The pandemic has radically changed our lifestyles. We have found ourselves more engaged than ever on digital and mobile platforms. The average American checks his or her mobile phone 344 times per day—that’s once every four minutes. Around 88% of US adults spend time in mobile apps. At work, at home, when eating, in bed, and even in our cars—hopefully, not while driving—we use our phones. You may be reading this on a mobile device right now.
With the rising popularity of mobile apps, companies are investing more in enhancing their user experience, to make them more competitive and achieve business growth. UX design trends for mobile apps are continually changing. Every year, the world of mobile apps evolves substantially and progressively, so keeping up with the newest market trends is essential. In this article, I’ll share the most important design trends for mobile apps that you should know about in 2022.
Customers’ communication preferences have evolved with the rise of on-demand messaging. As a result of the rising chatbot trend, more and more business sectors are incorporating chatbots into their business operations to provide ongoing customer engagement. Chatbots are an important tool for improving the customer experience and providing outstanding service. They are redefining how organizations communicate with both their existing and potential customers.
Chatbots are an excellent way for companies to develop long-term relationships with their customers. They are also helpful in establishing a trustworthy brand. With the advancement of artificial intelligence (AI), you can create a more intelligent chatbot that better meets users’ needs. According to Gartner, within the next couple of years, AI will become a mainstream customer-experience investment. Figure 1 shows an example of a chatbot app.
Neumorphism is an evolution of both skeuomorphism and flat design. Skeuomorphism was a design style in which user-interface (UI) elements replicated, as closely as possible, the original shape, textures, and colors of real-world objects. While in some ways similar to skeuomorphism, neumorphism is a look that is somewhere between flat and 3D graphics.\
The overall design style of neumorphism uses a minimal color palette and achieves dimensionality through the use of drop shadows. In neumorphism, the entire screen is in a neutral color, with little pops of a bright color, as shown in Figure 2. Neumorphism is now popular for the design of mobile-app icons and other UI elements, and audiences seem to be fascinated by this design trend, which is a lot of fun for designers because it allows them to experiment with form and color.
The market for voice-based assistants is growing rapidly, and this is one of the hottest mobile-app design trends. In the United States alone, there are about 110 million virtual-assistant users. According to a Statista report, the number of digital voice assistants will reach 8.4 billion by 2024.
Voice-based assistants require superior voice user interfaces (VUIs), enabling users to communicate with a system using only voice commands. Google Assistant, Siri, and Amazon’s Alexa are three of the most popular and well-known voice user interfaces. The main benefit of VUIs is that they allow users to interact with a system without having to look at it or use their hands. Figure 3 shows an example of a voice-based assistant
Validate the design and implementation through usability testing.
Understand the anatomy of voice commands.
4. Dark Mode
Dark mode is a low-light user interface that predominantly uses dark colors. Over the last few years, dark mode has become a highly desirable feature in mobile-app design. Some of the world’s most well-known brands are including light and dark modes in their mobile apps.
Users can benefit from dark mode because it relaxes the eyes and reduces eye strain by lowering overall screen brightness. It also saves energy and extends battery life by reducing the use of bright pixels. Dark themes are preferable for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens in particular because they save energy and lengthen the display’s lifespan.
Dark themes, similar to those shown in Figure 4, are becoming increasingly common in mobile-app user-interface design. Their dramatic look is attractive and draws more attention to the user experience. When designing dark themes, you must ensure that they are legible, stable, and entertaining. If a dark theme is not designed correctly, it can detract from an app’s accessibility.
Although not new, the 3D design trend is becoming increasingly popular. For many years, mobile apps and Web sites have used 3D graphic elements. However, the utilization of 3D features in mobile-app design has changed in recent years. Such design elements are not used just for adornment; they also serve a clear functional purpose. Because the hardware capabilities of smartphones have improved significantly, they now support the processing of increasingly sophisticated 3D graphics effects.
Of course, designing 3D graphics for mobile apps requires expertise and is challenging work, but the results can be spectacular. When producing 3D graphics, UX designers must remember to prioritize boosting the efficiency of the interaction, and only secondarily go for wow effects. When users can view products in 360 degrees, this can improve the total ecommerce user experience.
The usage of 3D effects can draw users’ attention to an application and make it appear more appealing. As a result, more and more companies are incorporating 3D effects into their applications and services to replicate real-world experiences such as those shown in Figures 5 and 6.
Do you want data visualization to be the cornerstone of your mobile app? Then you are certainly on the right track because data visualizations boost both user engagement and conversion rates.
When all users have to look at is a bunch of numbers or steps, data isn’t always the easiest thing to understand or interpret. Because of the mental work that comparing several disconnected data points requires, data in the form of plain text is often more difficult for users to comprehend. But, if you present your data through visuals such as graphs and charts, it is much easier to understand. This is why data visualizations are so valuable.
Whenever users must search through enormous amounts of historical data, the task of analyzing data becomes significantly more difficult. Data visualization solves this problem by allowing users to see key trends and patterns in the data.
For example, in the investment app shown in Figure 7, by looking at a stock price plot or a graph, the user gains an immediate knowledge of trends and fluctuations.
When data is in a visual format, our brains can grasp what it means more quickly and effectively. According to Ekaterina Walter of Sprinklr, our brains can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. So data visualizations are an important part of any app with a lot of complex information.
Gradients, or color transitions, offer designers a lot of flexibility by enabling them to use multiple colors. The power of color can make or break a product. In recent years, as mobile-app design trends have changed rapidly, some design elements have disappeared for a period, then made a gradual comeback. Gradients are one such element. They are now experiencing a resurgence, and multitone effects are playing a key role in modern design.
You can employ gradients in a variety of ways. They can be the focal point of a design or merely a background element. They can be aggressive or subtle. Gradients can also enable you to generate fresh color combinations that feel different and modern. As Figure 8 shows, mixing and blending different shades of colors can give your designs a unique vibe.
We’re seeing a lot of rounded shapes in mobile-app designs. When should you use rounded rectangles? It depends on the feelings you want to elicit in your users and the brand image you want to convey.
According to shape psychology, circles, ovals, and ellipses represent eternity, which has no beginning or end. Rounded rectangles evoke warmth and trust in your users. For this reason, people often refer to them as friendly rectangles. This is why so many Sign Up, Log In, and Buy buttons have rounded corners, as you can see in Figure 9. These design elements helps customers to feel confident that they should maintain a relationship with or do business with a brand.
The human brain associates rounded corners with safety, so rounded shapes look more appealing, as Figure 10 shows. Consider all of the modern Android and iOS smartphone designs. They don’t have any sharp edges, do they? Incorporating such design elements into mobile apps enhances the overall user experience. Today, all mobile apps and Web sites have a rounded look and feel that echoes the designs of these premium devices. These are the UX design solutions of the future.
Today, having a good mobile app is essential. Through UX design, we can deliver a successful mobile app and create a long-lasting customer experience. The primary goal of mobile-app design is boosting an app’s traffic, which, in turn, increases the company’s return on investment (ROI).
Focusing more on UX and UI design is the most important thing you can do to make your mobile app successful. In this digital era, there are so many apps to fulfill every purpose, so design is always a key factor in an app’s success.
In the mobile-app marketplace, a mobile app with an appealing look and precise navigation has a better chance of success. Consider, for example, some of the apps that we use almost every day. WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook have outstanding features and look great.
How Companies Benefit from Great UX Design
Companies that develop well-designed mobile apps can derive the following benefits from them:
increased customer satisfaction
higher conversion rates
a higher return on investment
better customer retention
You are now well versed in today’s top mobile-app design trends. Staying up to date with these design trends ensures that your apps are at the forefront of UX design for mobile. However, because mobile-app design trends change constantly, keeping up with current design trends requires continual effort and understanding the significance of UX design for mobile apps.
Manager of Digital Marketing at Ace Infoway Pvt. Ltd.
Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India
At Ace Infoway Pvt. Ltd., a leading Web and mobile-app development company with offices in Los Angeles and India, Rajat is a full-stack marketer whose focus is UX design, conversion optimization, and disciplined creativity, while implementing growth strategies to attain our organizational goals. Read More