User interface (UI) designers have to stay up on the latest UI trends if they want to create successful sites and apps. While some elements remain the same over time, others change as technology and society changes.
What are some of the top growing UI trends of 2023 and how can you embrace them in your designs?
What Are the 2023 UI Trends in Design?
According to IBISWorld, web design is an $11 billion industry in the United States. Although the market is expected to shrink slighting in 2023 by .5 percent, it remains fairly stable over time. Still, new designers enter the industry every year. Both experienced and new UI experts come up with the top trends for the year and share them with the world.
If you’re in the UI design industry, the trends you should keep an eye on this year include:
In the past, UI designers often looked more at the big picture of how a website or app functions. However, one of the UI trends we’re seeing more of is in micro-interactions that help users each step of the way as they move through the buyer’s funnel.
Micro-interactions might include a scroll bar animation that moves as the user travels down the page, a call to action (CTA) button that changes color or has an animation when the person hovers over it, or any number of other little things that show the site visitor the next step to take at each point along the buyer’s path.
2. CSS Frameworks
Writing the code for a new design can be time consuming. However, utilizing CSS frameworks reduces the time to take a project from start to finish successfully. Frameworks plug in bits of code so the creator doesn’t have to start from scratch and type in hours of basic instructions, hoping they don’t have a typo that throws up an error.
There are different schools of thought about the best types of CSS frameworks to use. Some don’t use a library of prewritten codes but shoot out prompts that make writing unique code faster and cleaner. Others offer a library of options you can plug and play. Which one works best for you depends on your needs as a designer. Try different options and see what is best.
3. 5G Design
Now that most mobile networks offer 5G at least in major cities and populated areas, designers are thinking about how to create designs that work with the low latency and high speed of the network.
Designers are better able to utilize animations in mobile designs, as they have less worry about some elements slowing down a website's speed. Improve user experience (UX) with interfaces with transitions and clearer navigation.
4. Voice UI
One of the UI trends that has been growing in demand over time is voice commands. More people use smart speakers and voice-enabled devices than ever before. Because the language of the devices falls into natural language processing and is more in line with the way people talk, UI designers must think about their target audiences and how they speak.
Voice UI reduces the need for a graphical interface, allowing designers to put more attention on the navigational structure or other components of a successful design.
In a recent survey, a mere 61 percent of customers trusted businesses, which isn’t a very big number when you consider the results were compared against the government and media. Clickbait and other shady tactics over the years may prevent customers from fully trusting what a brand says.
One thing you can do is present a consistent look and user interface no matter where customers encounter your brand. Your social media pages, website and app should all have similar colors, wording, and personality. Locate the navigation bar in the same place whenever possible. Consistency shows you’re reliable.
How can UI design tell a story? The way you lay out the movement through the site makes a difference in the user experience. For example, some experts have dubbed the way we design scrolling as "scrollytelling."
As the user moves through the side, new items might appear from any direction, be animated, and reveal new information. The experience becomes more interactive for the user and the words tell a story but so does the way the data appears.
7. Buttonless UI
You might wonder how a buttonless UI works, but consider the more recent iPhone versions for an idea. Rather than using a button on the side of the phone or in the center bottom of the screen to make adjustments, the user swipes, taps, or slides to increase brightness, adjust volume, or send the phone into do not disturb mode.
Since many desktop devices now offer touch screens, UI design turns to buttonless options more frequently. However, some people may still use older models of smartphones or computers, so it’s also important to have a simple plus or minus option for those scenarios.
Where 2023 Will Take UI Trends
The UI trends we see taking place today may be obsolete tomorrow. Technology changes on a dime, so staying on top of what new scientific discoveries appear can help designers predict future changes.
Watch what brands such as Apple and Microsoft release to get an idea of what’s coming down the pike. If you stay on top of new trends and think through what’s most helpful to users, you’ll come up with a lot of design options of your own that work best to create an amazing interface that creates an excellent UX.
Eleanor Hecks is editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the creative director at a prominent digital marketing agency prior to becoming a full-time freelance designer. Eleanor lives in Philadelphia with her husband and pup, Bear.