Website design trends for 2023

Website design trends for 2023

It’s a fact that website design styles change from year to year. Just think about how far websites have come since the early days of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Websites used to be crammed with information, sporting such elements as left side navigation, small text, times new roman, very few images, and definitely no video. Just take a look at the WayBack Machine and you’ll get the picture.

Here is a snapshot of microsoft.com from way back in 2002:

Microsoft website design in 2002 - from the Way Back machine

Pretty ugly, don’t you think? This design is not only aesthetically unappealing, but the layout is crammed and confusing by today’s standards with the emphasis on clear messaging and easy to follow navigation.

Now here is microsoft.com in 2022:

Microsoft website design n 2022 - from the Way Back Machine

Whew! Aren’t you glad things have evolved since then?

Now let’s look at a few web design trends to expect in 2023. There won’t be a huge change from last year – like there was between 2002 and 2022 – but there are some interesting new effects to keep an eye out for.

Trend #1: User-centric design

More and more, as a web designer, you want to put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Grabbing their attention at the top of your website with an easy-to-understand message and attention-getting graphics is more and more important as the sheer number of websites in the world grows astronomically by the day. The competition, no matter what your niche, is getting more fierce.

This may require a bit of a think outside the current box. Most websites these days offer a background image banner, similar to Microsoft’s, at the top of the screen, with text over top. This can be extremely effective, especially if the image is chosen carefully and the text is written to clearly impart the benefits for the user of staying on the website, instead of heading up to the dreaded Back button. But the new trend is going to be a move to bolder presentations with lots of contrast. Microsoft’s current (2022) bold color abstract background verges on this trend, but you may want to go even a step further in 2023, to help stand out from the crowd.

2023 design trends - bold, bright messaging

Instead of a tastefully overlayed background imaged in your “hero” banner, how about a bold solid color with even bolder text? This also represents a trend toward minimalist design and extreme color contrast. It certainly gets right to the point – which may be just what your ideal client is looking for – without the distractions of stock photography, text that can be difficult to read over an image, and call to action buttons don’t contrast well. At first glance, it may not be aesthetically pleasing, but when you put on those customer slippers, you might find your attention is riveted.

Trend #2: Story-Centric Design

These days, stories are huge. Ironically, stories have been around since people have lived in caves, so it shouldn’t be anything new. And yet the idea of storytelling (as opposed to selling) has only recently become the rage. Books and entire web design philosophies have been created, such as Donald Millers’ StoryBrand. We also have Instagram stories, Facebook stories, Google web stories, and digital ads that are essentially video stories.

In terms of a website, it will be advisable to keep this concept in mind when creating the flow of a website, especially on a homepage or sales page. The story of your customer going from where they are to where they want to be is what is going to attract and retain their attention. Only then, when they have understood the transformation that can happen for them with your solution, should you invite them to buy your product, service, membership, or course.

Testimonials and case studies are also great examples of storytelling. If you can show how previous customers have used your solution to achieve a result, this is a great way to capture and retain their attention. Another continuing trend is infographics, which often tell a story or offer step by step instructions. Explainer videos usually tell a story of an example client’s journey from a starting point to a happy conclusion, with your solution as the star of the show.

Here is an explainer video from Slack.com, the team communication tool. It chronicles the tale of a team member having exhausting days trying to communicate in person with colleagues, through to days of fun and freedom by virtue of the Slack software.

Trend #3: Membership and course websites

All the bold graphics and easy to digest stories in the world won’t do you much good if you don’t have a way to earn income from your website. Many websites act as the “backbone” of a business by taking visitors right up to the point of them making a purchasing decision, and then whisk them off to a contact page or offsite payment processor, both of which can be jarring experiences that interrupt the flow of your visitor’s journey through your site.

Instead, a membership website lets you take your visitors through your site to the point of making a purchasing decision – and allow them to continue without interruption. Most membership and course platforms offer an integrated payment processing solution so your visitors can turn themselves into customers without leaving your site.

If the idea of directly monetizing your expertise, or turning an established social media following into a paying membership is in your website vision for next year, a membership website is the way to go. Online learning has been around for years, and is now more popular than ever. With a membership platform like SubHub, you can offer direct payments via Paypal or Stripe, recurring memberships, multiple membership levels, and courses.

Direct monetization on a website - a continuing trend in 2023

Trend #4: Focus on Community

More website owners are moving away from Facebook groups and other social media platforms to house their communities. The trend is to keep your tribe on your website, and not rely on third-party platforms where you have little control over presentation, and you don’t even own the content. SubHub offer three ways to build and nurture your community on your membership website:

a) Built-in forum. Many membership platforms are following suit with their own member forums on the website, eliminating the need for a Facebook group that must encompass all your members. SubHub offers a built-in member forum, which also allows you to segment your participants by member group. This means you could restrict use of the forum to your premium membership, or have several forums, one for each member group.

A web design trend for 2023 - focus on community.

b) Built-in member directory. Your members can upload a profile photo, video, text and images to their own profiles for other members to search and view. There is also a private messaging system. Once a member has viewed a profile, they can contact the owner anonymously using a built-in contact form. Once the message is sent, the recipient can decide whether to respond or not. This is a perfect on-site alternative to Facebook groups and DM’s.

c) Built-in commenting. If you’re looking for some immediate user feedback on a piece of content, just enable the commenting function on the page. Comments will appear right on the page with quotes and replies.

Ready to get started on your hot new website? Open a free membership website trial with SubHub:

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