Mobile App UI/UX – Top 10 Trends to Watch Out in 2015 and Beyond
Great mobile apps are those which are useful in a unique way and to become useful in a unique way an app needs to assure good user interface and user experience. When every app designer has his own set of preferences often present trends can be guiding enough to meet the user expectation with design attributes.
After so many so called rocking design elements in mobile apps ruling the scene for years, 2015 can as well e considered a year of fresh break. Yes, this year the focus once again rests on app design than any other aspects. With mobile devices reaching their soaring high in respect of variety of features, functionalities and demands of maneuverability, design elements are going to play key role in making apps win the heart and mind of users. At least latest mobile app design trends offer a great testimony to this.
Trends show how people react and what they prefer in their apps and what they can feel without finding their preferred usability. Naturally, however avant-garde or breakthrough a notion you have concerning your mobile app design concept and implementation, you have to come in terms with these trends if you want to ensure lovable UI and UX in your app. Let us introduce here top 10 trends in mobile app UI and UX to watch out in 2015.
Contextual UI and UX as per user situation
Interface consistency no longer is a stringent norm as long as breaking it you can make the app more useful. Powerful device sensors now can make you informed regarding the user’s situation or what he is doing, their location, activity and attention level and the environment they are in. Accordingly the UI can be molded for contextual use. So the UI does not need to be same all the time. It can vary according to the situation or environment or user need.
- When the user his having his daily exercise or jogging in the park the UI can contextually make the buttons larger for ease of access.
- Similarly, a booking app can show the available hotels, restaurants contextually whenever you reach a new place.
Flat UI with subtle layering
Flat design in UI has been around for quite some time and still attracts majority of apps because of the simplicity and usefulness that it offers. Especially for mobile focused websites and mobile apps they flat design is still adorable as in small screen it offers easy navigation, faster access and better usability. But obviously, flat design evolved as well offering lot of value additions and changes that can make apps more useful.
- Just at a glance they look simple, straight to the point and contextual, all that users want.
- With new elements introduced within flat design like subtle color layers, few gradients and animation the design looks even more awesome.
Hiding the functional buttons and menu
Achieving a clutter free design with minimum elements grabbing the attention is more acceptable on smaller screens than in larger desktops and laptops. So, hiding menu and other functional buttons and appearing contextually when and where you need them is smart and it saves the app from unnecessary visual clutter.
- Drop down menu is a good way to deliver menu.
- Offering menu and function buttons with device tilting or with screen swipe is another smart UI element to achieve this.
High quality life size images
Full sized high density background images ruled the web last year and eventually entered as a new design trend for countless mobile apps as well. This year the trend shows no sign to stop and it is here now to stay. Maintaining pixel density, color contrast and consistent appearance across devices, these 3 aspects are important for implementing this design element.
- It is important to see whether the image responsively takes the size of screens across all devices.
- Augmenting visual coherence with perfect combination of color contrast in front content and background image is important.
- The image should be thoroughly relevant and meaningful to the app purpose.
Thumb friendly navigation
Most smartphone users these days hold the phone on his palm while navigating through the thumb over the screen. This posture is common to millions of users across the world and accordingly it is important that your navigation buttons and flow must address this posture and rule of ‘thumb’.
- Maintain the page flow in a manner that makes navigation with thumb while holding the phone on palm become easy.
- The function buttons that quickly makes use of device capabilities like camera, calls or message should be appropriately placed on the lower side offering quicker navigation through thumb movement.
Tiled navigation interface
A major UX optimizing trend of this year that has been embraced successfully by many great apps is the tiles in interface that present the app content into a card or tile like format offering enhanced visibility and readability.
- Tiles in interface are great for unequalled flexibility in arranging content as per the user choice.
- Tiled navigation is quicker and orients the user to the app content and purpose instantly.
Multi device and wearable approach
This trend has two distinct faces, respectively as multi device approach and design focused for wearable devices. There is a vast majority of users who prefer to accomplish their task through multiple connected devices. Consequently, the apps need to be built with agile app UIs. As wearable devices are growing robust with better display and communication capabilities more agile interfaces with swift capability between phones and wearable is increasingly becoming important.
- With multi device approach the apps need to have architecture to make it easy for data flow with context.
- Delivering consistent app performance across multiple mobile and wearable devices is important.
Parallax scrolling has been popular web design element for quite some time. Now it became popular with mobile apps as well, especially with gaming apps like Angry Birds. It makes a stunning impression by offering three dimensional effects to the UX of the app.
- This design element is particularly effective if you want to tell a story with your app.
- Visually catchy superb graphic animation will make this a great design element.
Visual coherence and stylish typography
Finally it is all about achieving a visual coherence and sense of conformity with your app that matters more than any disjointed design aspect. The typography and font size should enhance the visual effect without creating clutter and it should make the app look beautiful and organized.
- The color shapes and order of elements together should make a brand statement.
- Smart visual hierarchy should be the smart way to guide users in navigation or in call to action buttons.
- Prominent, simple, readable and engaging typography is must for an impressive UI.
Telling a story
Telling the story of your brand or simply your app offerings through a simple storyline is the new way of engaging users with an app. With several new UI features and technologies making it easier to present a storytelling effect in your UI, it is popular among various apps.
- Use of animation, graphics and parallax scrolling can be effective for this UI approach.
- This new design technique is further enhanced with an array of new capabilities from HTML5.
These trends are helpful to understand the gross elements and influences in mobile apps. But even these trends are far from static and they are constantly in a flux to come up with new dimensions and effects.
Keval Padia is a Founder & CEO of Nimblechapps, a fast-growing iPhone app development company. The current innovation and updates of the field lures him to express his views and thoughts on certain topics.