Written by by Netania Engelbrecht.
We spend a large portion of our time each day using mobile apps. We might use them to wake up in the morning, to plan our day, to shop, to socialize… the list goes on. There are over 2 billion smartphone users connected in the world today and since this is likely to keep increasing, keeping up with the trends (or at least being aware of them) is essential when designing mobile apps and content for an increasingly-connected world.
Though there are many great lists of mobile app trends for this year, here’s our pick of 6 trends that we think are the most interesting:
1. Bigger Screens
With the release of the iPhone 6 and 6Plus it’s become even more clear that screen sizes are going to keep expanding (for the sake of argument let’s just forget about the new SE release…). This positive trend is in line with the fact that more people are using Phablets as opposed to smaller mobile phones, which were all the rage in the early 2000’s.
The ever-growing phone screens bring with them both opportunities and potential challenges to look out for. Take a look at how Phablets are changing mobile UX design here.
2. “Magical Microinteractions”
These single, task-based interactions were a big focus in 2015. So this year, UX designers are working to take these interactions to the next level and go beyond simply ‘like’ or ‘login’ buttons. Not only has the size and improved screen resolutions of mobile phones pushed designers to up their game, but the 3D-touch made available by the iPhone 6 has opened a new world.
3D-touch has the ability to simplify and enrich your user interactions by reducing the steps to complete a task. This is especially true for mobile gaming app interfaces – so whether or not app designers take full advantage of this is still to be seen.
If you’ve missed out, take a look at our article on microinteractions – the devil is in the details, after all!
We all thought this trend was merely a fad that simply would fade as flat design took over. But it seems that many users enjoy realism in their technology, which makes sense to an extent as the lines between the real and digital world continues to blur. Interestingly enough, although flat, clean designs are the agreed ideal for mobile users, skeuomorphism makes using new technologies easier as real-world elements are incorporated in app designs.
If you’re keen to learn more about skeuomorphism and why it’s sticking around, check out Gizmodo’s article here.
4. Creative Scrolling
Gone are the days of clicking button after button to move between web pages – especially on mobile. Your users have gotten comfortable with the idea of parallax scrolling and how easy it is to get from one page to another. And with the phablet trend still thriving, there’s even more potential to get creative with your scrolling and stand out amongst the crowd.
5. Wearable Gadgets Will Continue to Thrive
With the launch of the Apple Watch and countless other similar wearables, businesses and app designers are working to adapt their content to fit this technology and meet new consumer expectations. App customization has become more important here, since wearable tech makes app navigation, product information and on-the-go purchasing even more important.
Read more about the wearable tech game changers here.
6. Blank Space
More recently using blank space on screens has become a design element in itself. Along with flat design and skeuomorphism, blank space is being used in creative ways to simplify UI and improve UX. By combining these elements, designers are able to help users focus on specific elements on ever-growing phone screens.