched.
Does your digital product need a new look for 2023? Start a project with us today!