What will a website feel like in 2023? In this roundup, We’re going to show you 8 trends we think will dominate web and UX design in the year to come.
As web designers and UX designers we want visitors to feel comfortable, satisfied, and safe online. We strive for clear communication, error reduction, and empathetic responses. At the same time, of course, we want to delight our users and stay on trend. Observing trends gives us a strong indication of what’s popular, and what’s working on the web.
Here are 8 ways we can expect web design trends to play out next year!
8 Web Design Trends and Predictions for 2023
1. Web3 Design
Okay, we’re going to start off with a big one, because it potentially impacts all the others.
Web3 (or Web 3.0) has become a broadly accepted term for the vision of a new, better internet; the logical next step beyond Web 2.0.
Web3 is all about decentralisation, blockchain, machine learning, and community. It takes back ownership from what many see as an internet run by a handful of private companies.
Some say that, whilst the third generation of the World Wide Web is still in its conceptual stage, it’s likely to be the biggest thing to hit web design in 2023. Its democratic approach to content will open up new ways for creatives of all kinds to share their work—NFTs being one high-profile example.
But what does this mean in terms of design aesthetics? Think bold and confident typography, colorful gradients, 3D elements, and futuristic space themes. Beyond that, get used to thinking about multiple kinds of devices—hand, eye, and voice inputs—VR, the Metaverse, total accessibility.
Whilst Web3 picks up speed, and as more brands aim to become more inclusive, we’ll also see websites become more accessible. Accessibility ensures that everyone can accomplish the same tasks, so it’s only natural that a democratic web and accessibility go hand in hand.
2. Price Consciousness
It doesn’t matter where you live right now. Unless you’re Elon Musk, you’re probably concerned about what the economy is doing to your finances. This isn’t something brands are going to be able to ignore as they start crafting their messaging for the coming year.
Many brands have already begun to focus their messaging and design around the price tag. Take a company like Target whose motto is “Expect More. Pay Less.”
Here’s what the home page of the Target website looks like at the moment.
Sale-related messaging, discounts, and pricing, are much more prominently designed than they were this time last year.
This is a clear example of how larger events that affect consumers as a whole (instead of the smaller segment of users a brand might usually target) should also inform the way a website is designed.
3. Minimalist Designs
The trend towards minimalism is likely to continue in 2023. More and more websites are adopting clean, streamlined designs that are uncluttered and easy on the eye.
This trend is being driven by two factors. First, users have become increasingly accustomed to minimalist designs thanks to the popularity of mobile apps. And second, businesses are seeing that reduced distraction can be extremely effective in terms of conversion rates.
However, when designing for minimalism it’s important that doing so doesn’t come at the expense of character and personality. Stripping away all details and sense of craft isn’t effective design!
4. Employee Appreciation
We talked about price consciousness earlier, and another UX trend we’ll see as a result of the current economic climate is websites spending more time on employee appreciation.
There’s a good example of this currently at the top of the McDonald’s home page. It’s a section that calls on customers to “celebrate restaurant crew and managers”, as part of their “Thank You Crew“ initiative.
While showing off team members is nice and all, it often feels like it’s just another way for a brand to say, “Look how awesome we are!”. One of the reasons why employees leave a job (or don’t take one in the first place) is because they feel unappreciated — and that goes just as much for their employer as it does the people they serve.
This is why I think we’re going to see more websites inviting customers to share their appreciation and support for employees.
5. Holographic Designs
Holographic web design has been growing in popularity in recent years, and this is again something perhaps influenced by the rise of Web3. This type of design involves using bright, striking, holographic elements to create a three-dimensional effect on the user’s screen. This can be done by adding holographic images or videos to a website, or by using 3D effects.
Holographic design leads to naturally immersive experiences for the user; very effective in marketing or storytelling contexts.
It can also be used to add visual interest and excitement to a website. However, it is important to use this type of design sparingly, as too much can be overwhelming and distracting, making focus difficult!
6. Proactive Microinteractions
Microinteractions are nothing new in web design, but they are extremely helpful in making a website experience complete. Not only do they help reduce the number of errors that visitors make, but they make a website feel more friendly, responsive, and alive.
We spoke about minimalism sometimes being wrongly interpreted as stripping a website of all details. Well attention to those details can lift an ordinary website, making it exceptional.
Let’s use the example of the Zillow home page search bar. What sort of microinteractions might users expect here? For starters, the search bar changes in appearance when active or hovered over.
It responds immediately to user input, displaying results that match the user’s inputted text.
And look at the delightful way the speedtest.net GO button morphs into the speed dial itself.
Expect many more of these kinds of microinteractions in 2023.
7. AR/VR Shopping Support
Augmented and virtual realities are slowly picking up speed in the world of ecommerce. We expect to see much more of it in 2023.
One reason is because of what AR and VR shopping tools can do to boost customer confidence in their purchases. For example, the Home Depot website has a tool called “See This in My Room”.
Customers can either upload a photo from their own home or use one of Home Depot’s sample images. This allows them to see the product within the space before ever buying it.
Shopify have been blazing the trail, offering AR tools for online store owners for a while now.
According to marketingdive.com, AR increases the conversion rate of online purchases by almost 30%.
8. Data Visualization for Users
Companies gather tons of data on their users and products. This data is useful for a number of reasons — setting metrics and evaluating KPIs, adjusting business processes, improving products, and so on.
In some cases, it can be useful to share this data with the brand’s audience. You see this a lot with software companies that want to demonstrate how extensive their reach is in the market as well as how their product has helped change the lives of their users.
When we see this kind of data presented on a website, these numbers aren’t usually buried in a paragraph of text. Instead what we see are beautifully designed — and often animated and interactive — data visualizations. You can see a number of examples of this on the Akamai Internet Station page:
This isn’t really new in terms of web design, but let’s again consider users taking ownership of Web3. What we haven’t yet seen much of (and what I believe will change in the coming year) is in how consumers’ own data within a website or app is presented.
Right now, many digital products give users access to data related to their account — like rewards accrued, in-app activity and trends, etc. The data is valuable, but only if the users know where to find it and how to read it.
We’re living in a unique time—the cusp of something potentially world-changing. As such, our websites need to be prepared to deliver experiences that keep up with the changing pace and conditions of the world.
While we often focus on researching the specific subsets of target users for a brand in web design, it’s just as important to consider the needs, expectations, and concerns of users as a whole. That’s what these web and UX design trends will allow designers to do in the coming year!