Top Digital Trends for 2023 | Squarebird Bristol's Leading Web Design Agency

Top digital trends for 2023: From leading Bristol web design agency

2022 is over – we’ve seen gradients, watched the growth of Instagram reels, and shifted our thoughts towards sustainability, but what’s next for 2023?

We asked around the office for our team’s predictions:

Multi-sensory marketing.

The idea behind multi-sensory marketing is still defining itself. From first impressions it sounds like a complete immersive experience inside a sensory room of lights and textures. It’s not quite so futuristic – but the theory behind multi-sensory marketing is thought provoking.

Our senses can trigger multisensory experiences. Imagine the sound of a glass bottle of Coca Cola opening; you can feel it in your hand, how the first sip will taste, how cold it is. As Musiolik and Herbst found, this thought process is possible because our brain constructs neural networks which are stored experiences, so we can remember how those experiences felt.

The theory behind multi-sensory marketing is that brands are more than just visual experiences and can activate all 5 of the senses, generating a much stronger response than just one. American food chain, Dunkin’ Donuts, used scent machines to periodically infuse buses with the fresh aroma of coffee when the brand’s jingle played on the radio (Forbes). It is believed that in 2023, multi-sensory marketing and social media will become more integrated.

The closer we are with a brand, the easier activating all 5 senses is; as time goes on, a brand could provoke all 5 senses with fewer signals. For example, the dusting of cinnamon reminds you of Starbucks in the winter; you can smell and taste it just by looking at it! Having fragments of sensory information helps to curate a holistic idea of a brand in our own mind. The idea behind multi-sensory marketing allows brands to manipulate that and enhance consumer relationships.

Minimalism vs Chaotic maximalism

The battle between Millennials and Gen Z continues as trends in fashion, interior design, humour and more differentiate themselves, we’re seeing the shift in design too. We’re seeing Gen Z choose pure chaotic maximalism, whilst Millennials were all about minimalism (Creative Bloom).

We’re seeing designs become more busy, outspoken, and assertive with mixes of 1990s digital design to folk art and ancestral heritage. Minimalism is going out the window!

We spoke with our Designer and chaotic maximalism lover, Hope, who recently finished a design project for MyTutor, an online tutoring platform that targets the younger generation. It made complete sense for Hope to sprinkle some colourful, busy, and inviting magic to her designs!

Every project I work on for MyTutor is an opportunity to use as much colour, pattern and illustration as possible. I love working with as many clashing prints as I can as chaotic maximalism is so close to my heart and follows through to the decoration of my home. I think if something is initially confusing for the brain to process, I love it. I’m so looking forward to working on more branding and websites in the future looking for vibrancy and playfulness!

Bottom navigation.

Bottom navigation has been around in mobile design for a long time, but it’s a continuous battle for innovative UX designers. Bottom navigation is exactly what is sounds like: a navigation bar located at the bottom of the screen of an app or webpage design, rather than at the top.

With more and more of us using mobile to search for websites, ‘thumb-driven design’ is becoming a popular term. It’s based on Steven Hoober’s and Josh Clark’s research on how people hold their devices. As phones become bigger and bigger, it becomes harder for users to reach buttons at the top of the screen so easily. Looking at approximate reach charts, it shows that the centre and the bottom of the screen are most comfortable for us.  Social media apps like Instagram switched to bottom navigation years ago – we believe it’ll likely become common place across websites going forward.

Big tech companies have the power to change what is the acceptable user experience, such as Apple moving the search bar on Safari to the bottom of the screen, as they attempt to change the new normal. We felt so passionate about the ease of our thumbs, and Apple’s impact on UX design, that we wrote a whole blog on it!

Shoppers expect to buy directly through social media.

It feels as though social media and consumption is becoming more and more integrated – eMarketer predicts social commerce to be an $80 billion industry by 2025! How? As brands begin to allow their customers to purchase directly through social media, buying from your favourite brands, or being tempted by new ones couldn’t get much easier.

This one isn’t exactly a shocker; social media consumption has been rapidly increasingly over the past few years, something that was only exacerbated by the months spent staying at home. E-commerce is growing massively, with 81% of shoppers using social media to discover new brands and research products, along with influencers popping up left right and centre. Brands are figuring out that purchasing directly through the app makes a lot more sense, along with taking a step out of your e-commerce conversion funnel. rands are figuring out that purchasing directly through the app makes a lot more sense, along with taking a step out of your e-commerce conversion funnel.

Horizontal scrolling.

A website scrolls from the top to the bottom; that’s the only logical way, right? Perhaps not. Horizontal scrolling is a new and simple way to completely revolutionise a site and keep the viewer from bouncing. Horizontal scrolling provides an interesting and memorable interaction between texts and images and works very well for long-form articles, portfolios, catalogues and more.

The only downside is that it’s yet to widely and effectively be featured on mobile. Many desktop horizonal scrolling websites don’t translate to mobile and result back to the top-down vertical approach, which is quite the let-down for returning users.

As we know, UX designers are focusing heavily on mobile. Gone are the days of desktop-first design; we’re increasingly designing websites for mobile that adapt for desktop – rather than the other way around. We’re looking forward to seeing this trend come to life!

Custom top-level domains.

It’s very common to see .com, .org and other common top-level domains (TLDs) on a website. It’s not something users generally notice but looking beyond generic TLDs might just be the way to catch their eye. Not sure exactly what these are? We have so much to say on TLDs we wrote a whole blog on them!

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) who manages TLDs puts out new generic TLD (.com .org) categories and in 2010 expanded the types of TLDs this could include. Essentially, this enabled organisations to apply for and register their own TLD with ICANN which could be custom, such as .coffee or .logistics.

The approval process for custom generic TLDs could take up to two years, but it may be that what you’re after is already available to purchase as an existing generic TLD.

You might wonder if it is worth it? But there are many positives to an alternative generic TLD. The domains you’re after may be either unavailable or too expensive with .com and etc! More importantly an alternative TLD can make your online presence more cohesive with your brand name and elevate your brand’s persona.

A great example is our recent work with – a leading UK-based energy advisory and engineering consultancy that wanted their website to reflect their project aims of being ‘Fit for Future’. Their new-age top level domain was a big player in completely revolutionising their web presence as a forward-thinking brand.

You can read more on Apollo Engineering’s brand revolution here.

Live video.

Video has sky-rocketed past any other content types on social media and we’re beginning to see live video climb the ladder too. It has been popularised by celebrities using the feature, as well as make-up artists, people cooking, and more. It was first popular in 2016 with the creation of Facebook Live; now most social platforms have the feature. The idea of live video for businesses is a newer approach.

Social media users are on the hunt for authenticity from the brands they interact with. Live video provides an opportunity to share raw, instant footage to build stronger, trusting relationships with customers and build your company’s reputation.

What type of content would you share during live video? As a business, live video allows marketers to make announcements, share events, make exciting updates, and offer an insight to daily life at the company.

It is a daunting topic for many, but live video has a much higher viewer retention rate than on-demand video content. In fact, viewers watch live video 10 times longer than regular video (Epiphan). Will you be giving it a go?

Stay ahead with Bristol’s leading digital marketing agency.

At Squarebird, we’re always keeping an eye on the latest technology updates and marketing trends, helping our clients consistently meet the demands of an ever-changing modern world. From dynamic designers to SEO specialists, creative content writers, and website whizzes, we’ve got the full set of digital talent on our team.

If you’re looking for a fresh website design, or a marketing strategy fit for the modern audience, we have you covered. Get in touch to begin your journey!

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