Recent years have shown that an attractive, modern design is a must-have for every web & mobile application, and in 2023 it will still be relevant. The trends that will dominate next year will mostly be an evolution of what we have observed so far. Of course, smartphones and web applications are still of key importance, but the group of users of wearables or smart TV is growing. AR & VR are also gaining popularity. Social factors are becoming more and more important for many users, too. How will this affect software design?
Another year is approaching fast, and with it come new trends. Design 2023, in the case of applications, is primarily set to be aesthetic and legible. UX consistency (in terms of visual, functional, internal & external aspects) is of the utmost importance, especially for applications that are designed to run on every platform, even on several devices at the same time (like Spotify).
Personalization is still a paramount factor, a great example of which are smartwatch dials or smartphone themes, the elements of which you can customize to your requirements. However, many users prefer the intuitive interface over other factors. The resultant of the requirements of these two groups will be a pursuit of simplifying operations while maintaining visual attractiveness.
More and more often, app design reflects relevant social factors, and in 2023 this trend will only strengthen. It’s mostly about inclusivity. This broad term covers a range of factors and issues that the industry has faced in the past, from incorrect complexion recognition in camera apps to shortcomings in user experience for the visually impaired. Users are also paying more and more attention to ecology. Designers can therefore encourage their customers to incorporate ecological and socially conscious elements, such as friendly animations or pro-environmental notifications, into websites and applications.
What visual trends will dominate in 2023?
A corporate visual identity has undergone significant changes in recent years, especially in the case of global brands. They are striving to simplify, flatten and vectorize their logos in such a way that they are always displayed the same on every device. Their example is also followed by smaller companies, which are increasingly approached by customers tired of large corporations. This is largely due to a different perception of branding than a few years ago. More and more often it is crucial who is behind a given brand and what it represents, how the company relates to problems in the world and what language it uses in its messages.
Striving for consistency of the image and building a positive perception of the brand translates into a trend of simplifying the visual side, which also affects how mobile applications and websites are designed. Fancy shapes are becoming less popular while geometric compositions are more and more favoured. Designers are increasingly opting for eye-friendly, bright colours of interface elements, branding, and even images placed in the message. However, there are two exceptions to these colour trends. The first is bold colours, which help highlight essential interface elements.
Another trend largely related to how the increasingly widespread OLED screens work is the well-liked and ever-popular night mode. In this case, the colours are reversed – with a dark background and bright fonts, icons and other interface elements. This way, the emission of eye-disturbing blue light and the energy consumption of the screen are significantly reduced. In addition to improving the comfort of spending many hours in front of the screen, many users also simply appreciate the intriguing appearance of the dark mode interface.
Hardware development opens up new possibilities for designers in other aspects as well. A good example is animated graphics, which used to be a visual effect heavily burdening the Internet connection – but due to the rapid development of the 5G network in 2023, they will no longer be a significant problem (even as 3D graphics). This will allow designers to use eye-catching 3D animations in the interfaces, which will complement clean, geometric shapes in an intriguing way, highlighting the key design elements. It also gives you the opportunity to create a visually satisfying design for scrolling lists or moving between application windows.
An important trend in 2023 will, of course, also be inclusive design. It extends beyond interface-related issues to include brand communication and visuals on websites. In this case, a lot of emphasis is placed on showing people from all cultures, backgrounds, and minorities. It is also important to emphasize their diversity in terms of age, economic situation, location, language, race, sexual orientation or special needs, as well as the ability to indicate relevant information in the user’s bio (e.g. in social media app profiles).
The interface of the global application should also be equally easy to use and visually appealing for every user so as not to create accessibility barriers. The inclusive design also takes into account the special needs of people with disabilities through the use of visual solutions and features to facilitate operation by users affected by speech disability, visually impaired or deaf.
The most important UX design trends of 2023
The Apple ecosystem is a great example of the evolution of UX trends. 2023 will be another year in which manufacturers follow the path set by the Cupertino giant. This can be seen in the simple but aesthetically appealing style of the devices and interfaces, as well as in the extremely intuitive solutions that benefit from the synergy between hardware and software. A great example is the dynamic island from the new iPhones, which delighted users, prompting competitors to quickly copy this intriguing interface element.
Giant brands are also examples of how important ecological design has become. This includes the hardware layer – from removing unnecessary components in the box to using recycled materials. I bought a laptop recently, which was packed in a brown cardboard, non-varnished box. In my opinion, it’s the direction that every company will be heading.
However, eco-design is also significantly reflected in the architecture of the interface. Pro-environmental notifications, friendly animations or elements referring to nature promote sustainable development among users and motivate them to ecological behaviour.
It is worth mentioning Apple and Google regarding voice-controlled devices. With 2023 approaching, this solution is still evolving, working ever better and offering an increasing number of functions. Conversational experience design remains associated primarily with assistants (Siri, Google Assistant), but it is increasingly being implemented in other devices connected to the management system. Therefore, in 2023, wearable devices will be able to send commands that will then be executed by the elements of the smart home system.
This omnipresence of electronics, which takes up more and more time and space in human life, nevertheless often results in a certain amount of satiety. Therefore, in 2023, monitoring the activity of a computer or smartphone user will be an increasingly important issue. This feature is already being commonly built into operating systems and significantly helps you supervise your own behaviour, e.g., by limiting the time spent mindlessly scrolling through social media, by notifications about exceeding the assumed working time, or by counting how long an application has been used. Control of working time on a computer and smartphone allows you to develop healthier device use habits and maintain balance in daily life.
The use of modern solutions in the field of devices and applications significantly impacts the company’s branding. Therefore, they are increasingly signalling a desire to mark their presence in blooming virtual worlds such as the Metaverse, which in 2023 have a huge chance to attract more and more users. This is a huge room for development in the field of virtual and augmented reality (AR). New technologies will allow users not only to participate in product presentations via the digital world but also to view from all sides and try out a new product.
Hence, e-commerce applications in 2023 can be expected to offer the possibility of integration with VR and AR technologies. Thanks to that, a customer will be able to check how a new sofa from a store will fit in his living room or how they will look in new clothes. This technology can be used by real estate agents – offering a virtual walk around a future house or housing estate, or construction shops – showing how a new colour will look on the walls of the apartment. As the research shows, the vast majority of customers will be happy to use this type of technology and believe that VR and AR will hugely change their shopping experience. These high hopes are reflected in virtual showrooms, art exhibitions and digital product models.
The main design trends in 2023 – a summary
The most important trends of 2023 in the design of interfaces and their visual elements seem to be a natural consequence of changes in social life that we have been observing for several years, as well as new hardware solutions emerging. More and more efficient processors and excellent-quality screens make it possible to imagine how visual trends will develop in the near future. The design will mostly follow the example that Apple, Samsung, and other tech giants set – with clean, geometric shapes and bright colours. On the other hand, mobile apps and websites are also more and more often offering an eye-friendly dark mode, which retains the basic tenets of clarity and aesthetics of the interface.
It is worth noting how new programming technologies will affect the design of websites and applications. Foremost, one needs to mention HTML5. The design of the interface can be shaped almost freely, using smooth, eye-pleasing animations (also 3D), transparency, etc., thanks to this standard. It is also a good way to integrate virtual and augmented reality solutions into the interface or embedded elements.
Sustainable development has been steadily gaining importance for several years. Customers are more likely to use products from companies that care about the environment by reducing their carbon footprint and using green materials. At the beginning of 2023, the issues of inclusiveness and accessibility of digital products are also becoming increasingly important. Users expect websites or applications to reflect diversity and not to create unnecessary cultural barriers. It can be expected that in 2023 these trends will significantly influence the decisions of designers and, thus, also the experience of using devices and applications.
She's a UX/UI designer driven by curiosity. She discovered her passion for experience design during her work in marketing. She likes observing people and finding out what engages them. Patrycja loves discovering user problems and addressing them with mindful design.
She constantly explores new ideas. That fuels me to provide TeaCode's clients with top-notch app design solutions that amaze end-users. She works hand in hand with marketers and developers to ensure end-users will be delighted with the app we're developing.