With a new year comes new and improved ways to design websites. 2023 will bring us an interesting mix of website trends — ones that address larger scale scenarios and issues like accessibility, UX, and responsiveness.
In the following post, we’re going to look at the 5 newest web design trends along with 10 pre-built websites from BeTheme that demonstrate how to execute them.
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5 new web design trends for 2023
In order to create more pleasant digital experiences, web designers need to think more broadly about what impacts (both positively and negatively) those experiences. The following web design trends for 2023 will address these larger issues:
1. Hoverable iconography
One of the main priorities in web design is to create interfaces that are so intuitive that anyone can interact with them. However, some of the shortcuts used in web design — especially when it comes to iconography — can create obstacles for certain users and inhibit accessibility.
Some icons have indisputable interpretations. For instance, icons used in website headers have become so commonplace that most, if not all, users know what purpose they serve and what will happen when they click on them.
On the BeBiker 4 website, for example, there are three icons on the left for:
So long as the same iconography is used from site to site, users will have little doubt about how to use this part of a website header.
When it comes to other, less frequently used icons, however, you have to think about the diversity of your users and how they may interpret them differently. In order to improve user confidence when interacting with website iconography in 2023, web designers will start to include hover-triggered helper text over icons when it’s needed.
You can see an example of this trend on the BeJeweler 2 site:
In addition to revealing helper text when users hover over product icons, the text also appears when users hover over variant swatches. This leaves no room for interpretation and will ensure that every user can confidently interact with website content going forward.
2. More social proof
Trust is an important element in relationship building — be it in personal relationships or the professional ones that brands have with customers.
With the website often serving as the first touchpoint between consumers and brands, trust building needs to begin there. In 2023, web designers will utilize social proof and trust marks to do this.
There are a variety of ways to use these trust builders on websites. One of the most common ways is to include a page on the site and a section on the home page dedicated to real customer testimonials and/or reviews, as the BeDoctor site does:
This particular example showcases three different types of content that can help build trust with website visitors:
An overall customer satisfaction rate
A customer testimonial
An average customer rating — which can link out to a ratings platform like Google or Yelp
For some businesses, it may be too early in the game to have generated a substantial amount of social proof and so you don’t have anything to show off on the site. If that’s the case, trust marks are the way to go.
Trust marks can come in the form of things like security seals — like an icon placed next to the “Checkout” button so you can assure visitors that their transactions will be secure. Another way to boost credibility and trust is to add context to website claims as BeMarketing 2 demonstrates:
The asterisk next to the headline’s claim is expanded upon down below. You could use this space to provide a disclaimer or to add a link to a page that provides proof of the claim.
3. Mobile-specific features
With each passing year, responsive design becomes easier to do as the general rules are well-known and easy to follow. Also, the vast majority of WordPress themes are built to be responsive, which takes a lot of the guesswork out of it for designers.
However, this has led to some stagnation when it comes to mobile web design. While responsive websites provide a good user experience, web designers aren’t really encouraged to come up with creative solutions to make them even greater.
In 2023, that’s going to change as more attention gets paid to the mobile experience. Specifically, how designers build out features that address mobile-specific friction and obstacles.
One way we’ll see this play out is in the navigation design. Take the BeLanguage 4 pre-built website, for example:
The page links from the regular, non-mobile website are all present. However, The “Call us” button appears at the top of the list of links on mobile. On desktop, it appears at the very end.
As designers evaluate the data they have on user habits and goals for the different devices they use, we’ll see small deviations in the way major components like the navigation are designed.
More and more websites will adopt mobile app-like features in 2023, too. BeFurnitureStore has done this. Rather than retain the multi-level header design from the desktop site, the top bar that contains the account, cart, and favorite links now appears as a sticky bottom bar:
Web designers that transform and revolutionize the mobile web experience will be able to position their websites as superior offerings in the years to come.
4. Shape texturization
Many years ago, skeuomorphism brought all kinds of real world textures to our computer and phone screens. However, those textured backgrounds soon became seen as extraneous and distracting, and so the design trend fell by the wayside.
Just because one web design trend fell out of favor doesn’t make the idea of digital texturization a bad one though.
In 2023, web designers will experiment with using organic shapes to add small and, more importantly, strategic textures to their designs. You’ll find an example of this on the BeRenovate 5 website:
Rounded shapes and lines appear in the background throughout the pages of the site. They make the UI visually interesting without overpowering the design.
Digital texturization can also be strategic. BeCoaching 3 is a good example of how to draw users’ attention to certain areas of your pages:
There are two shapes used throughout the one-page website. This consistency in texturization will make it easier to direct visitors’ eyes to where you want them to go.
The shapes often appear closer to the right margin of the page. Since users’ eyes are commonly attracted to the left margin, these shapes should increase how much content the users see and interact with.
5. Supplemental video
Users have different preferences when it comes to how they ingest content online. Blogs, for instance, are good for people who want to take the time to read something. Video posts or vlogs, on the other hand, are ideal for those who want to watch or listen along.
That said, it’s not like you can provide an audiovisual alternative to every piece of content you place on your web pages. For starters, the design could easily get out of hand as you try to deliver a personalized content consumption experience. What’s more, videos tend to be heavy files and they can easily degrade loading speeds as you add more of them.
What designers are going to do in 2023 is include a video alternative or supplemental video only when it matters.
For instance, halfway down the home page of the BeBusiness 6 site is a full-width video section. It’s impossible to miss:
This video section could be used for a variety of purposes. To show off video testimonials. To summarize all the content that came before it. To provide an easy-to-follow explainer for the product’s technical features. And so on.
Supplemental video doesn’t need to take up too much room in order to be effective either. For instance, the BePregnancy hero section has a small cutout where the video resides:
The instantly recognizable “Play” button lets visitors know there’s something to watch there (if that’s what they want to do). Again, this content can serve a wide variety of purposes.
As a bonus, designers can help improve page loading speeds by using video sparingly and strategically while moving away from autoplay video backgrounds and sections.
What do you think of these website design trends?
Often, lists of web design trends cover superficial changes that will take place on websites — fun color trends, experimental typography uses, animation and special effects, etc. In 2023, however, web designers are going to spend more time focusing on trends that improve the web as a whole and lead to more meaningful user engagements.
Accessibility, responsiveness, trust building — these are no simple matters. That said, when you use BeTheme to build websites, they will feel simple because they’ve already been accounted for in many of the 650+ pre-built sites included in the WordPress theme.