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In: Web Design, Website Development

Feature-rich, visually mesmerizing websites will be all the rage for UX design trends in 2023. We’re in a world where consumers are increasingly seeking entertainment from brands to escape the ordinary pressures of day-to-day life—and sites are adapting accordingly. Designers are looking to artificial intelligence, hover effects and new navigation styles to create stimulating brand experiences. Enhancing user interaction with immersive 3D environments, here are the top upcoming UX design trends for 2023.

8 tantalizing UX design trends for 2023:

  1. Product reveal hover effect
  2. Sophisticated scrolling
  3. Brand experience challenges dwell time
  4. Interactive, nutty navigation
  5. Increased entertainment for users
  6. AI sophisticates the chatbot sphere
  7. Voice-to-speech search or assistance
  8. Overstimulation

1. Product reveal hover effect

In 2023, UX design trends prioritize the experience itself over ease of use and speed. It’s about making unique memories with brand experiences over fast user journeys. Using hover effects for your product imagery is a unique piece of this interactive puzzle.

Simply Chocolate encourages visitors to click a chocolate bar to reveal it, via Simply Chocolate.

So what does it look like? An animated product reveal in the shape of a hover effect unveils a product, or new information about a product, to users. It shows users how to use it and gives more information about its features. Many websites let users customize the product, giving them a better idea of how it would appear in a physical space without visiting a showroom or store. This can be especially useful for apparel stores and car shopping. Some designers may even use this effect to tease upcoming products or services. It’s a fun way to leave visitors craving for more intimacy with your brand, while getting them to click a call to action, such as subscribing for updates via email.

Animated GIF of equipment manufacturer Icam INOX’s landing page, revealing the modularity of its products on mouse hover.
Equipment manufacturer Icam lets users hover over elements on its website to show how modular they are, by Icam INOX, via Awwwards.
GIF scrolling through the webpage of an upcoming Volvo vehicle which reveals the interior as the user navigates down the page.
Volvo and many other automobile makers use hover and scroll effects to reveal the interior and other features of their vehicles, via Volvo.

When designing with the reveal hover effect, think about intent. Do you want to tease a future product, teach visitors how to use it, or showcase innovative features? Design with purpose. The effect should lead to a performative action. Perhaps users want to learn more about the product or service, purchase it, or book an in-person appointment. It’s a novel way of showing the unknown: for example, an apartment listing on an app might have pictures that reveal what a closet or storage room would look like. Adding this layer of interactivity keeps users engaged and helps your product stand out amongst the crowd.

Animated GIF of a VIITA watch product reveal on VIITA’s website.
VIITA Watches reveals its watches by a product reveal hover effect, by VIITA Watches, via Awwwards.

2. Sophisticated Scrolling

We mentioned cutting-edge scrolling as a UX design trend last year and this year, it’s evolved to be even bigger. Think about how you interact with your favorite apps and websites. You scroll through them in many ways: asymmetrically, multi-directionally, and even combine scrolling with rotating and zooming gestures.

Landing page of Agence Cartier’s site showing many different scrolling mechanisms.
Agence Cartier ‘s site uses a plethora of scrolling mechanisms, via Agence Cartier.

Modern sites feature parallax scrolling, a technique that enhances depth and uses multiple scrolling speeds for elements within a single page. In particular, the background scrolls at a different pace than the primary content. Sophisticated scrolling goes one step further than this, sprinkling in extra layers of entertainment and stimulation with unique imagery. It gives users more information about your brand personality, meaning they can hopefully connect on a more personal level.

Landing page of Repeat, combining parallax scrolling with animation for a fun look.
This website uses parallax scrolling combined with animation for a more immersive feel, via Repeat.
GIF of horizontally scrolling through cards displayed on a creative agency’s site.
Scrolling horizontally is making a comeback, especially for creative sites, via Humana Studio.
Digital rendition where a visitor can scroll, pan, and zoom into the artwork.
Scrolling lends itself to new ways of experiencing digital art, via Mental Canvas.

3. Brand experience challenges dwell time

With ‘dwell time’ meaning the time a user spends on the site, this UX design trend refers to the prioritization of a unique, intimate and memorable brand experience—over the site being designed to help users find a CTA the quickest. Brands want to show off their personalities by encouraging more interactions with users, often using multiple technologies like artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

Landing page of a designer’s portfolio where the user can bike through sections of a site consisting of 3D elements.
Many new websites are prioritizing experience over usability, such as this interactive portfolio where you can bike through sections of the site, via Joshua’s World.
Shoemaker Ateliers Heschung has an interactive website that tells the story of the brand and its history.
Shoemaker Ateliers Heschung has an interactive website that tells the story of the brand and its history, via Ateliers Heschung.

With people across the globe averaging almost 7 hours online daily, it’s no wonder that we’re wanting our time online to be more meaningful and engaging. A domino effect has occurred since the Metaverse was first announced, and brands are creating immersive experiences with their digital presence, to give users more agency, fulfillment and individual expression. Use this trend responsibly: if your target audience consists primarily of mobile users or those with slower internet speeds, consider designing a more traditional experience.

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A website about Masar in Mecca, where users can explore an online experience to learn more about Masar, via Masar Destination.
Star Guardian’s website features a rich experience about the video game.
Immersive websites can be a great way to market a video game, via Star Guardian.

4. Interactive, nutty navigation

Just as how we scroll through apps and sites, navigating them is becoming more pleasurable. Interactive, nutty navigation is another top UX design trend, adorned with animations, fun menus, hover effects, and unconventional layouts.

Alfa Charlie creative agency adds elegant interactivity in their hamburger menu.
This creative agency adds elegant interactivity in their hamburger menu, via Alfa Charlie.

These memorable navigation features make websites feel like the user is on an adventure, echoing our previous trend to boost their engagement with your site. It incorporates ornate scrolling, hover, and reveal effects on navigational menus to divert away from what we’re used to, i.e. clicking through the static pages of another hamburger. It spices up your dropdowns and interactively guides your user from point A to B as intuitively as possible.

NBA franchise Utah Jazz has a fun site for their throwback jerseys featuring interactive, yet unusually designed navigation.
NBA franchise Utah Jazz has a fun site for their throwback jerseys featuring interactive, yet unusually designed navigation, via Utah Jazz.
Community page of RLY which uses interactive circles for social links.
RLY uses interactive circles as a way to navigate their social links, via RLY.
Screenshot of a game with steampunk aesthetic that pays tribute to Georges Méliès' 1902 film, A Trip to the Moon.
A website that pays homage to Georges Méliès’ 1902 film, A Trip to the Moon, which uses game mechanics for navigation, via Monochrome Paris.

5. Turning negatives into positives

With the heightened uncertainty of current events, many users are looking for a sense of relief and entertainment online… even when they get lost! With 404 and loading pages specifically, it’s all about turning the frustrating error messages and wait times into positive experiences.

404 page with a black background, white text, and floating bubbles with images.
This 404 page has floating bubbles with images, adding a touch of creativity to a page one wouldn’t expect, by The First The Last, Irina Horbunova, and Shulgina Julia, via Awwwards.
Screenshot of a portfolio with an interactive cursor.
While loading, this website has a cute cursor that chirps and releases music notes when clicked, via Fils De Graphiste.

Brands must keep in mind that 25% of internet surfers will leave any site that takes more than 4 seconds to load. So if a 404 or loading page is going to happen, make sure it includes silly animations, playful videos, or funny imagery that are in line with your brand personality. By adding a touch of interactivity, it’ll keep visitors engaged and entertained by your brand experience; rather than have them check out.

An image gallery that reveals as the page loads.
An image gallery that reveals as the page loads, by Margot Priolet, via Awwwards.

For example, if you have a content-heavy experience that requires a loading indicator, give your users a fun, simple task to do in the meantime. Increasing cohesion and consistency in your design, it shows off your brand’s funny, human side. It’s also important to give the user an action, to tell them how to properly proceed. But you can incorporate this into your animation. Visitors will appreciate all the attention to detail and care taken into every aspect of the experience, building trust in your brand and connecting with your users on an emotional level.

A 404 page which uses playful imagery and text to reference a golf mistake.
A 404 page which uses playful imagery and text to reference a golf mistake, by Wishnewsky.

6. AI sophisticates the chatbot sphere

As advancements in AI become mainstream, user expectations for chatbots have skyrocketed. People want to feel they’re talking to a human so there’s a strong push for chatbots to feel natural rather than clunky and limited. Once again, design comes to the rescue: 2023 foresees more chatbots integrated into apps and websites.

Mockup of a pet owners app showing a user interacting with a chatbot for help getting the right service for their pet.
A cute app pet owners app which uses a chatbot to guide users for the proper service, by Nina Mikhaylova, via Behance

As the need for high-quality customer service arises, the tech world is heavily investing into machine learning. AI and machine learning will lead to significant improvements in human-like chatbot conversations and improved customer experiences. These chatbot enhancements include more natural-sounding language, greater command of grammar, more complex vocabulary, and even the ability to interpret spelling errors and typos.

Mockups of a crypto app which uses AI-powered chat to help users resolve problems and learn more about digital investments.
This crypto app uses AI-powered chat to help users resolve problems and learn more about digital investments, by UI JEDI, Dmitriy Ratushniak, Michael Chadchenko, and Diana Tsalan, via Behance.

If chatbots can solve problems quickly and easily for the user, your user is more likely to trust your brand. They’ll have a good experience with your customer service and be more inclined to share this sentiment with their friends. So make your chatbot easier for users to interact with. Use AI to ensure the bot asks the right questions at the right times and enjoy reaping the benefits of a loyal customer base.

Domino’s Pizza lets hungry users order pizza through a chatbot.
Domino’s Pizza lets hungry users order pizza through a chatbot, via Dominos.

7. Voice-to-speech search or assistance

Machine learning is also empowering voice-to-speech search and assistance, a novel UX design trend. Greater demand for smartwatches requires milestone breakthroughs in voice AI technology, which explains its commercialization. It’s evolving to interpret accents more accurately and support multiple languages for better inclusivity and reduce user frustration.

Mockup of a voice assistant app which guides the user and transcribes what they say.
A voice assistant app which guides the user and transcribes what they say, by Toghrul Afandi, via Behance.

Your voice assistant’s dialogue should be conversational yet informative. Let users know their request was acknowledged by replying with friendly, informal language. It could be something as simple as an “ok,” or “got it”. Don’t avoid mistakes—if the voice assistant can’t process the user’s speech, design a response to handle this as you would in normal conversation. It could be “sorry, what was that you said?” or “please can you repeat the question?” The more human the assistant sounds, the bigger the emotional connection your brand will enjoy with your user. After all, everyone wants to be understood.

8. Overstimulation

Have you seen a website lately, whose aesthetic was so brash, bright and obtrusive, you had to pause for a second to take it in? 2023 will witness many Gen-Z brands champion maximalism so devoutly, it’ll leave you stunned.

A website which uses magenta and playful imagery with a giant, rapidly-changing slideshow of their members.
This feminist-activist publication site has over-the-top effects which can feel overwhelming, yet aesthetically pleasing, via Polyester.

Derailing the design rules we’ve become accustomed to, designers are dropping minimalism left, right and center; especially when the brand is targeting younger audiences. Facing a gapingly uncertain future, Gen-Zs are looking for hope, comfort and togetherness. They’re turning to bright colors for strength and optimism and buying into brands that get them.

A landing page with bold text, animated elements, a scrolling bottom ticker, and video background. It’s a lot.
This website uses animation, bold fonts, and a video background to create an overwhelming atmosphere, via Mac-Pam.

When you think about how instantaneous many of this demographic experience their lives—from swiping through dates, doing their groceries or touring a gallery—without even leaving their bed, it’s understandable that brands are having to go above and beyond to satisfy their senses. When it comes to digital design, that means overstimulating users with an aesthetic so individual, authentic and strong, it almost knocks you off the seat. It’s as if white space didn’t exist and balance was considered tragic, the design trend of overstimulation includes animating every corner of your site.

Be aware that these sites can negatively impact accessibility. So ensure all text is easily legible, audio and video playback can be muted or paused, with your images including alt text.

Landing page of Luaka Bop with a striking yellow background paired with a webpage border and old school imagery to stimulate the senses.
Luaka Bop uses a striking yellow background paired with a webpage border and old school imagery to stimulate the senses, via Luaka Bop.
Screenshot of Gucci Flora’s immersive, overwhelming digital experience.
Gucci has an immersive, yet overwhelming interactive website that is bright and vibrant, via Gucci Flora.

Breaking the law… of UX

In 2023, websites will demand your attention more than ever. Complex, overwhelming interactive experiences combined with a plethora of special hover and scrolling effects work together to dominate every millimeter of web pages. Breaking the laws of UX, these trends are starting a revolution, and we are here for it.

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