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2023 Design Trends and Accessibility

Posted by: Emily Jenkins
on 09, Nov 2022
from Ontario, Canada

In the graphic design world, trends come and go.  As we near closer to the end of the year, designers begin to think about the design trends for the next year and how we might incorporate them into our work. 

As fun and exciting as these new trends can be, unfortunately, they often aren’t taking people with disabilities into consideration.  As designers, we need to work to balance keeping our work up with the latest trends, while also modifying those trends to be inclusive for everyone.

With that, here are some of the upcoming design trends of 2023 and how we might use them (or not) to stay on trend, while also maintaining accessibility.

Inclusive Visuals

Inclusive visuals have been on the rise in recent years, especially in the increase in social movements we have seen since 2020 like the Black Lives Matter Protests that took place because of the discrimination and police brutality displayed again George Floyd.

Social movements have taken center stage since then and many businesses have used this opportunity to show the racial, gender, and orientation diversity amongst their teams.  These inclusive visuals are so important as they allow for the representation of different minority groups, but there is still a gap to be filled when it comes to representing employees, customers, and clients with disabilities.

As we see inclusive visuals continue to permeate graphic design in 2023, we must ensure that they consider every aspect of diversity including people with disabilities.  In doing so, our designs will empower a broader range of people through representation.

Serif Fonts and Experimental Typography

Gone are the days of the minimal typography design trend we have seen in previous years.  Instead, experimental serif typography will continue to become more popular. 

Serif fonts are typefaces that have extra strokes at the end of letterforms to bring different feelings and even histories into a design. Experimental typography takes these fonts even further, to a point where they even distort traditional letterforms completely. 

Although this kind of experimental typography is fun to use and can add a powerful edge to our design work, it can also completely fail when it comes to accessibility.  As we incorporate this trend into our work, we need to think about how we can make typography fun and exciting, while also maintaining legibility for people with a range of disabilities.    

Motion Graphics and Animations

As technology has continued to modernize, this has enabled graphic designs to expand our use of animation and motion graphics to bring more life into our work.  It’s no longer enough to have the perfect imagery to stay on trend; using motion and animation to make designs more dynamic is increasingly becoming the industry standard.

Motion and animation can be eye-catching and exciting, but we need to be strategic about how we use them so that we don’t create additional barriers for people with disabilities. This makes using this trend more complex, but it doesn’t mean that designing animations for accessibility has to be boring in 2023.

Things like adding pause, stope and hide criteria; sticking below the three flash rule; and adhering to AAA WCAG criteria can help us to ensure our animated designs stay both on trend and accessible.

Data Visualization

As the amount of information, we consume increases every year, so does the need to display that information in a way that is easy for people to understand.

Infographics have been a popular way to convey information for many years. When infographics are designed well, they work great for catching the eye of customers, but when they are done poorly, they can easily cause confusion and lose your customers’ attention.

There’s a growing trend for businesses to adopt and utilize other design trends to make data visualization more interesting and engaging, but in order to make infographics inclusive for everyone, designers must follow best practices for things like text display, colour contrast, structure, and so on, to ensure they are still accessible while participating in the new design trends of 2023.

Web Accessibility

It is so exciting to see that web accessibility is a trend becoming increasingly popular in the design space.  In our world of advanced technology and the need for increasing user engagement with that technology, designers and developers are giving more consideration to web accessibility.

Think about how often you interact with a website to accomplish various tasks throughout the day – from gathering information, connecting with loved ones, booking a service, or even ordering your next meal online.  The web has become an integral part of everyday life, so we must design to ensure these websites can be used by everyone.

Trends moving toward inclusive solutions that take WCAG standards into account help connect businesses with even more customers and clients.

AbleDocs’ ADWeb is a great tool for providing manual and automated compliance auditing and monitoring of your website, so you can make sure all your new designs are accessible.

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Following trends is a great way to keep your designs current, aesthetically pleasing, and engaging. It’s important to keep digital accessibility in mind when testing new styles for your content. Let our AbleDocs experts help guide you on your accessibility journey while you test new design trends.

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