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User experience design trends for WordPress sites

The final quarter of 2022 saw the explosion of AI-generated art. The rapid advancement showcased by applications such as Stable Diffusion and Midjourney was remarkable (if also a bit concerning). 

What impact will AI have on future UX design trends? Can we expect to see more AI-based WordPress plugins in 2023? How can you use some of these design trends to improve your WordPress site? 

The following guide will tackle these questions and more.

Why is good UX design important for your WordPress website?

Just as clothes make the man, user experience is key to your business’s brand. It’s your website’s personality. In most cases, your website is representative or spokesperson of your business. It’s there to convince people to buy your products and/or services. 

Ultimately, your website (WordPress or not) is in perpetual conversation with its visitors. Your user experience (UX) determines how effective that conversation is. 

Specifically, good UX does the following:

  • Inspires a positive emotional response
  • Gives visitors a sense of control
  • Contains and provides relevant content
  • Makes its content easy to access and comprehend    

When deciding on which UX tools or design choices to integrate into your website, you must ensure that they adhere to one or more of the above principles. With that being said, the rest of this guide will be dedicated to exploring which user experience design trends to add to your WordPress site in 2023.   

1. Simplified logo designs

Logos aren’t just a feature of your WordPress website. They represent your brand in its entirety. Thus, logos must be designed in such a way that they purchase permanent real estate in the minds of your website’s visitors. 

In the last five years, we’ve seen established brands begin to simplify their logos. We’ve seen them abandon material designs in their logos. With the ephemeral nature of internet content, simplified logos are easier to remember and replicate. 

Brands and websites redesigning their logos with simple lines, colors, and shapes is a trend that is guaranteed to continue in 2023. It’s a small change that you should consider incorporating into your website so that it can remain relevant. 

If you need a logo for your site, check out Namecheap’s Logo Maker app.

2. Parallax scrolling

Parallax scrolling isn’t a new design trend. It’s been implemented in some very creative ways over the years. In its most basic implementation, parallax involves a fixed image that sticks in the background as the visitor scrolls down. Alternatively, the background image can move up (or down) slower than the rate at which the visitor is scrolling. Again, it’s nothing new.

For a while, a few industry experts had begun to speculate that Parallax would soon die out because it was a bad design. However, Parallax is still used today because it increases visitor engagement (along with the time spent on pages) and reduces bounce. It can be used to produce some interesting effects when paired with your site’s other visual elements. 

As such, it’s a user experience design trend that will surely continue into 2023. There are a host of great WordPress themes you can use to facilitate Parallax scrolling and modernize your WP website. 

#3. More whitespace

Contrasting and the use of negative and positive space have been concepts in art and design for years. One of the most famous uses of negative space is the FedEx Logo where an arrow is formed between the letters E and X. This is what is known as a figure-ground reversal.

FedEx logo design on laptop

This trend ties into how brands are redesigning their logos to be more minimalistic. Employing more whitespace in your WordPress website and apps can have the same effect. It can reduce bounce rates by helping visitors identify important text. This text can be highlighted in dark-colored or emboldened lettering. 

Additionally, since whitespace makes your website less busy by eliminating unnecessary visual clutter, it can reduce load times. This covers multiple aspects of UX design. Not only does it make your website easier on the eye but it increases its usability. Consequently, we can see more websites begin to adopt a flat design with more practical uses of whitespace in 2023.

#4. Immersion

While Meta suffered heavy losses in 2022, the dream of the Metaverse isn’t dead yet. Ultimately, it’s a dream that is built on technological immersion. This design trend suggests that we will continue to see more immersive features added to apps and websites. 

One way immersion has been achieved is through 3D and pseudo-3D visual elements. Adding soft shadows to text and raising buttons aren’t new techniques. However, they are made more available thanks to advancements in programming. Again, WordPress has a good selection of themes for you to use. This is another technique that can be used to modernize your website and make it appear as if it is Web3-ready

Making your website VR-navigable or adding panoramic visual elements and other virtual reality features can also make your WordPress more immersive. Plugins such as WP VR allow you to build virtual tours. This allows them to see your product in 3D. This can increase your website engagement and conversion rates. 

#5. Split screen

Split screens are visual elements we’ve seen paired with Parallax scrolling to create websites with more dynamism. As the name indicates, split-screen design describes separating the user interface into two interactive but related displays. It makes it easier to compare two products or categories on the website. 

For instance, split screens can be useful to apparel site owners who cater to the male/female binary. One side of the screen can display items meant for men and the other items for women. The screens can be asymmetric where more space is given to the side that currently holds the visitor’s (click) attention.

Again, this feature can be a pragmatic UX design that improves your website’s usability. It’s a trend that we can expect to see more of in 2023.

#6. Subtle micro-animations and background effects

Adobe Flash died in 2021 (RIP), but it left an indelible impact on the internet. While HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS3 could be used to handle animations and videos out of the box, many website designers had become reluctant to add animations and videos. 

However, with GIFs and short video content becoming so popular on social media, moving visuals may soon experience a major revival.

Site owners can animate backgrounds in a re-looping fashion. Profile pictures/hero images can move when hovered or clicked upon. Ultimately, this is another technique employed to make websites more immersive. 

With that being said, it’s important to steer clear of videos that Autoplay when you land on pages. This has always been a big no-no, and it will continue to be so in the coming years.

Different functions to boost accessibility

#7. More accessibility

Technology should be inclusive. It should cater to people from all social classes. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 16% of the world’s population lives with a significant disability. Over the last few years, we’ve seen more brands further their PR and social presence by adding features that make their websites and marketing material more accessible to those with disabilities. Whether it’s screen readers, dark mode, easy-to-read typography, or extensive tools for website customization, it’s a must that site designers make provisions in 2023. 

Again, as a WordPress website owner, you’re not alone. There are a plethora of accessibility plug-ins you can turn to make your site much more accessible. A more accessible website doesn’t just make your website more welcoming to those with disabilities, it improves the user experience for all users.        

Are you ready to improve your website UX?

The biggest user experience design trend to consider adding to your WordPress site in 2023 is minimalism. It covers so many other concepts and other trends. 

For instance, minimalist websites are more accessible to visually impaired individuals. Minimalistic websites have shorter load times. It’s also easier to add other visual elements such as parallax scrolling and split screen to sites that aren’t too visually busy. Nevertheless, you don’t have to settle on one trend. Using the latest frameworks, plugins, and themes can go a long way in ensuring that your website is UX-fashionable and up-to-date.  

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Gary Stevens avatar

Gary Stevens

Gary Stevens is a web developer and technology writer. He's a part-time blockchain geek and a volunteer working for the Ethereum foundation as well as an active Github contributor. More articles written by Gary.

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