Usability in 2023: our UX/UI predictions
As the year draws to a close, the inevitable lists that insist on highlighting the best books, films, restaurants, clubs, TV series or bus trips start to appear. It’s that time of year, and at Flaticon we’ve got no intention of renouncing our right to make our own list – but logically, we’ll be focusing on what matters most to us! But here’s the difference – instead of doing it looking backwards, we’re going to do it looking forward, to the year ahead. In other words, we’re staying true to our style and our vocation of helping you keep up to date.
We aim to highlight trends and anticipate with useful tips for the dynamic and changing world of graphic design. To ensure that our list, as well as being cool, has a certain usability, we’ve built it around exactly that – usability.
We’ve been soaking up what’s been going on recently. The 2022 guidelines have left their trails behind them, and now we’re predicting where they’ll be heading in the coming months. Our theory is that 2023 will continue to move in the direction of making the user’s life and experience even easier.
Here are our oracle’s UX/UI design predictions. Put them somewhere you can see them!
Readers who are older than me may remember the distant past when the mobile phone was seen as a luxury accessory. Those who had one used to practice textbook posing before the word was used for absolutely everything. It was considered impolite to pay attention to it in the company of other people and all that. Those were the days…
The fact is that the mobile phone has long been an extension of the hand. It’s packed with useful apps (and some not so useful). And if you can’t beat them, join them! We use apps to socialize with friends, book flights and restaurants, buy whatever, flirt… Everything points to the fact that in this market on the verge of saturation, the apps we use most are not the best but the ones we find most convenient. Obvious, right?
Usability is key to good design and it is essential that it is applied to the interface of that device that you’re never separated from. In the war that rages between products in all price and performance ranges, the army that prioritizes mobile-first design and helps you do what you need to do on the go, as comfortably as possible, wins.
We highlighted this a few weeks ago in this post on the Freepik blog. In fact, the desire to simplify and strip our designs of any accessory or decorative element in pursuit of maximum usability has brought us this far. Brutalism is trending.
Those flashy HTML interfaces are back, just like that, with no anesthetic, as if we were all just starting out in this web page design business. Straight lines everywhere, the demanding, repetitive geometric shapes, the stacked blocks, the gray tones and the pure and simple information are back. Every element placed seemingly wherever it fell. Rough and ready, in other words.
We’re seeing the embodiment of the most basic approach to whatever story we want to tell, as if we were dealing with version 1.0 – to the point, no frills. Just like an outline sketched for internal use that is put on display exactly as is. In other words, exactly like architectural brutalism. And that is precisely where its beauty lies. This path that seems to turn its back on design is moving towards a proposal as interesting as anti-design: was it usability you were after? Well, take this pile of mugs.
… Hello, scrollytelling. And that completes the trendy headlines for 2023. For some time now, we’ve found ourselves scrolling tirelessly through endless interfaces to get to the bottom of our need or curiosity or to acquire our product or service. But now our fingers are starting to show signs of fatigue.
And there’s more to life than the feed or a social media TL, where there’s no alternative to scrolling through updates and content that is generated endlessly until the end of time. We have to come up with alternatives. We need to find new ways to ensure that scrolling (which is still fun) doesn’t end up wearing us out. The solution seems to be leading us towards immersive scrolling. Some have already nailed scrolling to the cross and have invented a new god to worship: scrollytelling.
This happy idea is defined by its very name, a combination of scrolling and storytelling. The key is to transmit information with an interesting message and a format that generates interest in the audience. It’s about deploying a vertical story that encourages you to keep scrolling because it includes recognizable narrative elements that generate interest and provide a hook. Of course it’s complete with its twists and cliffhangers (almost always visual in the form of graphics or animations). Perfect for binge watching. Or “bingescrolling”.
If you’ve read this far, it should be clear that accessibility will be the norm. It’s about making things easy on every level. And there are quite a few…
Let’s start with the dry stuff. Data must be made attractive to users. Users love their apps. Apps collect data. And data is shown to users frequently. This feedback should be as easy to digest as lactose-free milk. You UX/UI managers – you need to get on top of this by understanding that all information is feedback.
The app provides feedback via smartwatch, tablet, mobile or whatever device. Make sure your design is in tune with its context. And avoid stumbling blocks. Work to create a more emotional design that takes into account that the screen of your desktop PC is not the same as the screen you’re wearing on your wrist. What’s more, why not try to make every design suitable for wearables?
Keep in mind the elements at your disposal to confirm the user’s identity and guarantee their privacy. ID authentication through fingerprints, retina scanning, face scanning, passwords… Each presents its own challenges. The challenge is to make this function as convenient as possible while keeping security intact at all times.
Let’s face it, it’s relatively easy to predict the needs of the average user and implement them in an application. But what about a person with a disability? The issue is as sensitive as it is complex, and you can’t push it to one side if you want your designs to aspire to the well-being of all.
And while we’re at it…
There are many other concepts in the air that will be talked about in UX/UI designs in the coming months. From the importance of 3D images to gradient designs, passing through the notions of Mixed Reality, Augmented Reality and (of course) the Metaverse. We’re name dropping them here, so you can’t say we didn’t warn you.
In any case, don’t let 2023 catch you off guard. Start by applying the story we’ve just told you. And if your project needs UX/UI icons designed in the same style, drop into our UIcons section, Flaticon’s interface icons.
UIcons is a source of more than 8,600 high-performance vector icons. They only require an HTTP request, are easy to edit with CSS and feature adaptive in design – optimal on any platform and for any project, large or small. And with that, we hope that your prediction for 2023 is as optimistic as the one we’re sharing here.