App development is an ever-changing field. It evolves with the increase in the demand for better IT-based products, and to survive, app developers and UX/UI designers must deliver and stay on top of the latest trends year after year.
Most of us still remember the old days when the latest technological advancement was dial-up internet, and mobile phones were a distant luxury only a handful of people could afford. Who would’ve thought only a couple of decades later, the internet would be inherently linked to everything? Would you have pictured that mobile phones would not only be so technologically evolved to fit in your pockets but that they would also become a prerequisite for successful living? Not likely. But that’s how technology works. It evolves at neck-breaking speeds and delivers IT-based products that always top themselves and transform how we operate as humans and how business models work, both of which now rely heavily on mobile apps and websites. Consequently, we have developed a taste for fast, innovative, and beautiful It-based products that do what they do fast and efficiently, putting more pressure on the app development industry and increasing the demand for stellar applications. And now, nearly 30 years after the first smartphone became commercially available, the only way to keep up with such a demand is for modern app developers to stay on top of the latest trends and advancements, especially when it comes to design. So, with that in mind, today, we’ll be discussing the top UX/UI design trends for 2023.
Just as the technological aspects of any application evolve year after year, UX/UI design also advances as the market expands, users’ needs change, and the prevailing trends transform. So, for 2023, we at Foonkie Monkey wanted to highlight those trends that will bring change to UX/UI design practices worldwide so you can start implementing them into your development practices and deliver products that will remain relevant for this and many years to come. So, let’s get down to business!
Why is understanding UX/UI design trends significant?
2023 has just begun, and since late 2022 we’ve been witnessing the trends that will define how this year’s UX/UI design will evolve. For one, up until October 2022, there were about 97,000 apps released monthly through the Google Play Store. That’s, on average, more than one million apps released every year! So, to say that the app development industry is highly competitive would be an understatement. Out of those millions of apps, some have outstanding design elements that make them unique and help them stand out, others are developed with average-looking graphics, and many others, well… don’t stand out as much. At any rate, the way they look, perform, and add value to users’ lives are some of the critical elements that help them survive in the ever-growing sea of technology-based products. In fact, about 75% of users decide if a site is credible based on how it looks. If they don’t like what they see and find the website’s user experience faulty and complicated, they’ll leave the site or uninstall the app and look elsewhere. More importantly, though, most users make this decision in less than 4 seconds, meaning you have very little time to make a meaningful impression. And what’s worse, even if you manage to implement an exceptional UX/UI design strategy and amass a significant following, one simple bad UX instance can ruin your reputation. One survey shows that about 32% of users will abandon an app they love, even if they have only one bad experience. So, it’s crucial you not only enforce a robust UX/UI design game plan but also be on the lookout for bugs and mistakes that can negatively impact your product.
But it’s not all bad news. Alternatively, implementing a well-crafted user interface design could potentially raise your product’s conversion rate by as much as 200%, while having a robust user experience design could bring your application’s conversion rates up to a whopping 400%! Moreover, UX/UI design is more than just good for your users; it is suitable for your business. Giving your users the best possible user experience and implementing a wholesome user interface design can result in a return of $100 for every $1 invested, representing an ROI of 9,900%. And, if your users like what they see and have a positive experience using your product, around 23% of them are likely to tell ten or more of their friends about it, increasing your app’s reach, boosting your retention rates, and improving your product’s profitability. Needless to say, good UX/UI design truly is a win-win.
Nonetheless, all these benefits of UX/UI design are only possible if you and your designers stay on top of the latest trends. An innovative and attractive website or mobile app design must be dynamic; it has to change, not only with user feedback but alongside the latest trends and technologies that arrive on the market every year. For instance, colossal flash menus, static image buttons, and intrusive pop-up animations were all-the-rage several years ago. However, they’re considered archaic by today’s design standards, which have evolved to adopt more seamless and smooth elements that increase the quality of the user experience and help developers ship more innovative, beautiful, and dynamic applications. Alternatively, you’ll only hurt your product’s chances for adoption if you keep using the same outdated elements year after year, and herein lies the importance of understanding UX/UI design trends. But what are the top UX/UI design trends for 2023? How can they help improve UX/UI design? Let’s find out.
What are the top UX/UI design trends for 2023?
We’ve all judged an app by the way it looks. We do it now, and we did it 20 years ago. However, the standards have changed, and designers have learned to use trends to shape how their products meet users’ needs. But trends are not just about understanding what’s happening now. Trends help us shape and delineate drafts of what the future might bring. Understanding them is essential to develop products that are synchronized with the present, the future, and constantly changing user expectations. So, on that note, here are the top UX/UI trends for 2023.
Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) were both runner-ups as two of the most promising technologies for UX/UI design and app development in general in 2022. They have been favorites for a couple of years now. While we still didn’t see the mass adoption we were hoping for this past year, we did see both technologies shoot up in demand and popularity, which makes us think it’s a pretty safe bet to expect that both AR and VR will become staples for UX/UI designers this year. Of course, their widespread adoption depends on how the market behaves this year, but with both technologies closing 2022 with a market value of over $30 billion, it seems 2023 will be the year when AR/VR will triumph.
AR is a tool that enables real-world scenes to be augmented with computer-generated sound and graphics to create unique gaming, social media, e-commerce, educational, and even healthcare, pharmaceutical, and medical experiences. On the other hand, VR is a computer-generated simulation of a real-life environment. Both technologies merge to create one-of-a-kind opportunities for developers and UX/UI designers to create immersive experiences and virtual interactions that successfully mimic real life, which users love. In fact, a study by Shopify showed that brands that used AR in their products experienced conversion rates of around 250%! And retail isn’t the only industry reaping the benefits of AR/VR. For instance, UX/UI designers are already using AR/VR to create virtual fashion shows, life-like avatars, AR-powered real estate shopping, interior designing, virtual medical procedures, and even AR business cards, all of which can potentially revolutionize how we use mobile apps and websites in the foreseeable future.
So, seeing how AR/VR technology is already far more popular now than it was a year ago, we can safely say that this year, UX/UI designers will have the chance to use these incredible tools to enhance product usability and create never-seen-before interfaces and experiences. And, with 5G networks adopted worldwide and the advent of the Metaverse, AR/VR technologies are advancing and will likely become more relevant to mobile app development and UX/UI design practices. Also, although their mass adoption isn’t widespread yet, we hope that this year will be the year when AR and VR will become household items for most modern app developers and UX/UI designers worldwide.
It’s no secret that we’ve all judged a website or mobile app by how they look. No matter how practical or capable, if an application isn’t aesthetically pleasing, chances are we’ll drop it eventually. Thankfully, most modern UX/UI designers have adopted the tools and practices to develop beautiful IT-based products that evolve as technologies get better and faster. One of these tools is immersive scrolling, a web design technique that presents content in a dynamic way where the background moves slower than the content in front. Users scroll down or up, and they see text or images in the front move, but the background design remains in place, creating a three-dimensional illusion that gives depth and helps build a more immersive user experience. Here’s an excellent example of immersive scrolling.
Putting users first isn’t a trend; it should be a pillar for UX/UI designers worldwide. That’s why this point is so crucial. We’ve all used dark mode on our phones, and until this past year, it was a second-class feature that we used sparingly. However, in 2023, dark mode will become a necessity for UX/UI design. In fact, currently, 81% of smartphone users use dark mode, and around 65% of them now expect websites and apps to apply dark mode automatically. So there’s a significant expectation that modern apps and websites adapt to light conditions and change accordingly.
Additionally, implementing dark mode is also a matter of accessibility. For example, bright backgrounds can be harsh on the eyes, especially for users with vision impairment, who can get easily annoyed or even hurt by lighter, white backgrounds. Alternatively, dark mode is easier on the eyes, less saturated, and much more appealing overall. And, since 2023 UX/UI design will be more user-centered and accessible, it’s no surprise that dark mode will take center stage in modern product interfaces.
Ok, so this one may seem strange. After all, 1950s Brutalism was all about concrete buildings and bare structures that looked unfinished. However, interestingly enough, UX/UI designers adopted Brutalism and used its principles to create bare-bone, basic interfaces, and un-styled, far-from-fancy HTML structures. As a result, after some time, Brutalism faded into the shadow of other emerging design styles. Still, it’s no secret that trends are cyclical, and this year, Brutalism seems to be making a comeback as Neo Brutalism.
Neo Brutalistic UX/UI design is characterized by bold fonts, limited and contrasting color palettes, visible grids, lack of symmetry, overlapping elements, solid shadows, and futuristic photography, to name a few. Balenciaga is one very clear example of Neo Brutalistic UX/UI design. As you can see, these types of interface designs follow minimalistic principles and quirky elements that go against a lot of what we often see in traditional website and app UX/UI design. In fact, Neo Brutalism completely refuses to accommodate the typical gradients, flows, and components of interface design and promotes uncomfortable layouts and fearless elements but with all the user experience knowledge to keep everything as seamless, user-friendly, and accessible as possible.
Some may even see Neo Brutalistic UX/UI as ugly because it clashes with the universal standards of design aesthetics. However, making such a statement is wholly subjective and whether Neo Brutalism fits a brand’s style depends entirely on that brand’s research, goals, and needs. What we can say is that this year, Neo Brutalism will likely pick up momentum as one of the top UX/UI trends for 2023 and make a complete comeback to become a part of the industry’s arsenal of design tools.
Another UX/UI trend for 2023 that stems from the boom in AR/VR technology is 3D.
Although it’s nothing new, the use of 3D graphics in websites and mobile applications will likely become more widespread and popular primarily due to 2D imagery becoming obsolete and boring, and AR/VR use cases growing. In addition, 3D images and designs create unique experiences because they give a sense of depth and provide a realistic feel that greatly helps UX/UI designers enhance their products’ user experience. Moreover, since users are more demanding than ever, 3D visuals will help pick up the slack left by static, dull 2D imagery and help designers convey stories more clearly and in a more attractive and eye-catching way. As a result, we’ll likely witness the rise of a new universal standard for 3D imagery this year, which UX/UI designers can start using as a guideline to create innovative, beautiful 3D graphics for the applications and websites of the future.
As users become more demanding, the importance of app developers and UX/UI designers being able to provide their users with incredible experiences is bound to become more pressing than ever this year. One of the main ways to improve the user experience is by paying extra attention to the more minor interactions that happen within any app or website. And, since the devil is in the details, this year we predict that, with all the hoopla that is coming with modern trends, AI, and AR/VR technologies, micro-interactions will become more relevant than ever if we want to maintain a great UX across all our applications.
Micro-interactions are small, interactive animations–or other types of visual or audio cues–that support a user’s journey inside a website or mobile app. They help delight the user, give dynamic feedback, and explain actions and changes more clearly when the user hovers or clicks on an item. For instance, swiping, scrollbars, pull-to-refresh animations, and pop-ups are all micro-interactions that greatly enhance the user experience. While they aren’t necessarily a new trend, micro-interactions are becoming a non-negotiable part of any modern UX/UI design strategy, and this year, with AR/VR, 5G, and faster smartphones, designers can begin to create truly innovative, visually stunning animations without sacrificing quality and performance.
Gradients, just like a couple of other trends we discussed above, aren’t exactly new. Many of us have seen them on some social media pages, fashion shows and platforms, and companies such as Apple, Adobe, and Stripe, which are famous for their use of gradients in the popular App Store and websites, respectively. However, as we mentioned earlier, trends are cyclical, and this year, aside from Neo Brutalism, it seems the 80s and 90s are returning with their particular style. And for UX/UI design trends and app development practices in general, this comeback will translate into the return of gradients.
Gradients, which once were considered passe, are now a big trend again, and in 2022, they were heavily adopted, with countless brands and apps boasting multi-colored palettes. This parade of flashy designs will start giving UX/Ui designers more tools to develop beautiful storytelling techniques and help users with visualization. Also, we predict that this year, gradients will not only return full force, but they will also merge with other past trends, such as glass morphism (which was huge in 2021), to produce more vivid, fluid designs and add a more modern and sophisticated feel to this year’s IT-based products.
Top UX/UI design trends for 2023: Bottomline
Let’s face it: we never stop thinking about the future and what it may bring, and UX/UI design is no different. Whether you’re an app developer, a product owner, a UX/UI designer, or a startup developing your own mobile application, the truth is that staying on top of the current trends becomes increasingly decisive as the years go by and the competition gets more fierce. And even when no one can predict the future, making deductions and analyzing past trends can help us not only keep up with the ever-changing customer preferences but also ensure proper product design, evolution, and scaling.
Still, no matter what future years might bring or what the top UX/UI design trends for 2023 are, the tendency is always innovation. That was the case in 2001, and it is the case now. Keeping innovation at the forefront of all design and development processes is the only way to ensure the uniqueness of all IT-based products and secure an unparalleled user experience every time. Thankfully, mobile apps and websites have infinite room for change and evolution, and when done right, they can adapt to any emerging technology and trend thrown at them.
We at Foonkie Monkey have ample experience in UX/UI design and always strive to stay on top of the latest trend to develop innovative, cutting-edge products that stand the test of time. So, if you want us to make your idea a reality, please contact us! We’d love to help!