Get a sneak peek at the future of user experience with Score's roundup of the most promising UI trends for 2023. Learn how to leverage these trends to boost user engagement and improve the overall effectiveness of your design.
How to design the best UI in 2023?
Digital product development is not all about the code. To turn an app or a website into a success story, you need to take good care of usability. Delivering top-notch user experience (UX) is crucial to building loyalty to your product and achieving your business goals.
Usability and UX are broad concepts (the latter even more so than the former), but in the digital product area, they're inextricably connected with user interface (UI) design. User satisfaction with an app or a website depends on, among other things, various aspects of the functionality and aesthetics of a frontend.
Creating a great interface is challenging in many ways. Still, the general idea is simple. It's been delightfully phrased by Steve Krug in the title of his classic book: "Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability." It is what it sounds: UI needs to be simple enough to allow a person to use it intuitively without having to think about it. The specifics are basically footnotes to this rule.
But how do you apply this idea in practice? For starters, find out about the current must-haves for designing the best UI listed in our article. If you're hungry for more, check out the book by Steve Krug (you might want to go for the"revisited" edition) or reach out to us – we're always happy to talk.
Get the maximum out of minimalism
Less is more – you might have heard this phrase a hundred times before. It's probably the best concise way to define the core strength of minimalism in UX/UI design. Basically, it translates to the idea that limiting means of expression allows you to convey the message more effectively. The mechanics behind this approach is simple: getting rid of redundant information makes it easier for the user to focus on the essentials.
In UI, the less is more philosophy boils down to using simple, clean, and uncluttered design elements to develop an easy-to-navigate interface characterized by clarity and functionality. Such an approach involves smart use of white space, simple color schemes, clear typography, and interface grid to deliver a smooth and efficient user experience.
Minimalism is hardly a new kid on the block. It's been around for ages in various areas of design outside IT. In UI, it caught on due to the rising popularity of mobile devices and is more relevant today than ever before, as mobile traffic exceeded 60 percent of all web traffic. The prevalence of small screen "terminals" makes clarity an imperative in design. Stuffing up a lot of interface elements in a small area results in a mess and illegibility. In such an environment, users find it hard to associate UI components with specific outcomes and achieve desired results as fast as possible. On the other hand, a minimalist UI provides a hassle-free experience and, if designed right, can be far more eye-pleasing than a feature-heavy screen.
In 2023 and beyond, the emphasis on neat, minimalist UX/UI design will only grow. With an overabundance of digital products to choose from, minimalism-driven ease of use will be crucial in attracting users and outperforming competing solutions. Finally, minimalism has been gaining traction in the visual identity department, helping brands stand out in a crowded market and make themselves more visible.
Responsive web design is, obviously, not an emerging trend, but it's never been more vital to make it a priority in UI development. The reason is pretty much the same as the rationale behind minimalism. With billions of smartphones and tablets out there, it's essential to design websites and applications that provide frictionless user experience no matter the screen size or resolution. If your product is not streamlined for all types of devices, you risk alienating a big part of users and missing out on serious revenue opportunities.
One of the key advantages of responsive design is that it allows you to handle various channels without the need to create separate versions of a website for different devices. As a result, it saves a lot of time and development costs while simultaneously providing a consistent experience for users regardless of the device they're using.
Developing an accurate responsive design requires attention to detail and making plenty of good choices. You need to prioritize features that you want to be displayed on smaller screens at the cost of less relevant ones that are easier to "sacrifice." From the UX perspective, leaving some of the stuff out is better than overstuffing the homepage (scroll up for a refresher on the minimalism imperative).
Besides using flexible layouts, make sure to use responsive images that scale properly on different devices. You can do it by applying features like "srcset" and the "<picture>" element. It's also critical to allow for touchscreens in your project. For example, you might need to restyle a drop-down menu designed for a desktop view to make it equally accessible by pressing it with a fingertip.
Last but not least, remember about testing. Check your designs thoroughly ondifferent devices to ensure they look and work as smoothly as possible.
Stock is out, custom is in. Tailor-made illustrations are all the rage now
Stock images are boring. On top of being generic. They may work with blog posts– even though many companies and media outlets have switched to unique, tailor-made graphics – but they are not an option in up-to-date UI design.
Custom illustrations have been popping up in apps and websites. The trend has picked up in recent years, becoming a key "fashion" in UI, and is bound to grow. There are plenty of reasons why neat, custom visuals are crucial to UX and, by extension, driving user engagement as well as business results.
1. First, they add personality and character to a digital product, making it feel more human and approachable.
2. Second, custom illustrations are agreat way to add depth and interest to a design without relying on gradients.
3. Third, users perceive images faster than words. Well-crafted illustrations can attract their attention and trigger their interest in a fraction of a second, prompting them to perform actions in an app or website.
4. Fourth, custom graphics well aligned with content serves as a great storytelling tool enhancing immersive experience.
5. Fifth, unique, appealing images are unparalleled in evoking emotional reactions, which play a key role in effective marketing and fostering product desirability.
6. Sixth, custom illustrations can be used to communicate complex ideas or abstract concepts with clarity, making them easier to understand for users.
7. Seventh, being unique, they can help establish a visual identity and brand recognition.
If this enumeration has gone over the top, it's only because the reasons behind the custom illustration popularity are solid and will continue to drive the trend far beyond 2023.
A gradient is back! (Coupled with bold colors)
In recent years, flat design has been all over the web and will play in the first league in the years to come. At the same time, gradient, which took a backseat to flat design in the late 2000s, has been making a slow but consistent resurgence. There's no clear winner between the two styles, as there's no real competition. Both approaches fit different artistic concepts and can produce fantastic UI designs with aesthetic and functional value, with notable examples – in favor of gradient – being Grammarly or Stripe.
Gradient naturally aligns with strong, bright colors, which also rank among the top trends in today's design. Lively, vibrant hues add depth and visual appeal to interfaces. They also make for a great first impression and entice users to engage with the content and features on the website or in an app. Gradient and bold colors can also be used to create a sense of movement and dynamism, making UI design more captivating, thus prompting interaction more effectively. Obviously, it's not a must to combine gradients with an eye-popping palette.Y ou can use soothing colors instead, depending on the type of project, artistic vision, target users, and other factors.
As with other trending UI approaches, gradients combined with bold colors effectively express a brand personality. By choosing specific color schemes and gradient patterns, businesses can convey a unique look and feel that reflects their values and aesthetics.
If you're looking to give your UI a fresh, modern look with gradient backgrounds and colorful buttons, keep in mind to use these elements in moderation. Too much color and visual intensity can be overwhelming, distracting users from your digital product's functionality and value proposition. If done right, though, it will provide excellent results in terms ofenhancing user experience and driving engagement.
Motion design – tweak your UI with animations and transitions
Motion design has made immense progress since the cheesy MySpace era and is now seriously influencing the approach to UI aesthetics. It adds life-like qualities to the interface, making it more appealing and engaging. Animations, microanimations, and transitions work wonders in terms of grabbing users' attention and enriching their experience. Obviously, the outcome depends on the designer's skills, the relevance of the concept, and a few other factors.Motion design is successful when it makes sense and feels natural, aligning with the overall style and enhancing communication rather than being a flashy gimmick.
Motion design can be used for a variety of purposes, including aesthetic enhancement, providing a seamless experience with elegant transitions, delivering feedback to users, guiding them through a process, simplifying complex concepts, or complementing textual content. For example, scroll-triggered animation may be a neat way to beef up storytelling on a website.
One trend to keep an eye out for in 2023 is the use of micro-interactions –small, subtle animations that help to improve the overall flow and usability of a digital product. For example, if a user clicks on a button, a micro-interaction might cause the button to briefly change color or size, providing visual feedback that the action has been registered. Another trend within motion design to follow is the use of realistic, physics-based animations designed to mimic how objects move in the real world, creating amore immersive and intuitive user experience.
Reach out for more insights on UI design
UI is a dynamic and ever-changing territory. There are some constants but also many variables to keep in mind depending on the type of your project and your intended audience. If you want to find out how to make an interface in your product neat, stylish, and accessible to users, just call us or drop us a line. We're always thrilled to look into new business ideas and share our insights!
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