Digital design: what prospects for 2023?

For more than a decade, digital tools have enabled us to respond to a variety of daily life situations and thus make our daily lives easier: easily book a stay abroad, resell clothes that we no longer wear, order a meal and have your groceries delivered or even pay your taxes online.

This proliferation of new tools and services has accelerated so much in recent years that it gives us the feeling that for each problem, its application. That any situation in everyday life can be analyzed and then resolved by innovative methods of collaborative work (Design Thinking, Lean Startup or even Scrum). However, voices are raised against this techno-solutionism, that is to say the fact of thinking that technological solutions alone can respond to all the problems of human life.

When is it really, can digital design save us from all our ills? Or is it too naive and are some issues too important to leave the hand to the designers of applications and services alone?

While trying to answer these questions, in this article we will decipher the skills to be acquired for UX and UI Design professions in 2023. Three themes to guide us: connected health, data protection and ethical design.

1 – The large-scale development of connected health 

If we have been talking about connected health for several years, it is because its development does not happen overnight. The first applications and functionalities mainly concerned leisure: the phone becomes a digital pedometer, it calculates your running time or your cycling speed.

Connected health will pivot, as we say in start-up parlance, from the field of leisure to more serious use and become a real bridge between patients and practitioners.

Let's start with measurement tools such as the blood pressure monitor or the pedometer (calculation of the number of steps). For mass adoption by the general public they must be affordable and reliable. Let's take the electrocardiogram (or ECG) which makes it possible to follow his cardiac activity. A few years ago, being able to do an ECG outside the hospital, without sophisticated and cumbersome equipment, was inconceivable. Today a connected watch  allows you to do it from your wrist, anywhere and anytime.

These measurement tools and their use will require the skills of UX Designers. Their main role will be to establish virtuous foundations to convince and gain the trust of users. Indeed according to a survey, 60% of French people are not in favor of the development of medical consultations via the Internet (BVA survey, 2017).

In addition to the traditional UX criteria of ergonomics and content prioritization, emphasis should be placed on empathy, tone and the way information is presented. Solid pedagogical skills and an ability to popularize sometimes complex medical jargon will be assets to evolve in the field of connected health, e-health or health tech.

Mental Health

If we have only mentioned physical health up to now, mental health is not remains.

The global pandemic has highlighted the importance of mental health, especially among young people. According a study published on October 6, 2021, the Department of Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics (DREES) notes a deterioration in mental health among young people aged 15 or over in 2020.

Confined to our homes for several weeks, it is therefore not only our professional exchanges that videoconferencing has upset but also remote medicine. Having a session with a psychologist, having a medical examination at work or having your skin observed by your dermatologist via webcam are practices that have become normalized.

In order to respond to these new uses and therefore to the needs of users, the people in charge of user interface design must be able to understand complex medical information in a digestible way, in the form of a dashboard for example.

Master the representation of data (in English data visualization) related article through graphs, figures and pictograms will remain a major asset in moving from raw data to intelligible and relevant data for the user.

Dashboard for activity monitoring 

Thanks to the fact that many everyday objects are becoming connected to networks that are themselves ever faster (5G and Wifi 6 and even 7 by 2023), the flow of data will continue to grow and become more complex.

The skills to be mastered will therefore not be limited to static screens, in a single format. As we know from the practices of Atomic Design  you have to adapt the content of a computer screen, a smartphone or a car dashboard to the dial of a connected watch.

Presenting information or data on a watch face in a clear and understandable way is a complex interface design task. Should we imagine control by voice as with voice assistants? Or control by gesture as the MIT researchers are trying? Related article . Solutions already exist, others are to be invented and it is the mission of UX Designers to find alternatives to control human-machine interfaces (HMI).

The main challenge for companies and administrations will be to make this data intelligible, ie useful to serve their development and relevant for users. Take the example of a recycling company that has measurements of the amount of waste recycled by its customers.

A UX Designer will then be able to design a dashboard tool to “make the numbers speak” for the end customer. For example “Your recycling efforts have saved 3,5 tons of CO2 from the atmosphere”.

2 – Security and data protection:  

Recent massive data leaks, scandals over the use of personal data by private companies or the spread of false information have eroded public trust and transformed their digital habits.

The response was not long in coming and many actors have posed as guarantors of respect for privacy. We can cite encrypted messaging services (Signal, Telegram) to alternative search engines (Qwant, DuckDuckGo) via mailboxes with reinforced security (ProtonMail, Tutanota).

The notion of privacy by design will therefore remain relevant for the coming year. This approach was popularized in Europe in 2018 with the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Concretely for a UX Designer, this consists of avoiding the use of dark patterns or fake interfaces in French. These interfaces use cognitive biases in order to manipulate the user to do one action rather than another or to stay as long as possible on the platform in question. If their use can be justified by short-term business issues, these misleading bad practices are to be avoided.

3 – Ethical design, energy sobriety and digital carbon footprint

The positive point of these trends is the return to favor of ethical design. Designing ethically can be understood in the ecological sense (responsible design because it is sustainable over time) or in the moral sense (respect for users). Designing a website or an application in an ecological way, is it greenwashing or a still neglected reality? How to do it concretely? It is a collective responsibility that concerns all stakeholders. It's about the customer, but also about the project manager, the developers and the experience designers.

Let's take a tool that can provide a first element of response when conducting a team project. The Website Carbon Calculator ( is a tool that calculates the carbon footprint of any website. The objective is above all to raise awareness of the environmental impact of digital technology, in particular because of the electricity consumption of data centers, then telecommunications networks and finally user devices. An important skill to develop is therefore the ability to make our customers aware of the importance of fighting against digital pollution.

For them, this responds to two significantly important issues: respecting their commitments in terms of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and distinguishing themselves from their competitors. A significant benefit, it also improves their brand image.

Let's go into technical considerations, here are some tips to limit the energy impact of a web project as much as possible :

  • Use images instead of videos: While the video format has quickly replaced images on the web and social networks, its use has an impact on overall energy consumption. By paying attention to the weight of the images (the lighter, the better) we improve their loading speed on the page while reducing the carbon impact.
  • The choice of typography: the ideal from a graphic point of view is not to mix too many fonts. We can make do with two different fonts and play with the fats (fine, light, fat, extra fat). This avoids overloading the RAM memory of the user's device, which must store all the fonts while visiting the site.
  • Frugal development: writing clean code, without adding bits of code from right to left, avoids sending multiple requests during navigation. Like moderating the use of plugins, JavaScript or external modules (APIs). Knowing that browsing without interruption (pop-up elements to close, pop-up window) also greatly improves user satisfaction.
  • The complete list in English can be found here: https://

We have just seen the prospects are vast in the field of digital design for the next few years. There is no shortage of ideas to imagine new growth levers for companies that will respect both their commercial issues, privacy and the ethical and environmental aspirations of users. It is our role as Designer to mobilize our technical skills and our capacity for empathy to meet these new challenges.

Thomas GRANGEON, UX Designer @UX-Republic


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