Mobile app design is in the midst of a never-before turmoil and transformation thanks to an array of new design trends focused on user interaction and user journey. As we have just stepped on a fresh new year, it is the right time to take a look at some of the most influential design trends of recent times that are going to shape the mobile apps of the future years.
Here are some of the most impressive mobile app design trends to follow in 2020 and beyond.
Swipe and Bottom Navigation
Though the top navigation versus bottom navigation is always a hot topic of debate among the UI designers, in recent times, the pendulum of favor by a large number of app developers seems to switch towards bottom navigation. The UX design experiments by now have adopted two main design trends, respectively, swipe up actions and the bottom navigation. Both continue to rise in popularity.
There is a subtle factor related to the popularity of these two navigation trends. As most users these days hold their devices single-handedly and make gestures and scrolls the content through their thumb, it is important for the UI designers to place the clickable elements close to the thumb zone. This is precisely why the bottom sheet comprising important navigation buttons became so popular.
The swipe up gesture used for a multitude of mobile app interactions is also popular because they allow easier thumb interactions and commands. It is extremely easier for the users to shut down an app, returning to the previous page and opening an app drawer just by swiping with the thumb.
The increasing number of mobile apps is now embracing voice search and conversational user interface. Since users always want to get things done as fast as possible, voice-based user interface became so popular. Particularly, voice search and voice bots have become too popular for mobile app user interface and user experience. In 2020, we can expect an increasing number of voice-enabled apps to appear.
While allowing voice search just like Google search engine’s voice function, it is important to give the voice search function a boost by incorporating technologies such as Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Natural Language Generation (NLG). These technologies will help detect the actual intent behind the voice modulation and differences in pronunciation.
Most designers, as of now has made the design plan and engaged in design execution based on what they planned for the user interface and user experience. While most apps still follow such top-down decision making for the app design, an increasing number of apps follow design decisions based on data-driven insights. The data-driven insights help designers to avoid certain design errors and shortfalls that are common across most mobile apps.
Most of the time, the data-driven design decisions are taken by questioning the users and surveying their opinions. From analyzing the apps, carrying out A/B testing, behavior research, and a host of other tools help designers to achieve the design that helps them drive steady user engagement and increased interactions.
Storytelling in Design
People most easily relate to stories than information, images, and other content types. This is why still the vast majority of advertisements prefer to tell a story that explains the benefits in a highly contextual and user-focused manner. The same storytelling principle can be used to the advantage of the UX design.
When the app represents a business brand, the best way to engage users is to tell the brand story in a captivating manner. By designing a mobile app with the focus on the brand story and its values explained in a highly context-aware manner, the designers can easily make way for easier engagement and interaction.
Both iOS 13 and Android 10 recently launched dark mode for the flagship devices and the mobile apps of the platforms. Dark mode has become popular for some years to give all the mobile apps a visual boost and reduce the drainage of battery power. Recently both Instagram and Twitter both embraced dark mode, and in the years to come, many leading and new apps can just follow the trend.
Though mobile apps are generally perceived as simpler as and less complicated than the websites, often new or first-time users can feel a little perplexed about the real value of the app if they are not provided proper guidance. An app may not also be utilized to its full potential if the users are clueless about utilizing the app to their optimum benefits. This is why a great onboarding experience is so crucial for a mobile app.
Now, what makes a great onboarding experience for an app? Well, primarily, it is about allowing the users to use the app instantly and without much beating around the bush. For example, instead of forcing users to go through a time-consuming sign-up process that requires filling several fields, allow them to use the app with a guest account or no account at all. Make sign-up mandatory only before carrying out a transaction or any specific in-app action involving payment or things like commenting, sharing, etc. You can also make things easier for the new users by allowing them to log in with a social media account credential.
Provide them a clear idea about various features of the app and help them understand the process of carrying several actions such as uploading files, building checklists, and using other features. For certain apps such as the Software-as-a-Service apps, providing detailed guidance about the features and multiple in-app actions leading various outcomes is very crucial for the overall user experience.
Do you want to build your mobile app that even a first-timer feels confident with? Do you want the app to be least confusing about what to do and what not to do? Do you want to engage the users with the app with the least difficulty? Above all, do you want your users to enjoy using the app from the very first moment? Well, for all these and continuous user engagement and business conversion, you need to provide a great onboarding experience.
Consistent Focus on UX Journey
It is not the loading speed of the app or how easily it allows users to get oriented with the app or how easily the app allows the users to get things done as they intended, all of these together make up the user experience (UX) of an app. User experience also focuses on the user journey through the app. The easier and effortless the journey is, steadier user engagement can be expected.
For a great user journey, the app designer needs to detect the common pain points and design errors that prevent users from engaging with the app consistently. A great user journey also requires minimizing the steps and processes involved in getting things done while using an app.
Robust Visual Experiments
Finally, in terms of the visual experience of the mobile app, there should be an array of user-focused experiments and changes that can bring a radical shift from the look and feel of the earlier mobile apps. Let us explain some of the key visual experiments and effective visual changes that the mobile apps of our time need to incorporate.
- Color Gradients: Use of color gradients tend to become increasingly popular these days as they can help the design create visual priorities besides making an interface that quickly makes a connection with the users.
- Opacity: The same design elements can appear with a different look and feel based on their transparency and opacity. So, you can always tweak with their opacity and transparency as per the design requirements.
- Curves and geometric shapes: There is a continuing experiment with geometric shapes, different types of lines, and curves in the scheme of things for app design. In the years to come, these experiments can be more rigorous for the brands to achieve a unique look and feel.
- Experiments with typeface and color: A lot of design experiments are undergoing at present corresponding to typefaces and choice of colors. A scalable typeface with large fonts is likely to be a popular in-app design of the future. There will also be a lot of experiments with the use of colors. From the use of the bold and eye-catchy color scheme to the use of stark contrast and flat color scheme, experiments will be really limitless.
- Custom illustration: Since the use of context-based high-definition photographs have become common in most apps, and many apps prefer to use custom illustration to create a unique look and feel. In the future UI design, a custom illustration will continue to hold pride of place.
Last but not least of all considerations should be delivering a high-speed design that doesn’t cause any problem corresponding to the accessibility of the app functions and content. A lightweight design that helps to make faster loading time will become the most popular design trend for 2020 and years beyond.