Web Design Predictions for 2023

Posted: 08/03/2023

Author: Fishtank

It’s no secret website designs have changed considerably over the past 5 years. With techniques, trends and functionalities constantly evolving to match up with user requirements and needs, we’re always kept on our toes when it comes to being up to date with our website designs. 

With 15 years of experience and first-hand knowledge of designing websites from the ground upwards – we asked the boss, Damien Fisher, what his thoughts are on the development of website design over the years and what his web design predictions are for 2023…

How have website designs changed within the past 5 years?

The main reason for the shift in design is the rise of digital presence for businesses. At first, the internet was only used to transfer data and images as large as possible. Since then, the digital landscape has become an integral part of our daily lives. This meant that websites needed to gradually adapt to a point where they needed to be more intuitive and simpler to navigate.
The evolution of website design has also brought UX [user experience] to the forefront. Essentially, UX is about understanding how customers consume information and providing the most efficient and effective means of showing that information to them. Content can be presented on websites in various ways, including blogs, product pages, images, animations and transitions, infographics and written content, and so much more.

Another significant change we’ve observed website design over the years is the shift towards a mobile-first approach. This means that a website’s design and user experience should be based on the needs of mobile users primarily before creating a version tailored to desktop users. Very often a site might look slightly different on mobile and desktop or react to different prompts – clicking on mobile rather than hovering on desktop etc. However, the differences can be subtle, such as longer page text on a desktop version, or larger image dimensions on mobile.

Finally, the last significant change when designing websites nowadays is the importance of speed. Internet users are highly impatient and will leave your website within a few seconds if it is not loading fast enough. Google uses websites’ loading speeds and speed test rankings as a part of its algorithm to rank search engine results. The term “website speed” even appears early on in the Google search results.
The truth is, users expect websites to load within 3 seconds most of the time when searching on desktop, and within 1 second on mobile devices. This means that a website needs to be optimised, simple, and quick to load to avoid being penalised by Google.

What technical aspects do you need to consider when designing a website? 

The foundations of web design are: user-friendly navigation, data security, and fast load times. All of these are essential aspects to consider when it comes to designing a website. 

One top tip I would give to anyone designing a website in 2023 is to use simple structures and avoid complex shapes- users will interpret design using the least cognitive effort possible and complex images will be perceived in their simplest forms. Another huge factor that should be an important part of the design goals is reducing cognitive overload. “Cognitive load” is the mental energy a task requires – a website with a high cognitive load feels like hard work. It means the user has to concentrate to perform the task they’re on the site to perform… And in our day and age, users only spend 10-20 seconds on a site, so making it hard for them to find what they’re looking for – you’ve likely already lost them and they’ve bounced. To avoid this, designers must understand and accommodate these limits and this is always something we put at the forefront.

“Grouping and aligning elements into relevant blocks, columns, and sections is key. Simple structures and elements will make for easier interpretation. “ – Damien Fisher

  • Connect design elements to show their relation to each other. This creates a visual connection that shows all the steps are parts of the same process, limiting the amount of content your user has to perceive at any given time. 
  • Divide content into chunks instead of showing it all in one block.  Additionally, design with the most popular screen sizes in mind and control how many elements users see at a glance. 
  • Be critical about your design. If you think there’s too much content in a section, move it to another one and separate items logically.

What 5  website design changes do you think will evolve in 2023? 

Technology changes fast, and website design trends are no different. Design elements and website features that were once modern and innovative may have become tired, overdone, and cliched in recent years. 

  1. Keep important information visible– Users should not have to remember information from one step of a process, such as a checkout or technical setup — to another. You want your users to recognize, rather than recall, information.
  2. Text-Only Hero Images – Newspapers always put their most eye-catching, important information “above the fold” to increase sales. The website equivalent of this is at the top of a page and is called the “hero section.” A current trend to catch internet users’ attention who are bombarded by different web pages every day is removing the typical background image in the hero section and replacing it with eye-catching typography. A bold, unique font could be just the thing to get a user’s attention quickly.
  3. Dark mode web designs serve a couple of different functions. On the practical end, they help reduce eye strain, a concern for many as we are spending more and more time looking at screens. On the aesthetic end, dark mode easily creates an ultra-modern look for your website while giving you the ability to highlight other design elements just by darkening the elements that surround it.
  4. Art Deco is anticipated to be popular in 2023 website design aesthetics. Art Deco relies heavily on symmetrical and geometric shapes. This style is often patterned, decorative  and ornamental. Geometric shapes will help to reduce visual stress.
  5. Asymmetric CSS Grid Layout is a popular method of bringing  the full power of print layout to the web. Grid Layout is a 2D grid layout method for cascading style sheets. Grids allow designers to construct layouts for complicated responsive web designs. It also gives sites a clean look. CSS Grid goes beyond enabling designers to arrange elements along x and y axes and it can allow us to get a bit more abstract and daring with our designs.

What design functionalities do you think will become popular in 2023?  

Video has long been touted as a must-have for websites. “People love videos! Video is engaging! It’s the most effective online marketing tool!”

But while video is great, it needs to be well thought out. That’s what smart video is about: video with a purpose and meaning. Gone are the days of embedding a YouTube video on your site just to have one. One well-thought-out, high-quality video that tells a story and engages the user is better than a dozen haphazardly assembled ones.

Chatbots are another feature that has been popular for a few years and will continue to be relevant in 2023. As artificial intelligence and machine learning continue to get more sophisticated, we expect to see chatbots become the norm for simple customer service requests and “personalised shopping experience.”

Inclusivity and accessibility are more than a trend, but there is a growing need for web design to factor in the needs of people with disabilities. Having a site that every visitor can navigate and interact with is more than just part of good customer service and providing an excellent experience. It can increase conversion, boost your SEO, and help you reach a bigger audience. We are working on a couple of charity sites that will launch in summer 2023 and will be highly focused on the above – keep your eyes peeled! 🙂

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