Just like art, mobile app design and UX/UI have gone through tremendous evolutions. Every year brings new styles, features, and tactics that change the face of app development, and make users more and more engaged.
Mitul Patel, the CEO of Cromosys, says “Today it isn’t enough to just develop an app. Meticulous detailing for each feature is a must”.
This also includes how your app looks and functions. In this guide, you’ll see the best of the major design trends in 2015, showcasing the most important 10 that every app developer needs to implement if they want to engage the biggest audience and make the most revenue.
1) Flat Interface Design
Designers should use a clean and simple interface known as a ‘flat design’. This minimalist approach places emphasis on typography, roomy widgets, a blurred background, and a grid or horizontal block layout.
Not only is it visually appealing, it optimizes the user experience allowing users to access the features they want easily.
Here are some beautiful examples to inspire you
2) Capture Attention Immediately
You want user’s to fall in love at first open. Competition is humongous and 20 percent of users will abandon your app if it doesn’t make a stellar first impression. The app design should immediately stand out and capture the attention of your audience the first moment they lay eyes on your app.
Do this by ensuring your app loads quickly while engaging users with attention holding animations. An into animation does a good job at impressing users
Feast your eyes on the 7 best iOS animations to learn a thing or two.
3) Use Simple Color Schemes
Remember, the ‘flat’ design is all about user ease and breath-taking experience. Using simple color schemes complements that idea and optimizes the user experience, while make the interface easy to use and more interactive. Users can easily find the features and functions that they want.
Here are some tools that will help you create a great color scheme design.
4) Divide Elements and Widgets With Space
Rather than using borders and lines to separate elements or widgets, use empty space to make the content cleaner and simpler. This will also blend the widgets/elements better and add to that 3D like feel.
Head over here and view some design masterpieces. Notice how most, if not all, avoid dividing elements with lines and borders, but let them float in space.
5) Blur Effects behind the Interface
This is a really good effect as it gives the layered interface a clean and simple look. Users will quickly recognize which elements of the app are working, and what to focus on. Here’s a tutorial on how to add a blur effect to Android, and here for iOs.
6) Design Layered Interface
The clean design works wonders with a layered interface. This gives an almost 3D experience to smartphone apps, putting users in awe. To implement a multilayer interface, use active widgets at the front and blur them at the back.
Photoshop is great for interface design. Check out this tutorial here, to get you started.
7) Use Simple Thumb Gestures
When people use their mobile phone, they hold it in one hand and use their thumb to interact with the app. Try to avoid gestures that are complex, and keep them thumb-orientated. The average thumb happens to be anywhere between 44-57 pixels, so be sure to consider this when sizing important buttons.
8) Integrate Swipe Gesture
The swipe gesture allows users to navigate different menus, perform various actions such as share, like, and delete, or any other actions. Integrating a seamless gesture that can be performed by your thumb or fingers reduces the number of steps to execute an action and makes features accessible at a faster speed.
This Apple Developer’s guide will tell you everything you need to know about gestures – such as swipe and tap – your users expect.
9) Integrate Social Media
Millions of people use social media sits like Facebook, Twitter, and Google +. By integrating these sites in your apps, not only will you enhance functionality, but you’re position your app for viral growth. Users can share the app with friends, family, and people within their network.
3 ways to integrate social media in your app include:
- Publish user activity on their Facebook feeds
- Use your own social media sites to promote your app
- If you’re creating a game or an app that involves social interaction, let users invite a friend
Here are some great examples of apps that integrate social integration seamlessly.
While some of you may feel cheated with this last trend, it’s creativity that has given rise to the trends before it. You may not make the next mind bending app, but you may start a trend that causes thousands of developers to follow you.
For that reason, it’s always good to be creative and try new things. So long as you implement the trends above, you can make a few creative tweaks without losing any design features and functionality.
3 App Building Platforms To Get You Started
Now that you know the trends and what customers will expect, here are three app building platforms to help get you started immediately.
1) Appy Pie lets users create an app in only a few minutes without any coding skills. After completion, you’ll receive anHTML5 based hybrid app that works with Android, iPhone, iPad, Windows Phone and Blackberry.
- Pricing: App design is free, with a Basic Plan $12/month, Gold Plan $25/month or Platinum Plan $40/month. More details
- Pros: As easy as baking an apple pie. You can create an app without any coding skills, and Appy Pie has its very own market place to help give more visibility to your app.
- Cons: Unfortunately, their new website is still in beta so it lacks many features. You’ll also have to publish your app on other app stores yourself.
2) GoodBarber lets you choose more than 50 designs created by experts. It supports both Android and iOS apps.
- Pricing: Free 30-day trial, Standard Plan 16€/month, Full Plan with full features 32€/month. More details
- Pros: There are 50 wonderful designs to choose from, and even the possibility to monetize your app throughMobPartner.
- Cons: Like Appy Pie, you have to publish the app yourself, or fork out an additional 50€ if you want GoodBarber to submit the app for you.
3) Buzztouch powers tens of thousands of iPone, iPad, and Android apps. It’s open sourced, flexible, and uses professional web-based software.
- Pricing: ZZ Guest: first three apps for free, ZZ Member $79.99/year. More details
- Pros: You can build your app in three simple steps. There are free video tutorials, internal forum and big community. You can also test your app with iOS simulator and Android Emulator.
- Cons: Novices may find it a bit complicated. You’ll need to submit the app to iTunes and Google Play yourself, and some plugins have additional costs.
Erik Linask, the Group Editorial Director of TMC, says “When developing a mobile app for your business, take the time to not only ensure technological stability, but also consider the human factors – usability, cool factor, features – and solicit feedback from real customers on what the app should look like”.
While these app design and development trends will become more and more popular as the year continues, it may be even sooner when users won’t even glance at apps that lack these design features.
Remember, to keep your design simple, user-friendly, beautiful, and most importantly- designed for your customers.