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6 digital trends that will shape 2023

2022 has been another challenging year, with economic uncertainty and geopolitical conflict compounding the disruption of Covid-19. Post-pandemic, the online space keeps evolving rapidly, and businesses need to embrace digital trends to grow along with these developments.

With 2023 in our sights, let’s look at some of these digital trends that will shape the next 12 months — from  innovation in UX/UI design, development and digital marketing, to an eCommerce revolution, a focus on cybersecurity, and a reminder that it’s not too late to become a truly ethical company.

1. eCommerce — generative AI

Leading venture investor James Currier has claimed that we’re living in a technology “explosion” that only comes around every 14 years.

“We had one around the internet in ’94. We had one around mobile phones in 2008. Now we’re having another one in 2022,” he said while speaking about the emergence of generative artificial intelligence.

Even if you don’t know the term, you’ve probably seen the work of generative AI’s pioneering company OpenAI.

The San Francisco research lab is behind DALL.E, the deep learning models that generate digital art from natural language prompts — and its millions of surreal pieces bamboozling social media in 2022.

OpenAI is also behind GPT-3, the AI algorithm that can write opinion pieces and impeccably-researched academic papers about itself.

Generative AI is now set to transform eCommerce. It can track and compile online behaviour such as clicks, zooms and swipes, and generate unique product images that enhance users’ shopping experience and boost sales.

2. Web development — progressive web apps (PWAs)

Over 6 billion people worldwide have smartphones, some 80% of the world’s population. This staggering figure has been accelerated by advances in app development and mobile-responsive design, as the lines blur between the desktop and mobile browsing experience. But with web evolution there’s always a next step. A progressive web app is a cross between a native (downloaded) app and a mobile web page that can be used in a mobile browser. It looks and acts like an app, but it doesn’t take up space on your phone and loads 300% quicker.

PWAs are generally single page sites that feel like a native app by dynamically rewriting the page when a user interacts, rather than full-page loads.

PWAs are SEO-friendly and rank high in search engine results pages because they are mobile responsive. They can be added to smartphone home screens, so there’s no need to open a browser. You can even use a PWA offline.

Mobile eCommerce conversions are lower on apps, but the seamless PWA experience keeps users on the site longer — boosting UX and conversion rates.

3. UX/UI design — accessible and inclusive design

Every year, the online space becomes more integrated into our everyday life, from gathering news, booking services, ordering goods or connecting with friends and family. Designers are becoming more finely tuned to creating websites that can be used by people of all abilities.

In 2023, more and more designers will strive to meet international Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), to make web content more accessible to people with disabilities.

Innovations include offering audio alternatives to text and video content, functionality with screen readers, high-contrast colours and text-to-speech options.

4. Cybersecurity awareness

Cyber crime costs the global economy over €6 trillion, and 30,000 websites are hacked every day. Over half of large Irish businesses have been the target of an attempted attack, so you shouldn’t be wondering if your site will ever be targeted, but when.

As international cyber crime gangs become more sophisticated with social engineering-based attacks, many businesses will invest more on grassroots cybersecurity staff training programmes, to foster a corporate culture of increased diligence. With increased training, staff will be more vigilant, while it’s important for companies to invest in frontline prevention and detection technologies.

And if you’re planning on launching a new site in 2023, choose an agency that can proactively protect against security threats such as malware, ransomware, cross-site scripting (XSS), SQL injection, phishing, denial of service and many others.

5. Digital marketing — the continued rise of TikTok

TikTok was the most downloaded app of 2019, 2020 and 2021, and eight new users join TikTok every second. It’s been the biggest social media phenomenon in recent years, and its astounding rise has influenced other social media platforms and therefore digital marketing trends. Instagram Reels was introduced in August 2020, followed by Facebook Shorts’ global launch in July 2021.

If you haven’t been active on TikTok, it’s not too late to start creating a brand presence on the platform using TikTok For Business. If your business is to stay relevant, you need to lean into short video and appear in the same channels as your customers. There’s no shortcut to viral success — immerse yourself in high-traction marketing TikTok videos and experiment with the format to see what works.

Many social media management tools and schedulers now cater for short video formats, which will make planning and posting easier, as you test your way to success.

6. Ethical business practices — embracing ESG

Environmental, social and (corporate) governance (ESG) is a measure of a business’s value beyond revenue and profits. For years, ESG was a niche issue for larger organisations, but businesses of all sizes — from SMEs to multinationals — must now embrace the ethos if they want to attract customers, capital and investors.

To remain competitive, all companies should focus on building a strong ESG strategy around all three ESG criteria:

Environmental: Factors such as carbon emissions, energy efficiency, use of natural resources, waste and pollution.

Social: Health and safety standards, employee pay and treatment, and relationships with suppliers, customers and the local community.

Governance: How a company is run — its policies on transparency, equality and diversity, as well as executive pay and shareholder rights.

Companies can implement an ESG strategy by setting measurable goals, creating a dedicated ESG specialist or team, choosing ethical suppliers and reviewing processes or expenses.

Transparency and openness is the foundation of governance in ESG — add ESG updates to your annual reports, and keep customers informed through social media campaigns and newsletters.

As a full-service agency, Matrix Internet is fully invested in creating modern, innovative digital experiences for our clients, anticipating and embracing modern trends in our web design, development and digital marketing departments. If you need a future-facing digital partner, let us know today how we can help.

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