The future of web design is user-centric: Interactivity, animations, optimized user experience, inclusivity, and social proof are the topics that dominate the web design and development bubble in 2023. Keep on reading to get a roundup of this year's website trends and how to realize them efficiently and beneficially.
Web trend #1: Interactive and animated content
Interactive content is not only twice as likely to engage users as static content, but it also transmits a feeling of personalized communication and, hence, increases dwell time and engagement. Depending on the scope and complexity of the website, you can either go big or small in the design and development phase with motion graphic elements:
- Micro animations
- Hoverable elements
- Animated titles, illustrations, infographics
- Different scrolling techniques
- Gamification elements
- Interactive product displays
- Motion graphic videos
Just by looking at the homepage of Superlist for three seconds, you can exactly make what it stands for: productivity for teams. The mouseover of the above-the-fold grasps users' interest at first glance. Other motion graphic elements such as animated product screens and micro animations draw attention to the key content and convey Superlist's message.
Web trend #2: Guiding users effectively
With micro animations and interactions, you can also enhance user experience, increase accessibility, and, ultimately, help users to make decisions and fulfill their needs. Animated or branded cursors for instance help move along the website; some even change their look when clicking on specific content, making the web more intuitive and handy. Another important feature of a top-notch website is a good CTA. Call to action links and buttons serve as signposts—they suggest to users what they might do next. Clear CTAs guide users through the route to purchasing or signing up. Other steps to increase the efficacy of the user journey might be:
- Color changes
- Text size changes
- Powerful wording
- Good page load speed
- Clear and logical information structure
From A to Z, Mural's website is an eye-catcher. Color changes, animated CTAs, mouseover effects, and collapsable elements make it appealing, encouraging users to click on elements and explore the website further. The powerful call to action at the very bottom changes its complete appearance just by hovering over it—definitely one of the website's highlights. What is more, you can find a bunch of illustrations that communicate the main benefits of the products, displaying them in a neutral, non-biased way.
Web trend #3: Power to the user
Having said that, interactive content also can provide users with a certain level of control, so that they can choose which topic they want to dig into. This way, the website fulfills the users' needs without patronizing them. For example, for video content you might give users the possibility to press the “Play”-button instead of putting the whole video on auto-play—this improves page load speed as well. However, still keep in mind a seamless user journey and your website's goals. Some suggestions to find the right balance include:
- Integrating collapsable elements
- Adding anchor links on the navigation bar
- Giving users the choice to (not) watch a video
At the top of this page on the website of Slack, users find an explainer video that they can choose to watch. After clicking the “Play”-button, the video depicting the main benefits of the platform opens in a pop-up that can be closed easily again, maintaining a smooth user journey and adding value to the product offering.
Web trend #4: Inclusivity
This philosophy is based on the idea of not differentiating users by any factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, language, background, etc., and can be reached by removing bias and enhancing accessibility for everyone. Depending on the scope of your web project, ideas to follow this tendency might be:
- Adding inclusive images of people of different ages, religions, and cultures
- Reducing representations of persons in general
- Including abstract illustrations as a way of providing bias-free content
Pleo combines abstract illustrations and up to a certain degree non-biased representations of persons. Although the product is business and human-related, the minimalistic design illustrates its benefits in a neutral way. The images and illustrations of people mostly depict hands; some do show gender attributes but are neutral or diverse in terms of the possible cultural background. For their case studies, they use indeed photographs of a team member of the respective business—however, this can be a way of showing social proof.
Web trend #5: Social proof
Next to sophisticated design, a website will need social proof to create trust among users and prospects. All roads lead to Rome, so there are various ways you can establish yourself as a professional player in the market. However, in the design and development phase, keep in mind to strategically position trust elements such as:
- Investor logos
- Partner logos
- Client testimonials
- Reviews on various platforms
- Case studies
On their homepage, Stripe combines case studies with the respective logos of their prominent clients which switch automatically. There is no need for explaining why this creates trust among users, is there?
Summing up: Web design and development in 2023
Illustrations, animations, and motion graphics dominate the 2023 web trends. Interactive and engaging web components are what make a website relevant for users and can increase SEO. However, it's not all about hitting the trend … sometimes bucking the tide and going a completely different way might be an option to reach your tech startup's targets. Whilst different scrolling techniques, for example, can be an exciting way to present different aspects of your product, in a way they force users to see all of your content; hence, they might bounce. So, it's all about finding balance and reaching the ultimate goal of your website, with an excellent user experience as the key factor for success.