What we're predicting for 2023: UX/UI

New year, new UX trends. As 2022 came to a close, it was evident that digital had become more inclusive and accessible than ever, a surge of customisable interfaces offering both 'dark' and 'light modes' dominated our screens. We also began to dip our toes into new innovative technologies - enter the Metaverse.

Whilst all of this will carry over to 2023 and beyond, we believe we will see alot of plays to include richer, intended content and a focus on actionable designs. So let's get into it and take a look at our predictions for the hottest UX/UI trends in 2023.

  1. Convenient Design (UX)
  2. UX Writing & Storytelling (UX)
  3. Digital Health Checks (UX)
  4. Brutalism (Visual Design)
  5. Gradients (Visual Design)
  6. Immersive Experiences (Motion & Interactivity)
  7. VR & AR (Motion & Interactivity)

1. Convenient Design

There are examples everywhere of how digital experiences are selling convenience. From being able to instantaneously translate words and phrases in front of you to restaurant bookings and splitting bills. This is an innovation that saves us time and effort. Convenience puts the value of time in the spotlight. It's less time talking to customer support and more time away from digital interfaces. Today, people are convenience driven because time is valuable and limited. With the ripple of COVID-19 further fast-tracking the digital generation our needs are being refocused on what really matters, like taking the time to connect with people. Will convenience be greater than delight? or will they be delighted by the convenience?

Possible ideas for an activities filter and list from a recent Crazy 8s session

2. UX Writing & Storytelling

By far one of the most important trends to come out of 2022 and see itself into 2023 is UX writing! UX writing is moving away from simple call to action button labels and toward more complex, conversational ways of interacting with users. Think conversational AI, voice assistants, microcopy and storytelling. All trends in their own right but as we navigate into a more action-oriented realm of digital design we need to start thinking about UX writing holistically as it's a key player in the end-to-end design process.

When we talk about storytelling you might think it's just about the words you read, but when it comes to UX Design storytelling you need to look at the overall picture - the page narrative, page structure, navigation, CTAs and copy. When a user is scrolling through a page are you engaging them at every touchpoint?

We know 'Storytelling' isn't new and has been knocking around in recent years but we're backing into 2023. Don't take our word for it, consuming a basic story structure is how our brains best process information... you can't ignore science.

3. Digital Health Checks & Wellness

Want to really impress your visitors this year? Design with digital wellbeing in mind. Reduce the endless scroll, cut out the noise and avoid information overload. Really consider the information your user needs. With inclusive and accessible design as the catalyst in 2022, digital wellbeing is the event in 2023.

There is no denying how embedded interfaces are in the world today, the important roles they are playing and the connections they provide. However, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to ignore the 'What are the negative impacts?' conversation. A practice becoming a standard is the regular analysis of performance and metrics, we're imagining an industry where user wellness will be a key player in our digital health checks and are envisioning digital wellness workshops becoming a staple in design methodology.

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs https://www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html

4. Brutalism

When applied to digital design brutalism gives a nod to interfaces from the 1990s. A style that's intention is to look unfinished and focus on function over form. This visual method will be perfect for sites that are eager to break the norm, stand out from their competitors and leave a lasting impression. Brutalism is going to be an experimental playground for designers and whilst uncomfortable for some we predict we'll be seeing a lot more of this style used in websites and apps due to its emphasis on simplicity and usability.

Want a deeper dive into how this style originated? You can read this flashforward from leaders at the Neilson Norman group Brutalism and Antidesign providing insight into what this visual style means for your UX, why Brutalism is perfect for most visuals and why Antidesign is not.

5. Gradients

Those beautiful transitional colours that became fashionable in 2015 are giving us all the feels once again in 2023. Previously losing their status in the visual world to the influx of flat design, gradients are back to demand the spotlight and this time they'll be taking an even deeper dive into the depths of our interfaces. We predict gradients will play a pivotal role in storytelling and emotionally engaging users by providing an element of energy and dynamism. But don't just take our word for it, our favourite tech giants can be seen applying gradients in a magnitude of ways, see how Spotify Contact Us has subtly created a focal point on the page whilst Meta.com are consistent with gradients in their promotional imagery. Want to inject some life into your user interfaces? Here are 100 free gradients, thank us later.

6. Immersive Experiences

An older design trend that we're picking up the shelf and dusting off is parallax scrolling. Why did it fade away in the first place you might wonder? With any fancy new trend, there is overuse and poor execution and not to mention the fact it wasn't always available on mobile devices. Well, thanks to the advances in Javascript and CSS features, the ability to design immersive experiences that are seamlessly integrated and non-jarring has become easier than ever! We predict in 2023 designers will be more strategic with how they are visually presenting content, with a focus on narrative-centred design, jaw-dropping videos, animation, parallax and other interactive effects being utilised for some awesome storytelling.

7. VR & AR

If we saw low-key flashforwards to the metaverse last time around, this year will provide the opposite. We're heading full steam ahead into the realm of augmented and virtual reality. These technologies have been on the verge of revolutionising the digital world as we know it for some time, our predictions say companies will be looking to grab this bull by the horns and catapult their business into the next iteration of the internet.

So what do you think, did you enjoy, agree or disagree with our UX predictions for 2023 and are you as excited as we are to put these trends into action?

At Switch we are always looking to embed new processes into our methodologies and are mindful that not all trends and technologies are created equal. Our rigorous design discovery processes guarantee that the solutions we provide are tailored to meet your organisation's unique needs. So get in touch today to find out how we can successfully transform your organisation through the power of UX Design!

— Deanna Grindrod

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