“Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” This famous quote by Steve Jobs is still highly relevant. Today, consumers, both commercial and corporate, don’t have to take what you give them – they have a choice. And making a software product visually appealing, intuitive and easy-to-use obviously gives a great advantage over rivals. This is the truth understood by software vendors. And as the competition nowadays is more fierce than ever, contenders are striving to become trend-setters and guess new wants and whims of consumers even before they actually know they have them.
Keeping up with mobile UI/UX design trends is crucial for any company looking to launch its app, be it a commercial start-up project or an app for corporate use at a large enterprise. Let’s see what the future holds for us in this niche. Here is an overview of mobile app design trends for this year.
Virtual reality and augmented reality
In mobile app development, the latest trends can’t but influence user experience and the user interface part of applications. And one of the widely discussed things here is VR. Though the most affected app category is, of course, gaming, virtual reality has made it to far more areas, for instance, culture and arts with virtual tours around the world’s most renowned museums and art galleries, and video and photo viewing.
Let’s take Facebook as an example. Facebook has launched a VR application that allows exploring 360-degree images and videos around the social media network. YouTube, as the largest video-sharing platform, couldn’t miss this opportunity and launched its own VR app to allow its users to watch 360-degree videos in VR. And just imagine what opportunities virtual reality presents for live streaming!
Designing virtual reality apps is a whole new set of challenges for UI/UX architects. Setting up 360-degree view, addressing the low resolution issue, making text noticeable and readable and designing animations are just a few things that need to be thoroughly thought over. This obviously changes the skillset designers should possess in order to succeed.
Pattern libraries for more consistent UX
Great UX is mostly about functionality and consistency. One of the latest mobile app design trends is more focus on user experience. So creating extensive pattern libraries when building a mobile app has become an industry standard. This allows making UX more practical, consistent, and the code – easy to maintain and reuse.
More diverse colors
Color is an invaluable and powerful tool in a mobile designer’s arsenal, which can actually make users read between the lines. A certain choice of colors helps to categorize information on the screen highlighting the sections which deserve special attention. Colors can induce a certain state of mind in users, not to mention the fact that color is an indispensable component of any brand.
Though the minimalism trend pervades, we see a gradual transition from using calm, pastel, neutral colors towards more vivid, bright and contrastive ones. That doesn’t mean the white-gray-black palette is now out of style. It’s just that there will be more diversity in visual solutions.
Today, no one is surprised by flashy banners and images because now the quality of content matters most of all. In the recent years, we have witnessed a shift towards neutral aesthetic to make stand out what is really important to the user – content. Now, however, typefaces, just as color choices, are becoming more diverse.
As smartphone screens are becoming bigger and wearable devices are gaining popularity, font requirements for apps which support wearables are getting stricter to make the fonts more customizable and adjust them to the particular device. That’s why now the emphasis is on scalable typography.
Google material design
Over the last 5 years or less, Google’s design philosophy, Material Design, has evolved from being a hot trend to the industry’s gold standard. Well, it’s not some sort of a dogma that should be followed blindly, but still, Material Design is a roadmap that makes the job of many design pros much easier. For example, a flat, card-based user interface isn’t going anywhere, the trend continues to exist for a long time. And why not? It’s a great way to organize content, especially on small screens of smartphones and tablets.
Within tendency, app designers are starting to mix various graphic components. It doesn’t mean we’re back to skeuomorphism, but such effects as translucency and shadows are here for us to combine with solid flat cards.
Alternative navigation options
Today, mobile users feel comfortable dealing with the hamburger menu – this is how most apps work. Certainly, this navigation pattern has both upsides and downsides. The obvious advantage is that it’s pretty straightforward and besides it helps make maximum use of the small screen capabilities. Website pages and sections that are hidden in those three lines might be left unnoticed, and this fact drives user engagement down. It happens because users don’t even realize it is a navigational element or because the links are hidden unless the hamburger is tapped upon.
Therefore, many mobile app designers try to experiment with alternative types of navigation in an attempt to make user experience more dynamic and functional:
- hidden navigation which might come in the form of a button that appears for a while and disappears if no action is taken for some time;
- tabular navigation with an optional “more” tab sliding left and right depending on the screen width which has become extremely popular, especially with social media apps;
- scrollable tabular navigation as an alternative to the “more” tab;
- parallax scrolling for intuitive navigation.
In many cases consumers use a swipe gesture to navigate across various tabs in tabular-type applications. By the way, the increasing usage of swipe-based navigation is another popular mobile app UI/UX design trend.
Now that you know the current mobile app design trends, you might need a team of seasoned mobile developers and UI/UX designers to put your ideas to life. Check out Softvelopers! We have over a decade of experience in developing great mobile user experience both for commercial projects and in-house applications.