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UX Design is an industry that’s defined by innovation, adaptability and the need to respond to users’ changing needs. Here’s a shortlist of the hottest UX Design trends to watch out for in 2023.

Academy Xi's UX design trends for 2023

Technology is rapidly disrupting our industries, and it’s vital for UX Designers to keep up-to-date with the latest trends in the industry. In 2023, the growing prevalence of voice-based technology and the Internet of Things will continue to impact the UX Design industry.

Let’s take a detailed look at some of the trends to keep an eye out for in the year ahead.

Voice-command technology

Voice-command technology is revolutionising the way we live. The global speech and voice recognition market size was valued at $11.21 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach $49.79 billion by 2029, with an enormous CAGR of 23.7%.

From the rise of smart-home devices such as Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa, to virtual assistants such as Apple’s Siri, playing music and keeping up-to-date with the news through the power of our voice is nothing new.

This year, we saw the majority of voice-command searches being driven by a user’s intent to act. SEO activities began to cater to long voice-command queries rather than short keywords common in text search. In 2023, advanced customisation and navigation will continue to drive voice-command technology forward and by 2020 it’s expected that 50% of all search engine queries are to be performed by voice.  

Pro tip: Forward-thinking companies should consider voice-activation capabilities as part of their design and business strategy.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

With the emergence of The Internet of Things, discrete interactions and gestural designs will play an even bigger role.

UX Designers are tasked with designing and delivering digital experiences that cater to key human emotions, such as trust and assurance. In 2023, the growing entanglement of IoT with our daily lives will create expectations for digital interfaces to closely replicate our human interactions.

In 2023, UX Design is going to play a bigger role in emerging technology, particularly around discrete interactions and gestural design.

Whether it’s Augmented Reality (AR) or thought-activated design, the role of UX Designers will go beyond screen-only interfaces to include physical interactions and micro movements. UX Designers will be encouraged to design solutions that will anticipate a user’s next move or query that will ultimately create delight, and meet a user’s needs.

In recent years, most tech screen players have raced to implement AR capabilities on their devices, with a lot suggesting that Apple’s latest ARKit is paving the way for the future of AR technology.

What to watch out for: Delivering exceptional human experiences will not only increase the demand for UX Designers, but also the need for psychologists, researchers, behavioural scientists and other specialists whose skills are required throughout the design process. 

Device-agnostic design

A UX Designer’s role is to ensure that a user’s experience is seamless, irrespective of the device they use.

Next year, the demand for ‘mobile-friendly’ or ‘mobile-first’ user experience will be superseded by device-agnostic designs. Whether it’s your smartphone, smartwatch, laptop, or tablet, the increasing number of connected devices users have access to will push UX Designers towards creating more dynamic multi-device experiences.

For most users, their interactions with a digital product are concerned with achieving a specific goal, whether it be to book a hotel, order a ride, or buy clothes online.

One example of a company that is already taking a device-agnostic approach is Uber. Travellers on Uber can commence their journey from a voice-command device such as Google Home and finish their trip on their iOS or Android phone. Here the user’s journey touches two platforms, but to the user, it’s experienced as one unified and continuous interaction.

Consider: How can you create digital experiences that go beyond PC and mobile, but cater for multiple devices? What does this mean for your end user’s experience?

The shift from flat to material design

The concept of ‘flat design’ embraces minimalism and focuses on usability and clean, open, crisp edges and bright colours through 2D illustrations.

Compared to the flat design, ‘material design’ was created by Google and has more depth and detail, with grid-based layouts, responsive animations, transitions and padding. Material designs have increased depth, with 3D icons, shading, and light features. 

While the simplicity of a flat design has inherent benefits, material design will take your digital UI to the next level in 2023 by:  

  • Bringing designs into 3D: The introduction of textures and patterns to flat design adds an additional depth and brings products to life
  • Increasing interactivity: A rise in the use of animations will increase user interactivity and ‘liveliness’ of a product’s design
  • Improving adaptability: Unique designs for multi-device experiences will increase the customisation of a design’s user-centricity

Design benefit: The increased detail of material design builds user trust and security with your application — which is extremely valuable if you’re an early stage startup or business.

Content-focused experiences

In today’s crowded markets, a UX Designer’s role isn’t simply about understanding a user’s customer journey. There’s no point in creating an exceptional product or service if no one knows your brand exists. In 2023, one of the biggest trends will be the ability to tell compelling stories about a digital experience.

Storytelling requires empathy, human connection, and an understanding of the motivations and inspirations for a user. To do this, it’s important for UX Designers to obtain data on what a customer wants.

We know an average user is exposed to over 10,000 marketing messages a day, and attention will continue to be a sought-after currency in 2023. 

  • Live video and video ads: Research predicts that video will account for 85% of all internet traffic in 2019. With video viewership in the billions, video and video advertising will be the go-to medium. Design considerations for video go beyond screen optimisation and gesture preferences but expand to immersive storytelling through AR or VR technology.

Video tip: Determine the purpose behind your video. Is it to engage, entertain, or inform? What utility does your content bring to your audience? Establishing value is key in creating a successful content-focused experience.

  • Increased personalisation: The old days of ‘create it and they will come’ and ‘mass production’ are no more. The over-saturation of markets means consumers are expecting more from their brands. Imagine walking into a clothes store and finding a fitting room full of curated items just for you — things you’ve liked on Pinterest and items you’ve reserved online. 

Alternatively, you buy something online and have it delivered to your house. Your Google Home app tells you that you’ll receive the item you just purchased at 2:00 pm the next day. Tailoring personalised experiences is now becoming the norm with international brands like Muji and Ikea, who are taking the lead in retail innovation.

Well, that’s a wrap! What have we discovered? The Internet of Things (IoT) has connected the physical and digital world more than ever before. Smart devices are closing the gap between humans and the way we experience digital products and services. Whether it’s the inclusion of voice-command design, adding a human touch, or the increased use of material design, there are a number of top UX trends to look out for in 2023. How many of these trends are you aware of and already acting on?

Want to bring UX Design into your career?

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