In any industry, trends somehow reflect people’s everyday needs and behavior. This never-ending process of modification follows us wherever we go – and mobile app development is not an exception. Strictly speaking, new technologies have become the leader of human progress, that’s why their changes are quite significant to any of us.
UI/UX design is a visual part of this chameleonic process. Opening an application, users expect to see something really incredible. And usually, only a few minutes spent with the app make them stay or leave.
Today, we’re going to observe 10 app design trends that check with user interests and expectations. At the same time, these trends are building a foundation for new changes in the foreseeable future.
The concept of speed does not necessarily concern only the technical side of the application. When the app has too many design elements, it may cause much-unwanted confusion for the user. Creating a minimalistic design makes the whole experience much easier – just click that button! Those products which no longer apply distracting tinsel in their work will definitely move forward.
“Less is more” rule also pertains to the variety of colors. You might have already noticed that lots of your favorite applications have at least one common feature – they all choose one color and a few of its shades.
Several years ago, Material Design introduced to us a new concept based on simplicity, light backgrounds, and subtle colors. The time has come to change this setup – and first steps were made in the right direction. Let’s learn more about Material Design and its topicality in the next chapter.
It was 2014 when we first met the concept of Material Design. This new update was brought to the world by Google Inc., and since then lots of work has been done to improve the app market appearance. Material Design has its own mission and goals, but at its core, there is a simple application using all available space effectively.
"Unlike real paper, our digital material can expand and reform intelligently. Material has physical surfaces and edges. Seams and shadows provide meaning about what you can touch," – Matias Durate, Google's director of Android user experience.
Nowadays, Material Design appears to be the most flexible solution offering light and dark backgrounds. As for the general simplicity, you can find it in numerous popular applications available for both Android and iOS platforms.
Moreover, Material Design gives space for creativity and innovations letting designers add more features to the new version. It led to the diversity in the color hierarchy and functionality and also created the tendency of skeuomorphism in the mobile app design. Despite the word being pretty long and scary, this concept brings us back to basics. Skeuomorphism represents an application as a physical object making it a habitual thing from our everyday life.
It felt so weird using sensory smartphones when they just appeared on the market. But the things change so fast in the mobile world! Now, simple tapping doesn’t have any surprises. Along with pressing the screen, we also can drag, pinch, press and tap at the same time, spread, double tap… Have we missed something?
And what an astonishment it could be to find a new gesture in the application! It’s too soon to assume designers have used all their creativity in this regard. Besides, gestures seem more exciting than using buttons because of two reasons:
Phablet devices appeared about 5 years ago, and they brought more challenges for UI/UX specialists. The thing is, phablets changed the way we hold a smartphone. It seemed like designers have just coped with navigation in standard mobile phones when they must deal with new difficulties.
The current situation makes designers reconsider their approaches. The key factor stays the same – users should be able to get to all necessary areas on the screen with a thumb. What has been already invented is gathering elements at the bottom of the screen. But the finish is surely far away. This type of navigation needs more improvements, which are constructed at this very moment.
What exactly does the animation have along with the entertainment trace? It has interaction. Developing user experience, functional animation lets them immerse in the application. The modern idea of this feature is not simply vivification but also following the logic context.
Functional animation is especially important when you create a multitasking application. We’ve been there building Friendly - an event app with the integrated calendar and messenger.
Functional animation has one important mission – to make users understand an app product and become more sensitive towards its advantages. There are situations in the user’s journey when animations are needed the most.
These are the questions which can be answered with much spiritedness:
While answering, feel free to add animated responses, visual effects, zooming, and any other fancy tricks.
The personal approach is something that each of us appreciates in offline activities. Holding a smartphone in his hand, an app user wants to get the same attitude while doing shopping or reading news. Presently, app developers record users’ steps and customize their experience according to the in-app stroll. Consumers don’t have to search for the same information over and over again while receiving individual push notifications.
The business sector also gets the benefits – an entrepreneur can push his product to a specific audience. Thanks to the data developers gather business owners can be sure they talk to the users that will appreciate the offer.
“Get on board!” – that’s what we’re screaming to our precious users out loud. Have you taken an appropriate care of your adventurous vessel? When people choose the right ship to go to the treasure island, first things that catch the eye help them to make a decision.
The design of your app should work fast – literally, it has several windows and taps. If your vessel is nice, a huge part of the work is accomplished successfully.
One of the up-to-date trends is a progressive onboarding experience when the app makes friends with a user outright.
Offboarding means saying goodbye in the equally nice way. It’s especially important for gaming applications – UX/UI designers make up all the new ways to congratulate users and motivate them to come back again. If you managed to surprise a customer on this stage, be ready to get the word of mouth advertising. And we all know that this type of ads is literally priceless.
Augmented and virtual realities are familiar to many of us. But in the design world, these concepts are pretty young and require more skills and creativity.
The success of PokemonGo and Snapchat is only the beginning of a totally new era in mobile app development. As for the UX part of the work with augmented reality, there are some basic points to consider:
And we’re moving further to the VR-based user experience. This one is pretty cool because now people can get to imaginary places without having a magic wand. Well, you will surely need a special gadget, but there is no witchcraft – we promise that.
Differing a little from the classics, the UX part of VR development stands on four whales. Not so many you would think. But they will probably be the main rules for VR trends:
As virtual reality becomes more real (you know what we mean), it brings more challenges both for designers and developers. So don’t waste much time and check out how to build augmented and virtual reality apps right now.
It seemed impossible to make mobile devices even closer. But for modern technologies carrying was not enough – now we can wear smart gadgets like Apple Watch and Android Wear. Adding more functionality to habitual things means giving more opportunities and discoveries for any smartphone user. It’s not surprising that the audience was taken by storm, and we have a new promising trend.
UX/UI designers got a completely unexplored field to implement new ideas, catchy elements, ergonomic features, and so many other fascinating things! But lots of difficulties also came along.
For example, the size of the watch brings limitations to the number of elements located on the screen. Another important factor is the battery capacity. Plus, designers must consider limited user interactions with smaller devices. So many tasks to keep in mind! This is definitely one of the most exciting trends in the mobile app design.
And a few words about visible security tricks. It’s super cool when a device can recognize you due to your fingerprint. How many times have you thought about a spy on a special mission? Anyway, here we’re talking about a really important security factor when it comes to your personal data. Such applications as Apple pay or Dropbox have Touch ID verification.
This feature not only saves your nerves but also saves much time you usually spend on long verification processes (especially, dealing with payment apps). And what have we mentioned before? Right, any app should be a real speed master.
Ten to one, you’ve noticed that all up-to-date trends imply a hot fight between the previous experience and yet unexplored features. Mobile developers along with UX/UI designers somehow create our present and our future. With time, those tasks that seemed too difficult become new revelations in the technological world and become a part of our everyday activities.
Let’s perceive mobile trends as the evidence of a constant improvement. VR tendency or wearable devices promise a lot to happen. And we can’t wait to learn more and give more to our users.