During 2019, many technical trends appeared: chatbots, virtual and augmented reality, voice assistants and so on. But what will be the new trends in mobile app design in 2020?
2020 is the best time to find the best ways people can interact with these technologies.
However, the introduction of dialogue interfaces and personal helpers of various types does not mean that we are ready to abandon the more familiar user interface templates.
In this article, we will try to analyze the development trends of mobile applications since the beginning of 2020 in the development of mobile applications and human interaction with new types of interfaces.
Here’s what we see as the most interesting trends in mobile design for 2020:
The widespread use of the material design in application design, including:
- Card Interfaces
- Meaningful transitions
Departure from material design principles such as:
- Less flat elements
- Greater variety of colors
- Thin Outline Icons
Experiments with user interface templates:
- Alternative user interface templates instead of a hamburger-like menu
- Research on various prototypes
- The primary orientation of web applications to mobile devices
Adaptation of mobile design to new means of interaction, such as:
- Conversion Interfaces
- AR and VR.
Now let’s take a closer look at each of these points.
1. More material design and a step away from flat
Material design Google became a hot trend in 2015 before the advent of the industry-standard applications in 2016. However, at the moment, the principles of material design are not considered dogmas for UI / UX designers. In 2019, these principles work more like road signs to show the general direction in the design of layouts that must comply with Google Play standards in order to provide a better user interface.
For example, the card interface proved to be an ideal way to deliver information and content to mobile applications. Map-based interfaces make it easy to organize a large number of different content by simply breaking it down into accessible pieces. Various types of map layouts were constantly in the spotlight during 2018 and 2019 and did not seem to be going anywhere in 2020.
Another trend is to bring more complex graphic elements and effects into simplified flat material design. No, skeuomorphism has not returned (at least for now), but some of its distinctive elements, such as shadows or translucent elements, pay more attention to UI designers.
2. Greater variety of colors
Color palettes this year seem more diverse than in previous years. Today’s apps and websites have vibrant, contrasting colors, dark backgrounds, unexpected color transitions, and even elements with a shy, skeuomorphic feel.
The gadget’s battery management application concept uses black as the theme color, which contrasts with the functional elements of the user interface.
Meanwhile, calmer, minimalist color palettes also will not go anywhere. In general, this means that this year we will see a much wider range of visual solutions.
3. Custom graphics
Over the past few years, custom illustrations have begun to play a prominent role in the mobile application interface, appearing more and more alongside photographs and simplified icons.
The illustrations give the individuality and character of mobile applications, help create a corporate identity and recognize a brand among users – this is difficult to achieve with ordinary photography.
4. Icons return to a minimalist outline
In recent years, icons in applications have moved from a skeuomorphic design to flat, which has been consistently transformed into a sketch of icons representing more and more bold lines. As for the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, the icons in the application are returning to a thin, minimalistic contour design.
Another trend related to symbols is animated icons. The inclusion of motion in the icons provides users of your application with more reasonable feedback and therefore a more authentic user interface.
5. Alternative user interface templates
Today, many designers see the hamburger menu – the menu we are all used to – one of the controversial interface templates, which has its pros and cons. This, of course, helps to structure the navigation in the application, given the small number of mobile devices. But still, not all users even understand that these three horizontal lines are a significant navigational element, and the use of hidden boxes like hamburgers can seriously reduce user engagement.
Designers are now testing various alternatives to hamburgers, such as using more contextual and intuitive hidden navigation elements, placing navigation in tabs, adding floating action buttons, and experimenting with iOS’s 3D-touch technology, which allows users to peek into hidden menu items.
Which of these patterns will become the next trends in the mobile interface remains to be seen.
6. Experimental interaction
But how do you find the interaction models that best suit users? Why not try experimenting? New prototyping tools appear more often than ever before, and each of them offers new opportunities for professional UI / UX designers in creating, presenting and testing new interactions, user flows and combinations of interactions.
We tried various prototyping tools, including Sketch, ProtoPie, Adobe XD and others, and we continue to experiment and build concepts for the simplest and most user-friendly product design solutions.
7. Conversational Interfaces
Voice assistants and chats were truly technological trends that everyone talked about during 2017. Now it’s time to figure out how best to connect people to data-based algorithms by creating interactive interfaces whose convenience and functionality extend far beyond the capabilities that voice assistants now have. So in 2020, it is expected that trends in mobile app design will further develop.
Imagine an “assistant-as-an-application”, an interface-messenger that can perform complex tasks through a natural dialogue with you. And this is just one example of how UI / UX designers can use machine learning and natural language processing (NLP) technologies to create the most convenient human-computer interactions.
Chatbots are not the only way to efficiently use data-based algorithms to provide better services and products. As Hick’s law suggests, the wider the choice before the user, the more time and effort it will take for them to make a choice. Too much choice leads to a decision making burden, and in the case of designing a user interface, this can be fatal: people simply do not waste time and energy choosing. As a solution to this problem, there is a concept sometimes called proactive design.
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The intended design involves using user behavior data to predict people’s choices even before they realize they need to be created. The goal of proactive design is to provide applications with more contextual awareness and narrow the user’s choices to one option — the one they need at a particular moment. Although this may seem a little dystopian, context-sensitive applications can provide much more value to users and make interaction with a human-computer simpler than ever. 2020 will witness these trends in mobile app design to be more flourish.
9. Further penetration of VR and AR
Virtual and augmented reality has been on lists like this one for the last three years in a row. Now they finally began to take shape both at the hardware level and at the software level.
Mobile devices with VR-ready displays such as Xiaomi Mi 5, Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Google Pixel are already entering the market, so the changes are now more significant than ever before.
We cannot guarantee that 2020 will be the year that VR and AR change the way they interact with applications, but it can still be. Alternatively, it is possible that VR and AR can fit their own niche, just like wearables – another longtime resident of various trend lists.
10. More responsive websites
Finally, web browsing has become an integral part of the life of any mobile device. Moreover, non-mobile UX websites have not been indexed by Google since January 2017.
And since the market is primarily focused on mobile devices, developers must respond to this by creating responsive websites that work, look and feel on mobile screens just like on desktops.
From year to year, the direction in which mobile trends are moving does not change dramatically, but the trends themselves grow in detail and adapt to the current needs of people and the needs of the market and technological trends.
What trends from today’s pinnacle will we see in the best app design of 2020? Only time will tell.