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10 UI Trends You Should Incorporate In Your Mobile App

ByBobby Gill,
business.com writer
|
Feb 05, 2020
Image Credit: denkcreative/Getty Images
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For anyone in the process of developing an app in 2020 there are a few basic UI / UX principles that should be considered.

User interface trends are always changing. You need to stay abreast of these changes to develop apps that consistently attract users. 

Thus, it's important to pay attention to the following specific trends in 2020. Doing so is key to designing a UI that appeals to your target audience in today’s environment. Key takeaways worth remembering include:

  • New innovations such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence can (and should) improve UI
  • Dynamic visual elements can boost engagement
  • Changes in the way devices are designed should be reflected in UI

Incorporate augmented reality

A strong UI leverages the most relevant innovations to provide users with an experience that older apps can't deliver. One technology you should consider using is augmented reality. With AR, an app can superimpose virtual elements onto the real world via the screen of a user's device. 

The manner in which you might use AR will, of course, depend on the nature of your app and what it does. This is an instance when it helps to study how others have already incorporated AR into their UI successfully.

For instance, IKEA faced a problem. Enticing online shoppers to purchase furniture and other large items via the Internet is difficult. Customers prefer to see items such as these in a real-world context before buying them. A few static images on a website aren’t dynamic enough to convince shoppers an item is worth their money.

AR helped IKEA solve this problem. The company used the technology to develop the UI for the Ikea place app. With this app, users can insert images of large items directly into their own surroundings. This helps them make online purchases more confidently.

That's simply one example. Again, you need to review what your app does and determine how AR can help it serve its purpose more effectively. 

Change screen sizes

The size of a device's screen will always affect the UI. Thus, it's important to know that smartphones with screens that cover the entire front surface area are becoming much more commonplace. Get ahead of the competition by keeping this point in mind when designing the UI for any apps you develop in the future. 

Take voice into consideration 

Don't make the mistake of assuming users will always prefer apps that require them to manually press icons and buttons on their devices to access their features. Improvements in voice-activated technology have made voice-based UIs far more popular than ever in recent years. When developing an app, ask yourself if this type of UI may be ideal.  

Know the importance of animation

An app's UI needs to be visually appealing in order to consistently engage users. That's why you should consider incorporating dynamic animations in your UI. Additionally, study how recent successful apps use bold colors and typography to make a strong impression. Users will simply be more likely to remain engaged if the UI's visuals are striking.

Understand video's rising role

Video is predicted to account for approximately 82% of all online traffic in 2020. This trend is also affecting app UI development. Video is simply more engaging than text alone. When developing a UI, frequently ask yourself how video can potentially improve it. 

Tell a Story

Customers connect with brands that tell stories. The story your brand will tell must be authentic, while also being unique. It should influence the UI as well.

For example, perhaps you're developing an e-commerce app for a brand that makes charitable donations. Touching on this point in the UI will boost your app's chances of connecting with users on an emotional level. This highlights the value of investing in strong copywriting. Designing an effective UI is no longer merely about perfecting the technical details. The content must also impress.

Reduce distractions

In recent years, it's been common for app developers to create UIs that provide users with frequent notifications and similar alerts. This ideally yields more consistent engagement.

However, it can also have a negative effect. An app that’s too distracting may not appeal to users who feel overwhelmed by digital stimulation. Instead, many developers have begun to realize that it's perhaps more valuable to focus on minimalism. A clean UI that allows for easy navigation with few distractions will deliver a refreshing experience for today's average user.

Change the UI on older apps

It's difficult to create an app that sustains engagement among its user base for years. Even if the app delivers value, the novelty of using it will eventually wear off.

There's a simple solution to this problem: updating the UI and asking current users to download the new version of the app. When making these updates, consider how the other points in this article might influence the changes you decide to make. 

This is similar to a rebranding strategy. Beverage companies often renew interest in their products simply by changing the design on their labels. This is enough to make an old product feel new again. You can achieve the same results by making necessary improvements and changes to the UI of any apps of yours that have been on the market for a few years.

Just make sure you're not making changes arbitrarily. Every step of the way, consider how new UI features can enhance the app's strengths. For instance, you might already have an app that allows users to chat with their coworkers. As remote work becomes more commonplace, such an app's UI could be improved upon by focusing more on video chat features.

Leverage artificial intelligence

Gone are the days when powerful AI could be dismissed as mere science fiction. Recent developments have proven that AI can play a very important role in an app's UI.

For example, retailers often use AI to offer users more personalized experiences. When a user opens a retailer's app, what they see may not be the same as what another user sees. The app's AI will monitor their behavior and tailor the UI and overall UX accordingly.  

Don't overlook the importance of this. Because companies have recently been able to offer a greater degree of personalization than ever before, customers have begun to not only crave this personalization but to expect it as well. You'll fail to satisfy your users as thoroughly as possible if your UI doesn't take advantage of AI in this capacity.

Factor in skeuomorphic design

This trend may seem like somewhat of an oddity. However, the rising popularity of skeuomorphic design indicates it is a trend worth paying attention to when you design an app's UI in 2020. 

Quite simply, skeuomorphic design involves developing an interface that resembles a real object. Ideally, the object it resembles should correspond to the app's functions and features. A basic example would be a calculator app that resembles an actual physical calculator. 

Does this type of design offer any practical benefits to users? Although it might not seem to, it's worth noting that people who still feel uncomfortable with their own tech-savviness might be intimidated by an app with an unfamiliar UI. Their knee-jerk reaction is to assume they won't know how to use the app properly. On the other hand, if it's UI resembled a device they were already comfortable with, odds are good they would also be more comfortable with the app. 

These are all important trends to focus on in 2020. Don’t fall behind by relying on outdated UI design principles. Staying current is key to staying competitive.

 

 

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Bobby Gill
Bobby Gill
See Bobby Gill's Profile
Prior to founding Blue Label Labs in 2009, I was a Program Manager at Microsoft within the Servers & Tools division. Together with co-founder Jordan Gurrieri, I co-authored “Appsters: A beginner’s guide to app entrepreneurship”. At Blue Label Labs, My role as CEO entails providing strategic and technical oversight for all apps we produce. I graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Mathematics and Computer Science and completed my MBA at Columbia Business School.
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