Feb 16, 2023, Consulting, Design, Mobile, Web

UX Design in 2023 — what to expect?

Michał Sawicki UX Designer
For every industry, the new year is a time of summaries, analyzes and forecasts for the coming months. What trends have we dealt with in the past year? What gained and what lost in popularity? What solutions began to displace others? It is no different in the UX industry, although there are hardly any revolutionary changes here.

So, what can we expect when it comes to UX in 2023?

Minimalism and darkness are just fine

At first glance, there aren’t many directions in which minimalism could develop any further. Focus on functionality, without paying too much attention to appealing looks, large amounts of free space, clearly associated simple symbols, and interface elements that make navigation as easy as possible – these are the main distinguishing features of this approach.


The use of standard functions will still be of great value to users, as will the placement of fixed elements and the predictability of interactions. It helps users build a mental model, get used to a product and interact with it easily. Everything must be understandable and familiar.


Pure and clear minimalism will continue to be a strong trend in the development of many brands. It will become even more effective when combined with a dark theme that will gain in importance. More and more products used a dark theme in their designs already in previous years, and this year the trend will not reverse. It wasn’t often the default view but an alternative to the basic version. However, there were cases of an application or website offered only in dark colors.

Scrollytelling — a story in a few steps

Modern technology users have long since become accustomed to using the thumb as a leading finger on the hand. And one of the features most commonly used with it is scrolling which allows you to smoothly, vertically move through extensive content in an effective and fast way.


The use of this inherent function of mobile interfaces and storytelling will provide users with a new type of experience and increase the effectiveness of design. While this may seem like a more UI design trend at first glance, it’s actually something worth planning early on with your product. The designed fluidity and appropriate display of selected content will help a user interact with a brand more strongly, increasing its recognition and creating positive associations.


The right visual effects can further enrich the experience and increase both the attractiveness of the product and the possibility of conversion. And speaking of visual aspects…

Microinteractions — more than sight for sore eyes

Microinteractions are animated effects that, in addition to pleasing the eye, perform various functions in the interface. They are mainly used to give feedback after performing an action – adding an item to a cart, hovering over or clicking on a button, loading data, etc. They all play one more, no less important role – they increase the realism and naturalness of the interface-human interaction.


We can expect new methods of feedback from the systems, based on in-depth research of mental models and user behavior, which will increase the fluidity of interaction and the effectiveness of the interface.

Inclusivity and the evolution of accessibility

Inclusivity is more and more frequent and popular in design – these are activities aimed at including as many people as possible in the target group of a product or service. It’s not just broad targeting though, oh no. It is reaching out to people who could or are already affected by social exclusion or marginalization. This applies to various social groups – women, men, non-heteronormative people, people avoiding gender identification, as well as people with disabilities and social, physical or mental limitations.


Meeting their needs will gain in importance and become an increasingly common phenomenon.


In terms of social issues, this will be most noticeable in the language of brand communication and the very interfaces of their websites. Inclusive UX writing that takes into account a wider audience will move away from more targeted gender phrases.

WCAG update

Apart from the social context, there will also be new aspects of strictly technical solutions. In 2023, we will be able to use the updated version of WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). WCAG 2.2 is an extension and addition to the previous set of guidelines published in 2018. The standard itself has been developed by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) since 1999 as part of the WAI – Web Accessibility Initiative, which was established two years earlier.


There are several important aspects to note here:

  • the state of focus on a given element - i.e. the distinguishing feature of focusing on a given element has been given specific guidelines, which include, among others, specifying a contrast ratio of 3:1 for focused and unfocused states and adjacent, out-of-focus colors
  • dragging - all functionalities that use dragging should be possible to implement with a single click, without the need for a dragging movement. This applies to online content that interprets the action of a pointer (e.g. a cursor), and therefore doesn’t apply to dedicated application interfaces
  • accessibility in authorization methods - depending on the level of AA or AAA, there will be a suggestion to completely abandon or replace the cognitive test - i.e. an activity requiring the user to remember, manipulate or rewrite information. In both cases, it is recommended to enable the use of an alternative authorization method that does not require a cognitive test, or to provide a tool to assist in passing such verification
  • auto-complete - content that has already been entered by the user at any stage of interaction, e.g. contact details in the form, should be automatically completed or available for auto-complete, if there is a repeated request for this information at a later stage

Passwordless — are passwords obsolete?

Speaking of authentication and filling methods, it’s hard not to think about using passwords. Already mentioned in this text, they cause a lot of problems for users. Despite the good practices used for a long time, aimed at improving the user experience in this field, many Internet users still have difficulties with creating secure passwords and even more with remembering them. Not everyone is familiar with applications for securely storing multiple passwords. Some may also have concerns about their effectiveness and the privacy of stored content.


In connection with the above, we should expect even greater adoption of SSO (Single Sign-On) solutions, as well as biometric authorization or one-time codes – similar to bank tokens or authorization applications used for two-factor authentication. This entails the need for changes not only within the interface, but also a challenge for entrepreneurs who will have to properly secure and manage the new type of user data obtained.

Many devices - single experience

Still, many applications differ depending on the operating system on which they are used, which often manifests itself in minor interface differences and even available functionalities (e.g. Google Maps on Android vs iOS version). Apple is an interesting example here because in their ecosystem they managed to ensure almost identical operation of an application, regardless of whether the user uses it on a MacBook, iPhone or iPad. Adding the handoff function that allows you to seamlessly continue on another device an action started on the first iDevice, and we have a clear reason why users value this working environment so much.


Over the course of the year, we can expect to see more similar experiences across different apps. The pursuit of unification between devices and operating systems will result not only from improving the UX of the product, but also from the issue of savings resulting from the creation of cross-platform solutions. We reached for the Flutter technology ourselves, thanks to which we were able to simultaneously, in real time, deliver an Android and iOS application for searching for parking lots and tourist attractions – Gdansk Insider. This allowed us not only to increase the audience of the application already at the beta testing stage, but to ensure consistency and exactly the same experience, regardless of the preferred operating system.

Adobe - the fuss goes on

The California-based giant announced late last year the acquisition of the queen of design apps – Figma. This caused a huge stir in the industry and resulted in an avalanche of speculations about the future of both the newly purchased program and Adobe XD, which has been developed for years.


The answers to some of the most important questions came shortly after. Figma co-founder and CEO Dylan Field said in a statement that Figma will continue to operate autonomously and improve Figma Design and FigJam. In addition, Figma is supposed to take advantage of Adobe technologies in the field of digital imaging, video, vector graphics, 3D as well as artificial intelligence and machine learning.


This alone puts into question the further sense of XD’s existence, which leads us to the projected phenomenon of mass migration of users to Figma and the transfer of projects and working files from the Adobe’s stable to the new tool.

AI - a chance or a threat?

AI-based solutions have already resonated widely in the UX design environment. Automation and analytics based on advanced algorithms accelerated and streamlined the design process, helped improve usability and increase customer satisfaction.


However, the increase in the number of visual design tools using artificial intelligence and machine learning promises significant dynamics of change in 2023. Generating random faces, as well as tools for creating graphics based on provided descriptions, are becoming sophisticated enough to be used in visual design, not only in the form of placeholder photos or replacements for stock content.


When it comes to artificial intelligence in visual design, GAN (Generative Adversarial Networks) has definitely flourished. Most tech-followers have heard of the Lensa app, where users turned photos into AI-generated avatars. Tools such as Mid journey or the more graphically advanced Dall-e 2 have also gained popularity, and the appearance of more is only a matter of time. Such solutions will allow for quick visualization of concepts, often in high fidelity quality, which can reorganize the way of working with mock-ups.


Apart from that there are possibilities of generating content written by AI, thanks to which creative design will become faster and more accessible. It will allow the use of exemplary content with a greater degree of realism and reference to the client’s industry than the lorem ipsum common today already at the early stages of the project.


Another impressive feature of artificial intelligence is machine learning algorithms. Its implementation in websites or applications can help provide personalized content for each user. Such hyper-personalization will significantly enhance the user experience.


And what about the potential threats of using AI in the UX design process? Won’t it replace the role of a designer, since it will be able to generate images, content, and even create mock-ups based on the provided user flow? In the short term, it doesn’t seem to be such a serious threat to current designers, as it still won’t replace a human approach – above all, empathy.


Today, AI generates content that may sound funny and clumsy, may not cover all edge cases, and answer all defined problems. In addition, there is the issue of copyright, which we cannot easily verify when artificial intelligence algorithms are used. What will the problem of their repeatability and uniqueness look like in terms of indexing in search engines?


The continuous development of this technology, the huge number of users interacting with it and providing huge amounts of data for machine learning will certainly accelerate the improvement of artificial intelligence, also in the area of ​​UX design. How will this affect our industries?

Only time will tell…