Seven 2023 UX trends explained

by | Mar 1, 2023 | User Experience

New year, new U(X)

“Blerg! Trends? Again?”

Yup. Whether you like it or not, we’re in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Every. Single. Thing. Changes. DAILY.

Sticking blindly to your guns (and strategies) is like buying expensive shoes for a baby…they won’t fit for much longer, and you’ll end up wasting money or cutting the tips off to make them fit.

Developing a good user experience (UX) is a few steps short of writing the next “Back to the Future” film script. You’re constantly racing against time to guess what users want, accept, and experience – before they even know themselves.

Almost like some kind of psychic-clairvoyant.

Let’s do some groundwork before we get to the trends.


Do UX research before you jump

Here’s the caveat: just because it’s a trend doesn’t mean it’s the right one for your business.

Trends are generalised forecasts. Although the analysts use quantitative and qualitative research to back ‘em up, they won’t necessarily be the bee’s knees for your users.

Try to understand the underlying concepts before you scan through the tips and implement them.

For example, surgeons don’t just adopt new surgery innovations willy-nilly because the medical industry says they should. They read the latest research and carefully analyse the best use cases for new techniques and technologies before ever attempting them on a patient.

More importantly, they don’t just try new techniques without consulting their patients.

Imagine having a finger operation and waking up with a bionic hand. We guarantee a “This is how we do things now” explanation won’t cut it (pun intended).

The same goes for UX. Do your research to determine if new trends will improve your users’ experiences. Then, pick the trends that:

Align with your brand
Are worth implementing cost and time-wise
Keep you in the modern world
Serve your users better

This brings us to the next bit of our UX trend journey.


From UX research to UX strategy

You knew this was coming, right…?

Every new approach needs a strategy to keep it consistent and successful. And considering that trends generally shift on an annual basis, it makes sense to create a new plan every time.

You’ll need five ingredients for this:

Talk to the big guys and understand the overall business strategy.
Differentiate using competitor research and analysis.
Conduct qualitative and quantitative UX research.
Define the big goals and small wins you want to achieve.
Experiment responsibly with users, get feedback, and modify.

Yes, it’s homework, but trust the process.


Understanding UX vs UI

While UX focuses on user goals, needs, behaviours, and pain points, the user interface (UI) determines the visuals. To create an effective UI, you must know everything about your industry, products, and user persona (UX).

This is not a chicken-and-egg situation; UX always comes first.

The trick is to merge the two: Pop-ups with tiny “close” buttons? No. Checkout errors with numbers instead of explanations? No. Clear call-to-action buttons for each service? Yes. Original product imagery for e-commerce websites? Yes.

Users should know where they are and how to perform a desired task without taking a masterclass on using your product.


7 UX trends for 2023

  • Using real-time analytics to enhance UX
    It makes a lot more sense to optimise customer interactions as they happen than to use historical data to predict the future. It’s called “history” for a reason.Real-time data analytics enable consistent, customised, and omnichannel experiences that allow you to listen, adapt, and respond more effectively to instant behavioural changes. The best part? They do the UX research for you.


  • Creating super-apps
    Super-apps have a set of core features and multiple independent mini-apps. A banking super-app, for example, allows you to pay and transfer funds while offering unrelated functionalities like insurance and sim card contracts.It works because users don’t need to download two to three apps for the same functionalities. Multiple birds, one stone.


  • Increased accessibility and inclusivity
    You never know who a user is or where they come from. Always consider audiences with physical or cognitive disabilities, social and cultural differences, language difficulties, etc. Sure, UX research and product development take a bit longer, but the outcome makes a big difference.Being user-friendly means catering to people from all walks of life, so try including features like voice searches and mobile-first designs.


  • Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR)
    AR/VR tech merges virtual interactions with reality to give users an immersive brand and product experience. AR involves real-world scenes with computer-generated sounds and graphics, while VR simulates worldly environments.What better way to engage users than to give them a bite of what you offer before they even enter their banking details?


  • Mixing technology with ethics
    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is incredible when it comes to collecting and analysing quantitative data, but without empathy for humans and the environment, there’s no point. Humans are still human (for now, anyway). Try to merge AI’s math and data skills with soft humanoid skills for a more well-rounded UX.


  • Approaching the metaverse
    Contrary to popular belief, the metaverse is a virtual universe all on its own, not a more advanced version of AR and VR. Forget simulations and computer-generated graphics. The metaverse lets users create avatars, explore malls, interact with others, and trade as they do in real life.Futurists and developers are exploring metaverse offices with virtual boardrooms, workstations, and breakrooms. You may think you’re working from home, but you’re actually going into the office every day (minus the traffic and colleague germs).


  • UI trends to match
    Scrollytelling: Immersive scrolling that displays content as a narrative using animations and dynamic elements“Extra” colours and designs: Neon, retro, and nostalgic styles are making a comeback with bold colours and dynamic gradients. 3D and animation: When used sparingly, these graphics draw attention to static elements and create a more playful user experience.Personalisation: Location-based recommendations, different payment methods, and express delivery options offer small conveniences.
    Light/dark modes: There’s a reason why device operating systems have different themes and layouts. Light/dark mode options allow users to choose their most comfortable viewing experience.


From platforms to dimensions

Back when phones were just phones and the internet was that scary platform on a box PC, people didn’t care about website intricacies. Just using the internet was an experience.

Times have changed. Even good ‘ol burgers aren’t good enough anymore. Consumers want vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, sauce, sauceless, garnish, and no-garnish options.

Why are users so picky? Because they can be. So businesses that don’t work to offer unique experiences could end up where boring websites go to die: a user’s mental browser history. It’s a lot to digest, but that’s evolution. We’re all humans trying to make sense of non-human ways to interact humanely.

Struggling to understand or implement UX in your business? Contact us to have industry-leading experts help you out.

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