Top UX Design Trends that Will Shape 2023

When the world could use a break the advent of the war in Ukraine and related political instabilities significantly impacted 2022, with the economy being one of the most affected areas. The UX industry is not exempt from the resulting challenges, and will likely continue to face new ones and UX trends in 2023.

This makes it a good time to take a step back and consider bigger questions. 

What’s happening in UX design in 2023? Are we doing the right things? What’s really important to us, as UX professionals? How can we make change happen? And how can we make sure it’s a change for the better?

Latest UX trends in 2023:

  1. Demand for Generalist UXers
  2. Adapting and Using AI
  3. Proper Critical Thinking and Good Ethics
  4. More Democratic Design Tools
  5. Increased UX Maturity

UI design vs UX design trends

We shouldn’t ask those questions only when we’re thinking about how to create products and interfaces that are relevant in 2023. If you’re looking for ideas for that, I highly recommend 2023 UI trends.

No doubt that it’s important to keep our products and our visual language updated for the 21st century. However, it’s also important to go beyond the UI and think about the craft of UX in 2023. 

So, we should also ask those questions about the UX design industry overall. Those answers will shape a lot of how we create and the conditions under which we create. 

What can we look forward to in the industry? What are the underlying UX trends for the following year?

Yet, to understand where we’re going, we need to understand where we’re coming from. Before we dive into the future, let’s take a look at the year that’s passed.

2022 UX trends

One of the important UX trends that came up in 2022 was the necessity of improving UX education. On the one hand, along with the big influx of entry-level professionals, we’ve witnessed UX newcomers hit the market unprepared after attending insufficient Bootcamp programs, also known as the fast food of UX education, which can lead to undesired consequences both for them and for the businesses they work with.

Together with that, companies themselves are often not well educated about UX and have unrealistic expectations about what the role of a UX professional is really about.

Improving UX education will remain a trend in 2023.

Emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, have been trending in the UX industry among many other industries for the past years and will continue to impact the market for years to come.

In regards to UX, our challenge is to think of the bigger picture when working with such technologies, and focus not on their resourcefulness but on how meaningful and empathic the user experience can be. More on that as we talk about 2023 UX trends.

Last but not least, inclusivity and accessibility played a big role in UX practice in 2022 and will continue to do so. As much as we regularly advocate for the importance of designing for everyone, the shift to a more accessible and inclusive web is happening at a slower pace than it should.

Because of that, it is important that designers keep the accessibility mindset throughout their projects, and continuously learn how to become better over time at advocating for equal opportunities and experiences. 

UX trends 2023

1. The demand for generalist UXers

In 2022, as a result of global instabilities, mass layoffs took place in tech companies. These layoffs continue to happen together with hiring freezes across different industries.

As a consequence, despite the need for UX professionals in the market, current circumstances are putting a spotlight on a specific kind of professional: the generalist UXer. Differently from specialized roles like visual designer, interaction designer, and information architect, UX generalists can understand and combine different aspects of user experience in their practice.

Generalists tend to succeed in UX due to having to deal with wicked problems, defined as “a social or cultural problem that’s difficult or impossible to solve because of its complex and interconnected nature”.

Plus, when being a UX generalist, professionals can work on a different variety of design projects, gather more career opportunities, view issues from different perspectives, and naturally switch to a specialist role over time with accumulated practice.

In 2023 we'll need more UX generalist, professionals who can work on a different variety of design projects, gather more career opportunities, view issues from different perspectives.

At the same time, while professionals try to meet market demands, they have to make their mental health a priority. A study from last year shows that 42.1% of tech employees are working under the risk of burnout or already experiencing it. As more responsibilities are attributed to one single person, companies need to make sure they can provide them with a healthy work environment.

2. More AI and Learning How We Can Adapt

With the advent of AI, one of the latest trends in UX, computers are slowly showing they have the potential to replace human force in generating certain outputs, such as wireframes, copies, and even polished UIs. Although there is still a long way to go, we can expect to see more of that in the upcoming year. 

With the advent of AI, it became one of the latest trends in UX in 2023.

As happened with other innovations before, there is a curve for learning, accepting, and adopting such disruptive technologies. On the bright side, they bring opportunities for improving UX productivity – (often tedious) parts of our work may be allocated to computers, while the spotlight in UX practice shifts towards soft skills.

Emerging technologies are here to stay and are pushing UXers to further develop their capacity for critical thinking and focus on outcomes instead of output. As we aim for an unprecedented partnership with technology, this adaptation is needed so that we can make the most of what artificial intelligence can offer while becoming even better at what it cannot do, which takes us to our next 2023 UX trend.

3. Proper Critical Thinking and Good Ethics

If the need for improving UX education was identified as a UX trend in 2022, the escalation of emergent technologies points to it again, but with slightly different reasoning: having to adapt our practice to a new reality.

Being able to follow a pre-established process or formula focused on generating outputs does not give UX professionals a competitive advantage in the emerging scenario, as machines can easily take over part of this job. Being able to critically reflect on the outcomes is the most expected superpower for UXers from now on.

While AI nails the “quantity” of solutions, it can only do so much to assess “quality”. Analyzing how the wide range of generated solutions affects users and businesses is indispensable for smart and mindful decisions to be made.

Even before getting to solutions, being fully capable of challenging the problem space and making sure companies are tackling the right issues is more important than ever. Although this was always under the expected powers of UXers, it might be taken to the next level thanks to technology.

As importantly, social responsibility and ethics are key attributes expected from UX professionals’ side. A big question to keep in mind for next year is: how can we make use of technological potential while still doing good for the people and the environment?

As much as we can try, humans’ capacity of judging and empathize cannot be taught to a computer, and that’s where we can show our value the most.


4. More Democratic Design Tools

When talking about UX trends for 2023, it’s inevitable to mention the acquisition of Figma by Adobe, which caught the design community by surprise. Key attributes that made Figma so popular among designers include its innovative collaboration resources for teamwork, being web-based and providing free access options, as well as creating an entire community around it to share and build stuff together

This kind of open and collaborative work is what the concept of open-source builds on. Open-source, very popular in software development, refers to something that can be modified by anyone because its design is publicly available

After Figma's acquisition, the attention shifted towards open-source alternatives in 2023.

In the case of open-source software, for example, no company or team owns or controls it. Whoever develops open-source software leaves its code publicly available for people to use, study, modify and distribute it. After Figma’s acquisition, the attention shifted towards open-source alternatives that have the potential to take over design practice in the future.

This means we need to be prepared for changes and seek alternative ways of working by keeping ourselves updated about what is going on and what is new in the industry. When it comes to design tools, the open-source world is definitely worth keeping an eye on as it’s the root of what made Figma such a favorite.

5. Increased UX Maturity

Last but not least, although significant progress has been made in raising UX maturity within companies, thanks to UX professionals’ constant efforts, it will continue to be a hot topic for 2023.

UX maturity plays a massive role in how likely the UX professional or team is to succeed within a company. Business leaders need to properly understand the value UX can bring to their products and services, as well as offer an appropriate structure for UX to grow and integrate with other parts of the company.

If higher levels of UX maturity can be reached, more UX-focused team settings are likely to be created and included in important strategic discussions, making the value of user experience for achieving business goals properly recognized by leaders.

To sum up this year’s UX trends…

The uncertainty brought by 2022 events influenced what comes next for 2023. As companies have fewer hiring resources, the demand increases for generalist UX professionals that can take over different aspects of the user experience. UXers might adapt to this change but they should make their mental health a top priority, and companies should thrive to offer healthier work environments and conditions.

Adopting and learning how to adapt to emerging technologies remains a challenge and one of the strongest UX trends for 2023 at the same time that it further highlights the skills we as professionals can offer that technology cannot compete with.

Moreover, UX professionals should remain open to industry changes, especially when it comes to the tools they use on a daily basis. Alternative ways of working might be needed, so being up to date with what is happening is essential, and we have learned that open source alternatives are worth keeping an eye on.

Lastly, UXers are likely to continue to seek for increased UX maturity, helping companies properly recognize the value UX brings to their businesses and consequently increase their UX capacity and UX involvement in decision-making.

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Dávid Pásztor

Founder and CEO of UX studio. Author of the book Product Design, TEDx speaker, one of Forbes 30 under 30. Enthusiastic about self-managing teams, new technologies and human-centered design.

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