It's hard to believe we’re already more than a week into 2023. 2022 was an extremely progressive period for the mobile app industry. Thousands of new apps were created monthly, and there were over 255 billion app downloads across the entire year. We’re seeing mobile apps continue to be the most significant platform of the digital era, and the foundation of the future. While most don’t anticipate the growth of mobile apps to slow down any time soon, one thing we can anticipate is some major change in the UX and UI design field. What makes a mobile app successful really comes down to the people who use it, and their preferred experiences. As design trends shift with society and culture, mobile apps need to adjust to fit the modern needs of their consumers. Last year, we predicted a focus on personalization and simplicity, but there are new trends that may take precedence this year. Below we will explore trends in both UX and UI Design for mobile apps forecasted for 2023.
UX and UI are two very different things, though they are easily confused and overlapped. User Experience (UX) design focuses on the overall interaction and experience users have within the platform. A good or bad experience could come down to things like how easy it is to interact in the app, how smooth transitions within the app are, loading time, and so on. UX Design tends to focus on research since the objectives of UX will be to better serve business goals and objectives. UX trends, once implemented, are essentially what will make users more likely to interact, purchase, click, and re-open on a regular basis. Some of the UX trends you can expect to see in 2023 are:
The presence of AR has been slowly increasing over the years and is now incorporated into a lot of regularly used mobile apps. Take Snapchat for example, it uses augmented reality to create snap lenses with different filters. While Snapchat has paved the way for social AR, other platforms are hopping on board. Instagram is testing AR make-up try-on with brand partners, and Tik-Tok is slowly rolling out its AR Shopify partnership features. We’re seeing AR’s presence growing quite quickly, and consumers are loving it. AR can enhance the experience and make certain apps more beneficial for users. While there are plenty of non-social markets that could benefit from AR, 2023 will likely see the biggest increase among shopping apps. Users would be able to use AR to “try on” clothing and accessories while online shopping, which would completely change the e-commerce market.
Traditionally, mobile apps have implemented vertical scrolling in their web design, which creates a long content effect. While there haven’t been many issues with this type of scrolling, it's better suited for websites with heavy content. Horizontal scrolling can fit more content into a smaller space, and allow users to access information quicker, and with less effort. Vertical scrolling may be appropriate for content apps, such as news summaries and articles. Modern apps with swiping features, and a heavier image-to-content ratio will create a better UX with horizontal scrolling. In 2023, horizontal scrolling will likely dominate vertical, or be used in combination with vertical for apps that have multiple features within their platform. This is known as bidirectional scrolling and is used in popular streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu. For an even better UX, some mobile apps may allow users to opt into their preference, and incorporate the ability to change the scrolling.
Voice features are standard in today’s society, and many people use Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant in their daily lives. Mobile app designers recognize the benefits of voice interactions, and the convenience they can provide for users. In 2023, the number of apps that include voice interactions directly into their platform will increase dramatically. Voice User Interfaces (VUI’s) have been a popular trend since 2021, and are evolving far past traditional chat boxes and can now serve as conversational marketing, and AI assistance. Mobile UX trend research shows that VUIs will soon be not just preferred, but expected. They are more convenient and 3x faster than typing, plus they help mobile apps reach a wider audience. With their multi-lingual capabilities, easy use while multi-tasking, and ability to help those with certain disabilities, VUIs are the future of UX.
While UX looks for solutions-based design features, UI focuses on the look and layout of the mobile app. UI design incorporates aspects of design like color, branding, font, and themes. It's just as important as UX, as the look of a mobile app can make or break a user's desire to keep using it. UI trends change constantly, and mobile apps utilize these trends to make their mobile apps more attractive, and naturally enticing to new and existing users. Below are some UI trends for mobile apps in 2023:
Believe it or not, font plays a huge role in the overall app experience. It controls how easily someone can read information, what content sticks out over others, and how dense a text is perceived. For information that is less prevalent, small text is usually the preference. For headers, the large text is commonly used. However, in 2023 - large text will be used for more than just headers. Entire typography scales are trending toward more large and bold fonts, to increase the reading experience and decrease the amount of text needed to portray a message. The benefits of large font are readability, scroll encouragement, cohesiveness, and visual attractivity. Large font typography needs to be executed in a specific way in order to be successful, but when done right, it makes for a visually beautiful mobile app that stands out.
Gradient color schemes are when different shades of colors bleed into one another, creating a beautiful blending effect that was highly popular in the 80s and 90s. Modern pop culture has begun to adopt a lot of style trends from that time period, and this year will be the year mobile apps take advantage of this style.
When it comes to mobile apps, gradient color schemes will likely utilize bright and happy gradients that bring an air of joy and enthusiasm. Last year, minimalism was most popular with neutral color schemes and heavy beige tones, but color is making a comeback. The incorporation of gradients will re-introduce the nostalgic themes and help mobile apps speak to a younger generation of users.
Colors and fonts may be the foundation of UI design, but small additions to a mobile platform’s visual appearance can make or break the experience for users. 2022 saw a huge increase in the use of sketches and illustrations. Everything from books, poetry collections, social media posts, and websites utilized small illustrations and fun animations to up their presence. Mobile apps have already begun incorporating on-brand drawings into their platforms, and they’ve become a fan favorite.
Illustrations and animations are the perfect addition, as they can fit any brand and theme. If a brand is focused on minimalism, a thin line sketch can add a bit of personality without overcrowding the visual. For brands that want a more maximalist design, large animals and creative graphics can create a truly unique in-app visual experience. 2022 taught the design industry that users want unique experiences, and ensuring your app provides different visuals than other apps will make it more successful.
Invemo LLC is passionate about creating mobile apps that or both visually beautiful, and technically proficient. Our team is experts in all aspects of mobile app development and will take your vision and turn it into a reality. In 2023, a mobile app is a necessary addition to any business, regardless of industry and product. So, if you’re ready to take your business to the next level, and finally build your dream mobile app, reach out to Invemo LLC.